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Practices Reputedly Followed For So-Called “Family Reunification” Therapy During And After Child Sexual Abuse Is Known To Have Occurred

So-called “reunification therapy” services emerged as an appendage of the interventions related to responses to parental alienation as designated in a family court order when custody has been transferred to the reputed alienated parent. This treatment intervention developed and can be identified in court proceedings as of early 2016.

Parental alienation as a designated diagnosis as conceived by Richard Gardner, MD, was a concept developed in the 1980s. It was embraced by the family court system and became a fixture of that system, separating children from any parent who accused their partner of engaging in sexual abuse of children.

The statistics on child sexual abuse according to the Centers for Disease Control ( are that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before the age of 18. Over a quarter of male victims are identified as having experienced their first rape at or before age 10 (Black, et al, 2011).

The preponderance of children studied who were sexually abused were known to have been abused by someone they knew, and generally that someone was a first or second degree relative.

The estimated percentage of child rapes or assaults reported by law enforcement were reported as having been committed by a family member. For children under the age of 6, the percentage was closer to 49% of sexual assaults (Synder, 2000).

These concepts were set forth by Gardner, never studied in any way by scientific protocol and therefore with no studies replicated to validate such a concept. They were then foisted upon a naïve community that then became the province of bar associations and court officers disposing of cases of child sexual abuse by denying the existence of child sexual assault. (See article “Gardner in His Own Words.”)

The false premise put forth by Richard Gardner and other advocates of the parental alienation concept is that the victim of sexual abuse experiences conflicting feelings of love and longing for a relationship with the abuser parent.

The province of “reunification therapy” exists in the grandiose conceptualization of the influence of power of these so-called therapists that they can construct an atmosphere where the child is “safe” from sexual assault.

Reunification proponents justify their insistence on their “therapeutic process” with the rationalization that after sexual abuse has occurred even when an abuser has been convicted of a crime and sent to prison, they do eventually return to their homes and communities. The rationale explains further that even when the person returns to the community that the family must deal with and cope with the offender in the community. The language of “reunification” services is placed in terms of reintegration into an offender’s community and family, accomplished while maximizing safety , especially the safety of a child survivor. They claim that this is a “survivor-led process in partnership with non-offending caregivers, with priority concern being the safety of the child.”

Reunification practitioners state that if the child who is sexually does not wish to move forward with “reunification,” the process must be stopped immediately.

The assertion is that “reunification” is a multi-layered and continual process of checking back in with the family and the child who was abused, and that it can be stopped at any time, even after it has begun.

The process is described as having 5 steps (Tabachnick and Pollard, 2016).

  1. The process is “treatment for everyone”: the child who was sexually abused, the offender, and the family.
  2. Assessment of readiness. Professionals begin to communicate about the status of all family members and how they have progressed to ensure that all traumas in the family system have been addressed.

This vagueness and lack of precision of language is symptomatic of the flimsiness and complete lack of specific articulated diagnostic behavior and intra-psychic assessments, goals, and processes. The utter lack of precision and clarity of thinking as to the complexity of the nature of sexual assault allows for the articulation of know-nothing, do-nothing empty phrases that are sound and fury meaning nothing and creating catastrophic consequences in physical and emotional development for all parties.

The financial cost and the lack of time parameters causes victims to be drawn into this form of “treatment” to in fact be caught up in a program of involuntary commitment for an endless period of time, alternately known as when all financial assets, marital and personal, have been exhausted.

  1. The family comes together to discuss abuse and the harm caused by it. The rhetoric is that the offender must accept full responsibility.

The inherent hypocrisy in this statement is that if the offender in fact had any capacity whatsoever to accept responsibility and in fact experienced in any meaningful terms the impact of the consequences of that person’s actions, they would never inflict themselves on the innocent victims whose lives they have so wantonly and viciously impacted.

Among the things that are known about sexual predators is that they love recounting the abuse. They love experiencing reflectively the trauma, pain, and suffering experienced by the victims. In fact, “reunification” services have created a theater of the absurd where perpetrators get to relive their crimes over and over, retraumatizing the victim who has the choice in these circumstances of involuntary servitude, otherwise known as slavery, to either lose their minds or to identify with the aggressor, the victor in this circumstance and become the predator that they seek to escape. As the predator that they evolve into, they can then experience the identification with the strength and “independence” of committing crimes for which there is no retribution, and pain is translated into pleasure as sadism and cruelty become the new norm that allows the predator boundless power and control.

For those destined to the hamster wheel of repetition of a trauma, their lives are experienced as a contraction in which their world revolves around avoidance of confronting their own inability to protect themselves.

  1. Safety planning. The “therapist” for “reunification therapy” has the task of creating a comprehensive safety plan focusing on minimizing risk factors for the family.

The task for the “therapist” is to provide boundaries to keep everyone safe. This entire fiction of the safety plan is inherently a non sequitur, because the whole nature of sexual abuse and predatory behavior is to violate, undo, and be unbound by boundaries. The very idea that a safety plan exists that can in fact treat a condition that is not treatable. Sexual predators who are diagnosable in a range of psychopathic character disorders learn to become better predators by engagement in a process by which participants talk about their feelings, their vulnerabilities, and their insecurities.

Psychopathic individuals defined by their sexual abuse behavior and the repetition of such behavior must be identified as being untreatable. “Treatment situations” are in fact doctoral training programs for becoming better and more skilled predators. As predators these abusers become increasingly effective in grooming and luring and their victims and then preying on the empathy of others, describing what is in fact a caricature of conscience. Lies, deceit, coverup and a powerful drive to preserve the predatory behavior they so enjoy is in fact the direction of the career for the population dealt with in “reunification therapy.”

  1. Reconnection and/or reunification. The “reunification” field theorizes that depending on the family situation, relationships may be restored without actual reunification in the same household, or them may be restored within the same household, providing that an effective safety plan is in place and the safety of the child can be ensured.

This absurd non sequitur is a typical statement of the vague internally inconsistent and absurd unfounded, unscientific concepts associated with the verbiage of “reunification therapy.”

The statements that professionals continually check in with the child and family members to see how they’re feeling about the process and what concerns they may have is another flight into what is in fact parasitic denial of the authentic rights and feelings of subjects placed under control of “reunification” practitioners, because a source of referrals for reunification services is exacted through the coercive control, threats, and intimidations of courts, who are a source of vast financial remuneration based on the financial assets and resources of the families whose wealth resources are being pillaged.

The population serviced is one that has already been subject to trauma authoritarian abuse, both on the part of the legal community, the court system, and criminal justice, all of which in the point of view, experience, and expertise of the Foundation for Child Victims of the Family Courts seek only to perpetuate the exploitation of vulnerable subjects.

In our expert opinion based on intensive observation of the behavior and practices of officers of the court and the factotum they engage, they themselves display the same character traits and character pathology of the criminal predators whose actions need to be dealt with by the criminal justice system and not assisted in scaling their businesses into a multi-billion-dollar industry in which perversion pays and the naïve public suffers.



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