Parental alienation: ‘It’s emotional abuse at the highest level’

When one parent turns a child against the other, a childhood is lost

Last May, the World Health Organisation officially recognised parental alienation syndrome for the first time, deciding to include it in the 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases, which comes into effect at the beginning of 2022.
The term was coined in the 1980s by the late Dr Richard Gardner, a US psychiatrist. He had observed, in some very acrimonious relationship break-ups, the ability of parents to manipulate a child to reject his or her other, previously loved parent.

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