Parental Reunification Therapy Controversy, and Other News

Child on a swing between separated parentsEarlier this year, a Michigan judge incarcerated three children after they refused to see their father. The children say their father is abusive, but the father claims the mother has initiated a campaign to alienate him from his children. After swift public outcry, the judge released the children, ordering instead that they participate in parental reunification therapy.

Divorced parents often engage in acrimonious custody fights, and some parents may launch extended campaigns to destroy their children’s relationship with the other parent. Parental alienation syndrome, originally coined in the 1980s, remains a controversial diagnosis and is not listed in the DSM-5.

A broken relationship with one parent can be destructive to children, but so can spending time with an abusive parent the child fears. Parental reunification therapy requires children to spend extended periods of time with the alienated parent, often without contact from the other parent. The theory is that this is the only way to break the cycle of parental alienation, but controversy swirls around the practice. Critics say the therapy could be used to force contact with abusive parents, and the treatment may amount to “deprogramming” that can be traumatizing.

Alzheimer’s Disease Consists of 3 Distinct Subtypes, According to UCLA Study

A UCLA study has identified three potential subtypes of Alzheimer’s. Though more research will be necessary, the subtypes could shed light on Alzheimer’s causes as well as potential treatment. Inflammatory Alzheimer’s is characterized by an increase in C-reactive proteins, as well as an increase in serum albumin and globulin levels. Non-inflammatory Alzheimer’s does not produce the same increases, but does lead to other metabolic abnormalities. Cortical Alzheimer’s—which often affects relatively young individuals—affects language first and produces effects that are more widely distributed across the brain.

The Sinister Science of Addiction

Research has long suggested that addiction is a disease rather than a personal failing, and measurable differences in brain chemistry account for much of the behavior associated with addiction. A new video in the Reaction series—a group of videos produced by the American Chemical Society—shows how addiction functions in the brain.

Criminals Acquire Guns Through Social Connections

Popular myths suggest most guns used in crimes are stolen, but new research suggests that friends and family are a more likely option for acquiring guns. Research on the Cook County Jail in Chicago about how jail inmates obtained guns suggests that 60% of the guns were purchased or the product of a trade. Chicago gun laws prohibit selling guns to people with criminal records, so many former inmates are unable to acquire guns at gun stores or through other traditional avenues.

Trial Review Confirms Common Antidepressant is ‘Unsafe and Ineffective’ for Teens

Paroxetine—better known under its brand name of Paxil—has been prescribed to teens to treat depression since 2001, but new research argues the practice should end. Not only was the drug no better than a placebo; it was also potentially dangerous. In 2012, GlaxoSmithKline, the pharmaceutical company that markets the drug, was fined $3 billion for failing to report drug safety information to the Food and Drug Administration and for illegally marketing some of its drugs.

The Psychology of Why People Like Steve Rannazzisi Lie About Having Survived 9/11

A handful of people have been accused of lying about being present at the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This week, comedian Steve Rannazzisi came clean, admitting he had been lying about his presence at the World Trade Center that day. Experts are unsure why some people feel compelled to lie about a history of trauma. Theories include a need to feel involved, a craving for attention, serious mental health issues, and false memories.

More Time Outside Tied to Less Nearsightedness in Children

According to a study of Chinese schoolchildren, spending time outside could reduce the rate of nearsightedness. As many as 90% of Chinese high school graduates are nearsighted. But the study, which followed almost 2,000 schoolchildren for three years, suggests that as little as 45 minutes outside each day could reduce the country’s rate of nearsightedness.

Eating a Lot of Fish May Help Curb Depression Risk—at Least in Europe

Hands garnishing fish course on plateA number of studies have tied Omega-3 fatty acids—present in high quantities of fish—to a potential treatment for depression. A pooled analysis of 26 studies involving 150,278 participants suggests that Europeans who consume fish can reduce their depression risk by as much as 17%. This correlation was found only in European studies. The reduction in depression risk as a result of high fish consumption was higher among men, who saw a 20% reduction. Women’s risk of depression dropped by about 16%.

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  • Lorraine

    September 18th, 2015 at 11:26 AM

    Oh wow one would hope that parents even when divorced could work these things out on their own without having to resort to the legal system to sort it all out for them. In these cases I only feel sorry for the kids, never the adults involved because they should be old enough and mature enough to go about all of this in a way that keeps the kids as secure as possible. It is quite obvious that this doesn’t happen nearly enough :(

