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In The News: Deprogramming Treatment Blocked in Child Custody Case

Posted by York RN on February 7, 2009

This rather odd/frightening story (below) was posted on the Globe & Mail web site today. I have never heard of deprogramming treatment in this context before. I have only heard of deprogramming used for individuals who have been brainwashed by say a cult. The story itself is missing a lot of detail but, as far as I understand, the parents are separated and one of the parents wants to “deprogram” the child because the other parent has “poisoned” the child against them.

There are strong nursing themes here, especially of the right for the individual to make an informed decision about their own care at whatever age. Thus the fact that the 2008 arbitrator ordered the 14-year-old boy be coercively treated under what is considered a controversial, unproven and extreme treatment is a bit ridiculous.

It is also interesting that the boy has Klinefelter’s Syndrome, a disease involving the presence of an extra chromosome, and one that may cause various levels of cognitive impairment. Makes me wonder if the child’s individual rights are being well enough protected here.

I did a quick search on Richard Warshak’s Family Workshop. As far as I can see, the deprogramming treatment specifically deals with the concept of one parent turning their child or children against the other parent during a divorce. I think I will look a bit further into this concept of deprogramming in a later post.

February 7, 2009

An Ontario judge yesterday blocked an attempt to forcibly send a Toronto child for deprogramming treatment in a controversial parental-alienation program in California.

Madam Justice Thea Herman of the Superior Court became the first judge to rule against the controversial treatment orders, overturning a 2008 arbitrator’s order that the 14-year-old boy be coercively treated.

“The remedy of the Family Workshop, as acknowledged by the arbitrator and the parties, is an extreme one,” Judge Herman said in her ruling. “That means that caution should be exercised in awarding such a remedy.”

Treatment at the clinic – founded by Richard Warshak – involves isolating a child from the parent who is identified as having poisoned his or her emotions toward the other parent. Therapists then attempt to undo the child’s hostile feelings.

Judge Herman said that the child and his 17-year-old brother, who can legally refuse forced treatment, must be assessed by an independent psychiatrist to determine whether the deprogramming would benefit or cause them damage.

Jan Weir, a lawyer for the children’s father, said yesterday that Judge Herman’s order will likely prevent the boys from ever being sent for deprogramming because an assessment will take at least six months.

“Effectively, I don’t think these kids are going,” Mr. Weir said in an interview. “I don’t think that will ever happen now.”

The children’s parents have been locked in a bitter war of attrition since they split up in 1999. Last year, they agreed to appoint an arbitrator. However, the father disagreed strongly with the arbitrator’s decision to send the children for deprogramming and appealed it to Superior Court.

In her ruling, Judge Herman concluded that the arbitrator placed too much stock in an opinion that Dr. Warshak offered to the effect that the children would benefit from his program.

She said that the independent assessment should focus, in particular, on whether the 14-year-old boy, who has Klinefelter’s Syndrome, would undergo psychiatric suffering if his older brother opts out of treatment and he is sent alone.

Mr. Weir said in the interview that he was shocked when the arbitrator ordered treatment since he had little more than Dr. Warshak’s say-so that the program is effective.

“Warshak saw only the mother -but not the father or the boys,” Mr. Weir added. “He said that he wasn’t giving a definitive opinion, but he actually did.”

Mr. Weir said that, at a cost of $40,000 for four days of treatment, the program is expensive as well as unproven.

“Warshak came up a year and a half ago and did his first seminar,” he said. “My impression at the time was, I think he has failed to establish himself with the psychologists or psychiatrists in the U.S., and now he’s coming to Canada.

Earlier this week, Dr. Warshak rebuffed a request to discuss his program. “I have been very generous with my time speaking to journalists at your newspaper and other Canadian media outlets, but now I must turn my attention to other tasks,” he said in an e-mail to The Globe and Mail.


3 Responses to “In The News: Deprogramming Treatment Blocked in Child Custody Case”

  1. More on parental alienation at http://www.FamilyLawCourts.com

    Parental alienation Syndrome was a coined by Richard Gardner, the famously discredited shrink from New Jersey. I was the first to suspect, investigate, confirm and publish he committed suicide, rather than dying in his sleep as media reported after receiving a statement from his family.

    Gardner was mostly hire by perpetrators of incest as a defense witness in family court trials. An elementary defense tactic is to attack the victim. (Same thing used to happen in rape trials.)

    However and sadly, the unwitting Mothers who continued to scream “There’s no medical basis – PAS is junk science” actually helped Gardner due to their instance PAS was Only a medical issue.

