Assessing Attachment for family courts

We’ve noticed noticed a few posts about psychological reports and expert witnesses in family court. We’re writing a more detailed piece but here’s a few thoughts.

1. No psychology training in the UK currently includes PA
2. Psychologists in their training normally choose an adult or child specialism. If anyone offers both it is a bolt on
3. Therefore ask the question what specialist training they have to claim PA and family expertise
4. Most psychologists and social workers (include Cafcass in that) use an old model of attachment as attachment to the primary caregiver (read RP)
5. Most psychologists and social workers “observe” attachment behaviours and place their own interpretation on it…we’ve all seen the classic from Dr Millers 7 minute YouTube video…child is close to RP therefore secure attachment. …not very scientific is it
6. In a psychological report you may well be lucky therefore to be told…insecure or secure attachment. … as near to useless as it gets
7. If you a bit more lucky you’ll get an ABCD… anxious secure ambivalent disorganised..again useless… detail..
8. Ask about the experts expertise in case management of PA. Why? Well, it’s very cosy sitting in front of the parents and children filling out a tick sheet to diagnose, but what experience do they have in managing the treatment routes and interventions. How many therapeutic interventions have they implemented? Do they do family systems or multi-modal interventions? How many reunifications or change of residence have they managed? What modes or approaches to therapeutic work do they use? what is their evidence Base? Are they practitioners or just milking the gravy train expert witnesses? Yes think about it

Having seen ….very expensive psychological reports which basically reduce each person to their psychological parts in a completely dehumanising way offering no construct route forward to guide the court process .they are also wishy washy and like to sit on the preverbial fence.

Most alienating parents do not have a personality disorder. And even if they do they are very hard to diagnose…because guess what people lie. To read a report and then see the “faking good” scale means….well exactly that….the whole assessment could have be faked.

Read the attached file to be informed about one scientifically valid measure of attachment
1. Based on theory
2. Scientific validation
3. Blind coded to remove bias
4. 50 professional DMM coders in UK each assessment ballpark £500 to £600 per assessment
5. What do you get….a detailed assessment integrating childhood experience, thinking style (what memory systems in the brain are used) somatic and emotional regulation…the strategies being used….and in children it explains the PA reaction we see…splitting…intense displays of anger. …ambivalence. .coercive strategies to get their needs met I. E. The counterintuitive nature

The ABCD is expanded to 12 categories…with combinatuons. It covers maladaptive attachment behaviours. ..I see all the alienating behaviours in it….it specifically explains child rearing protective strategies …cognitive distortions. …emotional decision making. ….family patterns and unresolved trauma….false cognitions …trauma reenactment . It is measured and it’s about the relationships BETWEEN family members so it’s a dynamic relational picture. It maps directly into an informed family intervention plan with the detail. It covers normal attachment behaviours across to psychopathology. The interview is video and audio recorded with open questions that can not be a yes or not or scaled manipulated answer

The attached link details that 20% of expert witnesses are not qualified.

We’ll be writing more to explain… an informed consumer and careful who you trust with your family case” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>

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