Once again I must thank my critics for doing such a good job of promoting my work. Their latest assistance came in the form of protest letters to the organization that invited me to deliver the keynote speech at their annual conference in Massachusetts. The campaign to alienate me from New England professionals backfired. For the first time in the organization’s eighteen-year history, the conference sold out, leaving a waiting list of disappointed professionals denied entrance to the packed house.
In her gracious introduction of me, the conference chair quoted from my email to her: “People have told me that I bring a certain passion to my writing and to my presentations. By way of analogy, imagine that your practice is heavily weighted with parents who are grieving the loss of children killed in accidents involving alcohol. Hearing their pain hour after hour, day after day, when you speak about the issue of drunk driving, you are going to bring a certain passion, fueled by the grief you witness. This is my situation. Ever since I wrote Divorce Poison, I spend at least eight hours a week dealing with parents who are grieving the loss of their children.”
One theme of my work on parental alienation is that professionals have an inadequate understanding of the extent of suffering and of the severity of the problem. So, like the mother who started MADD, I think it is imperative to highlight the damage to children who are pulled into their parents’ battles. I want to raise awareness of the severe impact of parental alienation and promote preventative measures and systems to reduce the prevalence and severity of the problem and the grief suffered by parents. At the same time, I deal with parents who are unfairly blamed for their children’s alienation from the other parent, and I raise awareness about the perils of overly simplistic approaches to evaluating these cases.
So, if you sense passion in my work, keep in mind that a dispassionate analysis of scientific matters does not mean that scientists leave passion at the door of their labs or consultation rooms. Though my interest in this topic is professional, I do feel passionate about helping people see the problem from the perspective of one who has probably dealt with more alienation cases than anyone else. My book gives voice to this mission, and I am grateful to the many therapists, lawyers, and judges who find it balanced and worthy of high recommendation.