    Father’s rights groups of course, embraced him. Neither group has protected children because parental Alienation is about isolating a child from the other parent and then working overtly or covertly in changing the child’s history and mind about the other parent.

    Unfortunately with Mothers Rights groups screaming parental alienation didn’t exist; judges often saw them as needing professional help. As such Mothers Rights groups actually were Exhibit B in helping Father’s alienate their own children.

    That said, either parent can and does destroy the child’s love. Parental alienation is not limited by gender. One should treat a child that’s been brainwashed as one would treat a returning war hero who has been shell shocked. Gently. However it is necessary to de-program them as parental alienation more resembles the Stockholm Syndrome. Here’s more examples:

    Ca: Parental Alienation Awareness Day

    Missouri- criminal kidnap case

    The reality of family court.
    (Please click “watch the video” for the part of the report that caused the http://www.FamilyLawCourts.com server to crash.)

    Richard Warshak is another “professional” with another book to sell and now, clinic to treat.

    De-programming can be done without additional expense; the courts simply have to realize the brainwashing parent’s time must be reduced in order to overcome the brainwashing. Otherwise, a brainwashed child grows up and becomes a brainwashed adult.

    I have personal experience in this matter.

  2. York Student RN said

    Thanks Bonnie for your informative post and resources on this issue.

  3. Your welcome. It’s a miserable time for parents. About the only solution I can think of is empowering people to make government transparent via technology. Then come election time, getting rid of bad judges and keeping the good ones.

    USAjudges.com is Exhibit A for returning government to the people, with an assist after traditional media failed.
    It ties-in with President Obama’s desire to make government more transparent and accountable.)

    Consider the case of Nebraska criminal court Judge Kristine Cecava, who refused to send an admitted child molester to prison because, he was short;
    (upheld on appeal.)

    USAjudges.com investigated and reported what traditional media overlooked. Turns out Judge Cecava was no maverick judge. USAjudges.com discovered Judge Cecava served as past president of the Nebraska Judges Association and, making her sentence stranger still; on the ‘Task Force’ to Protect Children – http://www2.csc.edu/eyh/speaker/speaker2000.asp

    Protecting children from whom? Her?

    Through the use of data-driven collection methodology the site makes available to attorneys and the public alike, a mechanism to both create and purchase reports on judges. Unlike many anonymous sites rating judges; these reports are verified.

    In short, USAjudges.com functions in a way the legislature, Congress and judicial commissions do not. The bad news is our government is broken. The good news is her people want to fix her…and now, they can.

    More importantly, USAjudges.com bypasses state agencies long deemed ponderous, secretive,

    Because ultimately, it’s the public; and voters who appreciate the ability to making government absolutely transparent.

    (In another area, USAjudges.com discovered the “Pro Tem” judicial program exists solely without oversight. In one case it was discovered while one attorney was finishing his Judge Pro Tem ‘training’ he was likewise being fined by the State Bar for not returning unearned fees and abandoning clients in no less than six separate matters.)

    Ever see press on that?

    Transparency, and Verified reports are why attorneys, reporters and the public alike rely on USAjudges.com

    Or, as one reporter quipped,

    “Car fax for judges – I like it!”

    USAjudges.com, a consumers report on judges, is the first data driven collection mechanism available to foster in-depth accountability based on judicial transparency.

    USAjudges.com answers the public need for judicial transparency after the decades old pattern and practice of State Commissions on Judicial Performance consistently failed to protect the public from bad judges; or inform the public of good ones.

    USAjudges.com functions as follows:

    1. Attorneys and individuals create an extremely detailed, in-depth report on a particular judge. The low, $45.00 administrative fee is for verification purposes.

    2. Attorneys and individuals can purchase a report for $150.00. If no report exists, USAjudges.com will conduct their own investigation and report back to you within 10 business days.

    Who is responsible for governmental transparency? The public. Congress defaulted. And attorneys and individuals, including other judges, are responding. (Attorneys took to it immediately, E-mailing PDF’d copies of court transcripts or DVDs.)

    Why – Oklahoma!

    “Justice For Sale” written by a former member of the Oklahoma Supreme Court, Justice For Sale reveals what happened after Former Oklahoma Supreme Court jurist, N.C. Corn authored an Affidavit he stating in his twenty-four years on the bench, he simply couldn’t remember a year in which he didn’t take a bribe. Corn’s Affidavit implicated two other justices and members of the legislature.

    More interesting however, was Corn’s Affidavit sat collecting dust in the District Attorney’s office until a federal judge got wind of it. Justice Berry convinced a member of the legislature to read the Affidavit into the record during a legislative session so no one could be sued. Then the investigation was launched. Turns out the minority whip went to prison too. 

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