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Outrageous, Iatrogenic “Therapeutic” Jurisprudence

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The first two words seem to apply. The second two do not.

Just a sampler of outrageous cases<<<

  • Mom in jail for fleeing out of state for documented sexual abuse of their children by not one, but two men. (Riggs)
  • Three children drowned (dead) on weekend when a pediatrician mother begged that visitation not happen on the basis that the father had displayed suicidal tendencies. (Castillo)
  • Two children, and their father, dead (all, by the father, apparently) after being kidnapped  (Conolly/Leichtenberg).
  • A teenager having to flee to Los Angeles, where much of this nonsense, began, to get its help getting free from abuse (Krause).

The link I enclosed has samples from across the United States.  Please look at it.

If you are unfamiliar with what some of the warning signs ARE, look up: “Barbara J. Hart” or “Lethality Assessment Tool.”
Or read enough newspapers and look for the common threads. Or get, read, and then give to someone else the book called “The Gift of Fear.” Or read Lundy Bancroft book. Or LISTEN when a mother talks.

You, readers [I see blog hits from across the U.S. and another continent also] are not, probably, the ones signing the custody orders for unsupervised visitation to someone with a history of battering or child abuse, or making a livelihood off of such cases

I also don’t happen to think that any of you were (as some say) personally responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.  However, it does kind of make a statement about human nature, particularly in crowd situations.  We pick scapegoats, are easily incited, picking up the latest chant circulating around:  “Crucify!  Crucify!”  (or, was it “Parental Alienation, Parental Alienation!” [a similar concept, with a different target]) and say it’s not our business.  I think, resurrection or not, this is something of the central message of that Book — that the logical end result of human nature, unchecked, is that someone is going to get crucified.

But must the ones getting crucified (abducted, alienated — from their protective parents reporting abuse! — drowned, noosed, or shot.  Or simply disconnected with those that raised them) continue to be so YOUNG? Or, be parents with their hands tied by court systems that declare themselves too much wiser, too much more powerful, and too much more equipped with a set of advisory ‘experts’ to take a protective parent at her word?

My children were stolen and hid.  There exists a law in the penal code of my state that PRECISELY describes what happened.  No one went to jail. The thieves was not the mother.   I looked up the code.  It’s clear, and it was clearly violated.  There are penalties listed and also penalties for those who aid and abet such things.  I looked these up and sent it to one of the participants.  The judge, ON the transcript, acknowledged understanding that custodial interference (at the very least) had been deliberately messed with.  Then, to “punish” the persons doing this, she gave them temporary custody, I suppose for their “initiative.”  Another reward for this criminal type of initiative is cessation of child support.  

Monday night quarterbacking (I still do it), I see some things I coulda shoulda, wish’d I’da known to do (in the heat of the courtroom).  Unfortunately, rather than boning up on litigation techniques, immediately prior to this life-shaking event, I (being a mother, and foreseeing it — the signs were very clear) focused in stead on preventing the event.  This was not easily done, and there was NO support for it from the powers one would think would care, or act when asked to.

I have resolved, since then, to learn to become multi-lingual, and to learn the languages that SOME in office appear to speak, and do.  Since they do not care (obvious at a glance), about the welfare (“best interests”) of our kids, or (in all to many cases, alas) the rules of court, or for that matter, court orders, OR for that matter, laws already on the books containing the words “rebuttable presumption AGAINST….”) there must be something such entitities DO care about.

In other words, it is necessary to get into the mindset of persons and institutions who are callous, or have become callous (deaf), to the welfare of supposedly inferior (more helpless) beings.  This is a very unpleasant place to go, especially when one had haunted the likes of Palestrina, gospel, folk songs, and positive interactions with clients and employers voluntarily so engaged.  However, I suppose beauty needs to be balanced with ugliness.  Chiaroscuro, El Greco, and all that.  So the mindset is, where is YOUR bottom line?  Where is the trail of accountability.

