Unveiling Parental Alienation in DSM-5-TR: Understanding the Inclusion Beyond Words

Synopsis:

The article highlights the confirmation from American Psychiatric Association (APA) officials that Parental Alienation Syndrome is implicit within the DSM-5-TR, specifically nested within the parent-child relational problem (PCRP) classification. Although the explicit term “parental alienation” hasn’t been directly incorporated, the description of PCRP encompasses the dynamics associated with parental alienation.

The DSM-5-TR Steering Committee, through communications with experts, clarified that the inclusion of Parental Alienation Syndrome under PCRP is due to the encompassing nature of the existing definition. This clarification emphasized that the concept doesn’t require a separate entry, as it’s subsumed within PCRP. Despite the lack of transparency in the Committee’s methodology, their consensus reinforced that the description of PCRP covers situations where a child’s relationship with one parent is adversely influenced by pressure from the other.

Furthermore, the article compares the DSM-5-TR with the ICD-11, indicating that although neither explicitly labels parental alienation as a stand-alone diagnosis, both systems allow coding for cases involving parental alienation. The DSM-5-TR codes such cases as PCRP (Z62.820), while ICD-11 designates them as caregiver-child relationship problems (QE52.0).

The piece discusses alternative diagnoses suitable for cases of parental alienation, including Parent-Child Relational Problem, Child Affected by Parental Relationship Distress, Child Psychological Abuse, Delusional Symptoms, Factitious Disorder, and Identity Disturbance. These diagnoses differ based on the focus of clinical attention and the specific dynamics at play in the family.

The authors recommend multiple diagnoses for family members based on the clinical focus, advocating for gathering information from various sources and carefully applying criteria for relevant mental disorders and conditions.

The article serves as a comprehensive guide for mental health practitioners, legal professionals, and the general public, offering critical insights into identifying and addressing cases of parental alienation. It encourages a nuanced approach, highlighting the multitude of diagnoses available within the DSM-5-TR, ensuring a more comprehensive evaluation and understanding of the complex dynamics involved in parental alienation.

The original document with references can be found here.

Written By Gary Da Silva Chairman Fathers 4 Justice South Africa
31 October 2023

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