Support the inclusion of PAS in DSM-V

The work on updating the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders ("DSM") is to start soon. This is a compilation of the "scientifically accepted" psychiatric diagnoses complied by the American Psychiatric Association. Missing from this compilation is Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) (which on its acceptance would be called a "disorder" rather than a "syndrome").

As a result of our knowing that PAS is real, we do want to see recognition of this damaging condition listed in DSM-V so that there will be protection of, and treatment for, children suffering from PAS. It is important that you write, and that you get your lawyers, doctors, family members, etc. to write to describe the cases that have been experienced. Dr. Richard Gardner has provided a call for action on this topic, including the addresses, which we have included here and which you should read.

Because of the nature of the DSM, if you are not familiar with the book, I would suggest that you talk about the symptoms of PAS that you have seen in your children, patients or your client's children. This outlines the collection of symptoms that defined the syndrome (the "etiology"). You should talk about the impact on the children (problems at school, behaviour problems, psychological issues, ability to form relationships, depression, etc.). Don't emotionally berate your ex-spouse (as tempting as that is since most of us know the sources of the problem). Don't talk about how nasty, bigotted or irrational the lawyers and judges were. Do talk about how it is necessary that society and the courts be made aware of the problem of PAS to both treat the existing cases and to prevent new cases.

We believe that a written paper letters that can be included in a file is the best way to seek any change. Emails, unless you are known, just don't cut it. Send you letters to:

DSM-V Coordinator
American Psychiatric Association
1400 K Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005
Fax 202-682-6850
(Correction per Kevin and
DSM-V Coordinator
American Psychiatric Association
1000 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1825
Arlington, Virginia 22209-3901
and ask for your letter to be "included in the Parental Alienation Syndrome file."

What are those symptoms you should identify? They are well documented in many of the articles in the FACT PAS section, but as a quick reminder:

If you have degrees and professional designations make sure that they are included in the letter. If you don't, still write. Designations help sometimes, solid letters always help.

We encourage you all to write, and to get as many others -- especially the professionals involved in family law who see a lot of cases -- to write in as well.


---Fathers Are Capable Too: Parenting Association