Meanwhile, children (mine) are growing up, and children (others) are entering and being hurt by this outrageous, iatrogenic, therapeutic jurisprudence mindset.  With any luck, “More” always being thought “better” for those in control, I suppose with our administration of “Change,” and extra extra funds for early childhood education (and less for welfare, general assistance, public transportation, and battered women’s shelters), newborns will be caught as their heads crowned, umbilical cords snipped even sooner (did you know, it’s good to wait a BIT before this?) and children will be scooped away from mothers who are deemed “at risk” of depression simply because they were pregnant.

That these things still happen, and that unfortunate drama and bad things will continue to happen, is inevitable.  BUT, the courts have to stop exacerbating the situation.  This is NOT a good alternative to population control.

So, although the problem exists, and was not “your” fault, one GREAT way to NOT participate in the next outrageous (set of) incidents is, the next time your state proclaims “Parental Alienation Awareness” day. simply promote a  “Doublespeak Awareness Day”  Acronym intentional.

IF the true crises of our times is fatherlessness, perhaps some of it is due to these wars men start with each other.  Perhaps it is due to the fact that some people finally passed some laws about beatings one’s wives.  Or, raping one’s sons and daughters (sorry, but this IS an issue in the highly contested custody cases, quite often).  Move to Germany.  America, love it or leave it.”  

Like the word “adolescence,” these terms have an origin.  They did not come from antiquity, the phrase has more recent organizations, they came, and it IS possible for them to also fade into history again, along with things.  Feminism had a history too, eh?

The concept that Jurisprudence should not be jurisprudence,

but rather therapy, is outrageous.
It is also Iatrogenic, meaning, causing the problems it purports to solve.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Remember that in a violent relationship, the violence is behavioral modification, a pattern of attempting to DOMINATE another person, by force if necessary. It is basically a pattern of punishment.

In cases where a woman has been treated like a child during her marriage (though she may have given birth to one or more children, nursed them, raised them, and protected them by attempting to leave such a violent situation) it is inappropriate to then in the courtroom treat both parents or even one of them, as a child.

If there is a childlike behavior around, it would be bullying, I say. It is contraindicated where civil rights exist, or laws, or constitutional rights, and all that is supposedly “American.” Supposedly. Or, if you are a religious person, all that is “godly.”

Why is it then that I so often realize the things have already been said, adequately?


This is today’s reading material, or tomorrow’s. What I have copied here is not the complete post.  Please click on its version, which is easier to process visually. . . . .  I first read this years ago, only a few years into the family court spiderweb.  From this side, it seems too gentle, too objective, and not passionate enough.  To be placid and detached in tone seems to me highly inappropriate.  But that’s just me.

However, as I believe Dr. Phyllis Chesler noted about 30 years ago, in “Women and Madness,” the typical outrage (or whistleblowing) is simple:

1.  Repudiate

2.  Isolate, and if not possible, then

3.  Medicate (or order counseling, at client or government cost).

This beats changing the status quo, or addressing what causes the outrage.

Or is it, “alienation” of children in divorce situation.

Link above, excerpt below.  Please consider.  Truths haven’t changed in the interim….


Reevaluating the Evaluators: custody evaluators child custody evaluations
Rethinking the Assumptions of Therapeutic Jurisprudence in the Family Courts

This article discusses the minimum disclosures every child custody evaluator, “best interests” guardian ad litem GAL [1], or parenting coordinator (herein called a “mental health professional” or “MHP”) [2a] should be required to make, responding satisfactorily and in full, before being appointed in any family law case to do anything beyond answering a list of limited, detailed, specific, and narrowly-crafted questions the answers to which are directly within the MHP’s field of proved expertise. This format is being used to help illustrate a problem, and with another purpose in mind. That purpose is to call for a revolt altogether against the notion of “therapeutic jurisprudence” — which has been proved to do little to benefit children, much to benefit the divorce industry, much to complicate and pervert our family laws, much to erode fundamental rights and liberties, and much to harm the families who become trapped in the system. There are many problems, of course. But they are symptoms. Step one is to get the agent of most of them out of our family courts. The Emperor has no clothes.custody evaluators child custody evaluations

There have been many calls for reform [2b], but for the most part, while they are admirable and well-documented intentions, they miss the boat; while they identify various problems and propose fixes in the system, they fail to identify and address the core reason the system is sick. Thus the proposals seek to treat only symptoms while failing to apply a cure to eliminate the disease.

