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Reunification Therapy: History and Conceptual Analysis of a Professed Treatment Intervention

Reunification Therapy is a concept introduced to generate control, manipulation, and intimidation of children who are subjects of brutal physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.

The intent of the subjugation of the abused is to suppress continued complaints and rebellion against an abuser in order to support child transfer. When the protective parent complainant is flipped into the position of being the named “abuser,” policies supporting funding for reunion programs to repair relationships between estranged or separated children and parents are often activated by state agencies through Title IV D, Aid to Needy and Dependent Children.


  1. Richard Gardner, M.D. (4/28/1931- 5/25/2003) was a forensic psychiatrist who concocted the debunked theory of parental alienation in the course of his defense of a core group of 300 male clients who were the subjects of criminal charges of incest and child abuse. Gardner was hired as a forensic psychiatrist to defend these men. He developed a program as an apologist that was based on the core concepts that these litigants, having been involved in family court divorce litigation, were the subjects of false accusations engendered by bitter women/partners who were seeking an advantage in the litigation process to extort funds and access to children.


  1. The concept of parental alienation became the basis of extensive theories that were counter to all well-established medical, scientific, and biological understandings of human growth and development. The lies perpetrated by Gardner flow from his statement that children from birth are sexual beings and are born with the capacity for sexual arousal, interest, and desire for sexual engagement. His statements are absolutely false. There is no evidence in medical science based on human anatomy that suggests that children experience arousal for sexual activity.

References related to the fact that male children may experience erectile activity must be viewed as a reflex response and NOT an arousal response. The biological substrate related to that which is medically and scientifically known as sexual arousal is based on the presence of hormonal substances that combine to support a response known as excitement. It begins with the process of light hitting the eyes connecting with the pineal gland in the brain to then generate sexual arousal and functions in reproduction. The pineal gland is influential in puberty.

We assert that Gardner’s anatomical birth defect, never corrected by plastic surgery following his birth, formed a core motivational basis for his perverse, distorted, and hostile view of children who he studied in his medical career. He then created a personality theory of children that described children as motivated by predatory sexual engagement of unsuspecting adults. He described children as manipulative, fabricators, and seducers of naive adults.

This perverse view of childhood from the perspective of an adult who views himself as a victim of children has produced a warped theory of human behavior. Children become evil and predatory. The concept that sparing the rod ruins the child becomes a leading precept of child management, which leads to justification for intensely cruel and vicious treatment towards children.

  1. Promoting the concept of children as predatory liars then justifies the reactions of disbelief and punishment of children by adults as thoroughly and completely built into the fabric of Gardner’s concepts based on parental alienation theory. Parental alienation very simply states that any and all accusations of a child against a parent that involves abuse of any kind is a lie and that the child must not be believed but firmly and sternly punished for their statements and accusations. This view of child development and psychological processes is fundamental to supporting a concept that embraces a basic distortion of reality.

The focus of our immediate attention dealing with the concept of so-called reunification therapy is the spawn of the cottage industry interventions developed by Gardner and by a portion of the legal system that has adopted a practice of disposing of proper adjudication of evidence and discovery in order to jump to false conclusions related to innocence of parties engaged in custody litigation. It is subversion of the legal process involving the dismantling of the evidentiary process, replacing it with threats, coercion, unlawful detention, and psychological torture worthy of the practices of the Salem Witch Trials.

The Gardner concept of parental alienation is more a belief system and not a scientifically or clinically evaluated process. Those researchers who have been engaged in evisceration of testimony provided by children are more invested in the support of their own erroneous precepts than seeking truth.

Our Argument Against Gardner’s Concepts

  1. It is our assertion that the hollow tenets of Gardner’s theory were based on shortcutting evidence related to child sexual abuse with serious argument that was meant to inject reasonable doubt in the legal arena. Suggesting that there is no sexual abuse if there is no physical harm is a deficient argument because the evidence of harm is not only sought in terms of physical indicia but also in the area of concomitant emotional and behavioral functioning. These are as consistent and solid bases of evidence as any physical wound.

Children who have experienced severe physical and psychological abuse have trauma that is consistent with well-studied patterns of behavior. Children’s articulations about and expressions of what they are attempting to describe are quite clear if one has the patience and the training to identify and understand exactly what the child subject is attempting to communicate.

We assert that the popularity of the Gardner facilitated concepts related to denial of child sexual abuse is based in the financial reward that has found deep roots in family courts. It is driven by judicial discretion and the minimal level of legal, scholarly proficiency required in the litigation of family court cases. The capacity to exact discovery seeking evidence beyond a reasonable doubt is an area of practice that does not exist in family court.

  1. Gardner’s muddled concepts cloaked in professional language have mixed well with the equally muddled and sloppy practices of law in family courts across the United States. As a result of lax procedures, the lure of financial gain through such properties as marital assets has become a rich hunting ground driven by “smoking mirror theory” which enables access to and the dismantling of family wealth.


  1. Family courts preside over a captive audience of vulnerable participants where assets of wealth and property, as well as children, are subject to court authority. We assert that the authority of family court, unrestrained by the controls implemented under adherence to constitutional processes, has been allowed to excise unlawful detention, sloppy legal processes, and the manipulation of so-called experts approved by the courts, in order to extort a financial advantage over subjects seeking lawful division of property and custody of children. The lure of profit and the deceit and collusion between officers of the court has unleashed unlawful practices which have combined and conspired to deprive innocent subjects of lawful defenses and the ability to protect children.

