Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders


I am very proud of this page for two reasons. This is the first internal link I have created. Having multiple pages on your website rather than just one long running column of text is very sexy. Readers like it. Search engines like it. Hey, Facebook may even like it. I plan to write a post about search engine optimization so I won’t say too much more, except to mention there are some really basic things you can do. Making sure you place your key words or tags in your various titles and sub-titles usually increases your following by 5%. Most blogging software has 6 sizes of titles, called headers. The largest size is h1. A really easy way to get more search engines to notice you, is to ensure you place some of your key words in h1 titles, and the more pages your website has the more titles you will have. So I am proud and a little excited about learning how to optimize this site.

The second reason I am proud is because this is an historic moment. People do not like change. They resist, even when the change is for their own good. This means change often happens slowly. We have talked about equal parenting for decades, but never added it to our laws – yet. But whatever happens next, we marked a fundamental shift when the American Psychological Association, through the National Institute of Health, asked for the public’s help in identifying the behaviours associated with parental alienation and parental alienation syndrome. And I was writing a parenting blog to try to re-connect with our children during this game-changer. This amazing history certainly qualifies to have it’s own page. – Kevin

National Health Institute Will Accept PAS Stories

Till June 15, 2012 (DSM-5)

The DSM-5 Task force will be accepting information in support of adding the PAS to the DSM 5 for another 6 weeks, so keep your heartbreaking sagas coming. They should be written to:

Darrel A. Regier, MD
1000 Wilson Blvd., Suite 1825
Arlington, VA 22209


Daniel S. Pine, MD
National Institutes of Mental Health
15K North Drive, MSC-2670
Bethesda, MD 20892-2670

A Hopeful DSM Update from Linda Gottlieb, Jan 26, 2013

The Latest on the PAS and the DSM-5

From Dr. William Bernet, Chairman of the PAS working group:

“I will tell you what I have learned, but we may not know for sure until May 2013 when the book is published.

As I previously reported, the DSM-5 leadership said a long time ago that they do not want parental alienation to become a separate, new diagnosis with its own coding number. However, they have always left open the idea that parental alienation could be mentioned in the text or discussion of some other diagnosis that is already in DSM-5.DSM-5 Updates

As far as I can tell, the words “parental alienation” will not be in DSM-5. However, it seems very likely that the concept of parental alienation and the definition of parental alienation will be mentioned in at least two places in DSM-5. The diagnosis of parent-child relational problem is already in DSM; I’ve been told that the concept of parental alienation will be in the discussion of parent-child relational problem. Also, child psychological abuse is a new diagnosis in DSM-5, although it has previously been in ICD; I’ve been told that the actual definition of parental alienation will be mentioned as an example of child psychological abuse. There is another new diagnosis in DSM-5, which is called parental relationship distress affecting children; that diagnosis may also be relevant for individuals affected by parental alienation.

I have asked senior personnel at DSM-5 to confirm the exact text that will be in the published version of DSM-5. They would not give me that information, saying that the entire content of DSM-5 has been “embargoed” until the publication in May 2013. That means that the publisher has insisted that details of DSM-5 not be released to the general public until the actual publication date.”

If the actual behavior of turning a child against a parent is cited as an example of child psychological abuse, then this is much more significant than having the label of a diagnosis. Because once a behavior is deemed to be child abuse, IT CAN BE CRIMINALIZED. I am hoping for this!

The NIMH Withdraws Support for DSM-5

Just two weeks before DSM-5 is due to be released, the National Institute of Mental Health, the world’s largest funding agency for research into mental health, has indicated that it is withdrawing support for the new manual. Doctors hope that over the next ten years we can move to a more biological view of mental disorders, and want to start that research now.

DSM-5 Released May 19, 2013

Thank You Linda Gottlieb For Spreading The Many Examples of Parental Alienation in DSM-5

APA 166th AGM May 2013

Great News about the PAS and the DSM5:
Hello PASG Colleagues

Finally, DSM-5 was published today. The DSM-5 Task Force told us 2 or 3 years ago that they did not want parental alienation to be a separate diagnosis in DSM-5, but they thought that parental alienation could be considered an example of other diagnoses that are in DSM-5.

The actual words “parental alienation” are not in DSM-5, but there are several diagnoses that can be used in these cases. I would say the “spirit” of parental alienation is in DSM-5, even if the words are not.

Parent-child relational problem now has a discussion in DSM-5, not just a label. The discussion explains that cognitive problems in parent-child relational problem “may include negative attributions of the other’s intentions, hostility toward or scapegoating of the other, and unwarranted feelings of estrangement.” That is a pretty good description of a child’s view of the alienated parent, although it is an unfortunate use of the word “estrangement.”

Child psychological abuse is a new diagnosis in DSM-5. It is defined as “nonaccidental verbal or symbolic acts by a child’s parent or caregiver that result, or have reasonable potential to result, in significant psychological harm to the child.” In many instances, the behavior of the alienating parent constitutes child psychological abuse.

Child affected by parental relationship distress is another new diagnosis in DSM-5. It should be used “when the focus of clinical attention if the negative effects of parental relationship discord (e.g., high levels of conflict, distress, or disparagement) on a child in the family, including effects on the child’s mental or other physical disorders.” That is also a good description of how parental alienation comes about.

Factitious disorder imposed on another is the DSM-5 terminology for factitious disorder by proxy or Munchausen disorder by proxy. Its definition is “falsification of physical or psychological signs or symptoms, or induction of injury or disease, in another, associated with identified deception.” In some cases, that would describe the behavior of the alienating parent.

Delusional symptoms in partner of individual with delusional disorder is the DSM-5 terminology for shared psychotic disorder or folie a deux. The definition is: “In the context of a relationship, the delusional material from the dominant partner provides content for delusional belief by the individual who may not otherwise entirely meet criteria for delusional disorder.”

In discussing this topic, I would say that the concept of parental alienation is clearly in DSM-5, although the actual words are not. This is a great improvement over DSM-IV-TR, especially with the addition of the new diagnoses, child psychological abuse and child affected by parental relationship distress.

Best wishes, Bill

William Bernet, M.D.
Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychiatry
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Nashville, Tennessee

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