Contrary to the public perception, and the perception that those seeking lucrative appointments in the court system wish to convey, a degree in some field of mental health does not qualify the individual to perform work that consists of open-ended investigating, evaluating, recommending, or decision-making about other persons’ families and children.


The milieu in which the MHP will be working is the justice system, in which litigants have certain rights of due process [6] and in which decisions made in connection with one issue can materially affect a litigant’s position as to seemingly unrelated issues in the same case, and in which milieu, inter alia, centuries of jurisprudence have honed certain concepts involving what constitutes reliable evidence, burdens of proof, and other legal aspects bearing on the ultimate resolution of a case. [7] Sociologists, psychologists, and even real scientists by reason of their formal training tend to have little understanding of or appreciation for these legal concepts. 

. . . .

[11a] They tend to be vested in protecting themselves, their paychecks, and their “behinds” as the first priority (contrary to the traditional definition of a “professional”) [11b], and they often appear to lack even a rudimentary understanding of why they are present, posturing as having a broad authority and expertise they do not have, coupled with fuzzy ideas about what they are supposed to be doing and their “role”. {{BLOGGER NOTES:  I HAVE GOTTEN PARTICULARLY FUZZY RESPONSES WHEN ASKING DIRECT QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS, AS TO COURT-APPOINTED ATTORNEY}}  For example, some think {{“OBJECTION:  HEARSAY.  WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT SUCH A PROFESSIONAL “THINKS” ONLY OBSERVABLE BEHAVIORS}} the sum total of a custody case is something called “the psychological best interests of the child” [12] which aside from not being the custody decision-making standard in any state of the United States, is itself an undefined concept; others have opined that they are ‘the child’s voice”[13a] or the “eyes and ears” of the judge [13b]; and others behave as if rather than being just another witness in a case, they are tantamount to being the de facto judge (the court, by calling them in, presumably having admitted to incompetence beyond uttering administrative orders for their benefit at the parties’ expense, and handling case minutiae.) [14] And yet, they and their organizations have been instrumental in moving law and public policy toward a revolutionary deform of our family court systems for decades.

But it’s not just a forensic investigation or opinion. Save for the pretext of parens patriae [15] and the state’s interest in children’s welfare, the child custody evaluation appointment would be akin in another context to a court saying to an agent of the state:

. . . . 

Moreover, having extensive experience doing child custody evaluations or parenting coordinations is itself fairly meaningless. [55b] This kind of experience provides training in things such as following practice guidelines and procedures (such as those promulgated by the APA [56] or AFCC [57], {{BINGO — SEE LINK TO RIGHT, SEE NAFCJ.NET}} which themselves have been published in order to promote the trade practice and create the appearance that the many problems with these ideas, such as are identified in this article, can be addressed with regulations — and preferably “self-regulation”). [58] It also serves to increase facility in writing reports [59], testifying in court [60], avoiding board complaints [61], and becoming familiar with what other evaluators like to do and think (such as gaining familiarity with customs in the practice or the prevailing views in trade literature about, e.g. attachment theory or relocation or domestic violence or parental alienation, whether right or wrong). [62] The prevailing “wisdom” tends to be clubbish, perpetuated by group think and informal schmoozing in psycho-legal organization conferences,


{{I read this article a few years — or should I say, pleadings — earlier.  From this perspective, I think the author has understated the problem.  the tone seems inappropriate, when the results are body counts and tossed-about children, and lives.  I think the appropriate attitude is outrage, indignation, and concerted action on that outrage and indignation.  ONE of the concerted actions could be exploratory, another writing, another speaking, another AUDITING some of these accounts, organizations.  

ANOTHER Action I (blogger) recommend is taking time away from something ELSE, and learning how our court systems work, your local rules of court, and in general, getting whatever education in these matters you didn’t get in K-12, or Grade 13-16 in your profession, should that apply.  This requires time to read, solitude, and forays in to fora (forums?) where these things can be discussed and compared.

[Article continued at above link… plus references….]

Written by Let's Get Honest|She Looks It Up

April 12, 2009 at 4:28 pm

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