The Foundation for Child Victims of the Family Court describes the last 50 years of growth and development in the family court system as involving practices with mechanics of a racketeering enterprise engaged in child trafficking and extortion utilizing the services of officers of the court and practitioners. Practitioner of reunification services Linda Gottlieb is designated as the chief officer of an organization called Turning Points for Families. She has a variety of different addresses in New York state but her business is a so-called treatment involving the reservation of hotel rooms in which children are effectively kidnapped by court orders and the police.

A judge orders custody of the children for the purposes of forced engagement in the Gottlieb reunification program. Protective parents are given no option but to turn over their children to transfer agents hired by Gottlieb to force children at gunpoint from their residing state in the United States to an undisclosed location by car or plane.

The actors in these family court matters involve minor children traumatized by a parent. They describe feelings of extreme fear because of physical and psychological maltreatment. As a result, they refused contact with the parent. The intervention described at this point in time by courts across the country is described as a therapeutically monitored intervention espoused as an effort to resolve children’s fear of the parent that they are refusing to have contact with.

The So-Called Therapeutic Process: The Curriculum of Cruelty and Coercion

  1. The fundamental tenets of established psychotherapeutic work and the basis of the process that is meant to support healing and resolution of profound underlying conflict depends on trust, honesty, and confidentiality on the part of both therapist and client. The treatment process moves forward based upon the experience of the client. Healing occurs with an increasingly deep understanding of their own feelings – rational or irrational, well founded or fantasied – and the ability to experience a cohesive sense of control over one’s life, plans, goals, and relationships. Rapprochement is grounded in constant communication and examination, a relationship that grows based on a shared experience of progress and satisfaction – whatever that means to the working team of patient and client.

Reunification therapy is an anti-therapeutic process based on coercion, control, sedition, and acquiescence to all orders and directors. The process is in fact a master-slave dynamic compelled and orchestrated by the courts in league with the dominatrix-like therapist. It is a process that has avoided evidence and discovery related to claims of abuse by the parent, who is now in control of the child. Orders of the court compel the subject child to totally and completely submit to the authority of the parent named abuser.

The claims of abuse that brought the case to court are either dismissed as being false, or blatantly accepted with the baseless theory that the child must cope with and accommodate the parent abuser because they are an authority figure in the child’s life. The child is expected to accommodate to the authority of the parent and the authority of the interlocutor court appointed officials. The nature of these heinous crimes documented by the child subjects include violent physical abuse, verbal humiliation, sexual assault, physical assault, starvation, and a refusal by court officers to accept any form of written or articulated testimony from the child.

Where testimony has been forced upon the court, we have evidence of judges stating to the child, “I do not care what your father has done to you or what you say your parent has done to you. You will have a relationship with this person.” We have many statements on record in the court process where judges have listened to testimony and stated to the child and protective parent, “I do not care what you have to say. I do not believe you, and you will have a relationship with your parent.”

  1. The coercive programs such as Turning Points for Families headed by Linda Gottlieb justify their coercive practices through allegations of clinical fact to the effectiveness of the program. They claim to bring about a bonding relationship between subject child and abuser parent. This four day coercive program sequesters the child exclusively with the abusive parent. All family members, friends, and associates in the child’s life before the program are nonexistent and enforced by being placed under the supervision of court-ordered caretakers.

There are two parts to the “treatment.” One is to force the subject child who was abused to recant and embrace a relationship with the abuser despite the serious abuse. This includes forcing the protective parent who has tried to shield the child from horrendous abuse to recant their objections and to conform to the ritualized statements of contrition expected as an outcome of breaking the will of the protective parent.

The second part of the equation is breaking the will of the child by forcing the child to turn against and reject the protective parent and to view the protective parent as a liar and source of misinformation. The goal is to turn the child against their once loved parent. That is done both by causing the child to distrust the loving relationship with the parent and to distrust their own understanding and experience of abuse.

This is accomplished with constant reinforcement of the false messages and by supplementing false experiences different from what the child actually experienced. The intervention protocol instituted by such reunification programs as Turning Points for Families involves mind control and confusion.

The methods of mind control include:

  1. Movies with a subliminal message: A Trip to Pluto, in its various configurations
  2. Deprivation and isolation: contact only with program officials, no access to phones, family, friends, school programs, sports affiliations
  3. No contact through social media, film, or books
  4. Housing: children are placed in hotel rooms supervised by male or female chaperons

The implementation of sequestration is known and acknowledged by reunification programs to lead to significant deterioration including suicidal ideation or/and attempts, elopement, acute depression, possible psychotic break, self-harm, and eating disorders.

  1. The intake process begins when the court issues a habeas corpus. The court order is implemented by police officers who often enforce it by seizing children with guns drawn. Children are removed from their homes where they are transported by plane or car potentially across state lines.

The theory behind reunification theory directly relates to the factory processing of children from the custody of protective parents into the custody of abusers. It is a theory made of whole cloth with no substance, no basis in scientific or medical practice, and meant for the purposes of fraud, child trafficking, and racketeering.

The end product of this process is the destruction of millions to billions of lives and the end of the ability of a democratic society to function.


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