  • Ariana

    September 20th, 2015 at 1:44 PM

    You would think parents should be more mature and responsible. I totally agree with you Lorraine! But being an alienated parent myself, I can tell you this: the other parent is the immature one who does not think of their children’s wellbeing, instead only thinks of how they can hurt the parent who decided to leave the marriage. Its done out of spite and anger, and maybe ego plays a big roll too, who knows! I had to get a court ordered therapy and then reunification therapy (my ex doesn’t believe in therapy thinks it hurts the children more), the reunification therapy was as a last resort, after 6 months of therapy sessions only hurt our family more since the therapist was no helpful! She was advocating his bad behaviors, didn’t stop him for saying discriminating things against me in front of the children.
    Long story short, this happens all too often but it does not get discussed since there is an unspoken fear of “its my fault I “lost” my kids”. So most alienated parents don’t talk about it and fight alone, even against their own family because they make you think you must have done something wrong that your children left you!
    why would they leave me if they loved me unconditionally, they were more attached to me and they feared him the most! They are brainwashed believing the other parent who tells them lies and since children need to believe one or the other, they chose the one with the stronger character. It’s absolutely not the children’s fault! There has to be more state wide knowledge about this subject. There are people who have not heard the term “Parental Alienation” let alone what it means. Then there are couples who don’t divorce fearing this would happen, knowing there’s no support! It is rarer yet those couple who divorce with mutual respect and understanding and work together for the benefit and betterment of the family circle. It’s what you see on tv!

  • trent

    September 21st, 2015 at 10:31 AM

    So how is it even possible for pharmaceutical companies to time after time roll out drugs that have little serious healing effect on us and they can keep on keeping on?
    The power is where the money is I suppose.

  • Frannie

    September 21st, 2015 at 4:16 PM

    Have there been any thoughts on how being outside for just a short amount of time each day could make a difference in one’s eyesight?

    Don’t get me wrong- I want my kids to play outside all the time when weather permits but I guess I have a hard time understanding how it could help their sight.

    Maybe the Vitamin D that you get from the sun exposure? Oh well, no matter, I’ll take it.

  • rhett

    September 22nd, 2015 at 10:21 AM

    How could this dude just think that he could make up this story about being in the twin towers and that this lie would never catch back up to him?
    I am just sort of surprised that it took this long for the story to come out.

  • Carla

    September 23rd, 2015 at 10:53 AM

    so what else are the Europeans doing that causes their fish intake to be correlated with lower depression rates and yet not in the rest of the world?

  • GaryO

    September 23rd, 2015 at 2:36 PM

    My own addictions have torn my family to shreds, so when it is equated with being sinister, then yes, that is the truth. I would like to be able to say that I have a handle on all of those addictions that I have fed in my life for a long time, and I think that I am getting there but it is a daily struggle, sometimes minute by minute, the best that I can do to get by. I don’t want to sound helpless but I admit that there are always some days when I do feel a little helpless against the pull, like it would be so easy to get sucked right into that kind of behavior. But I have already lost so much of myself along the way that I am afraid that there would be very little left to give if I did slide and give into it.

  • Justin

    September 24th, 2015 at 7:51 AM

    If there is ever any hesitation on the part of the children then I think that you must err on the side of caution and choose to keep them away from that parent. I am sorry, I know that there are those who will disagree, but I think that in cases like this the children have to feel that they are being listened to and being heard.

  • Katie

    September 24th, 2015 at 9:24 AM

    I never cease to be surprised at the dis function in families!
    I have a grandson now 10 who has aspergers & has seizures. My daughter married a guy just before my grandson turned 7 & life has been hell for me since. I was not allowed to see my grandson for more than a year because his new daddy beat him with a belt leaving terrible bruises on him! And of course I was so angry when I discovered the bruises and my grandson told me what happened. He had talked during lunch at school and got in trouble. He admitted to this so his discipline at home, following discipline at school was the following as told to me by him. “He made me lay on the bed and told me not to move & it hurt so bad grandma, he beat me so hard I fell off the bed!”
    Her husband is younger than she is & has had at least 5 diff jobs in their 4 year marriage. My daughter is a registered nurse & is obviously the primary breadwinner.
    My grandson spent at least 80% of his first 6 years with me. I never attempted to “parent” him but merely love him and care for him while his mom tried to make a decent living for them. My grandson last week cried and begged me to “just tell them what they want to hear & all this will go away! Tell them u believe all the same things they do!”
    i don’t even know what that means! My religious beliefs are normal Christian beliefs but somehow they have convinced my grandson I do not believe in God. It is as if I have been plunged into some alternate reality with all of this!
    I don’t ask personal questions about their life or jobs or marriage or finances. I have tried to maintain an attitude of respecting their privacy & their marriage. I am uncertain of which way to go here. Now I am in ANOTHER time out & not allowed to see my grandson again! Can anyone say “insanity?”

  • Jayne

    September 24th, 2015 at 10:33 AM

    My own father had Alzheimers and I did not even know that there were several different kinds that he ncould have had. I am not sure that anyone in the family knew that at that time.

  • lora m

    September 25th, 2015 at 8:36 AM

    If criminals are going to have access to guns no matter what laws are put into placed then there has to be another direction that we need to look when it comes to curbing criminal acts. I am not sure that there is any foolproof way from keeping weapons out of the hands of people who just do not need to have any access to them.

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