What is Take Root’s position on Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)?
The “research” backing Richard Gardner’s theory of PAS consisted for the most part of his own personal observations rather than systematic, peer-reviewed studies. PAS has never been accepted into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and has been denounced by professional groups including the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family. (It is additionally worth noting that Richard Gardner’s ideas are also controversial in light of provocative statements he made criticizing society’s condemnation of pedophiles, and seeking to portray adult-child sexual contact as normal. He ended his career – and his life – by stabbing himself to death with a steak knife in 2003.)
It is Take Root’s studied opinion that Gardner’s concept of PAS, which was developed in the context of high-conflict divorce and custody battles, falls apart when applied to missing-child cases in which the child is physically isolated and denied options for independent reality testing. Take Root calls the dynamic that occurs in this unique situation “Manufactured Reality.” We believe this concept, developed specifically within the framework of abduction studies, is a more accurate description of the dynamic. (More on Manufactured Reality can be found in our Kid Gloves publications and Gray Papers series). In our experience as a collective of hundreds of former abducted-children, the PAS label is often misused as an instrument of control that wrongfully pathologizes the child to their great detriment during the recovery process.