According to my survey and the many online conversations of various support groups for parental alienation, it appears that there is a widespread belief that the court system (throughout the country, not just Colorado) is uninformed about parental alienation because PA is so often not recognized or is disregarded by investigators. This supports the testimony of Dr. Miller that most professionals “don’t get it” when it comes to parental alienation.
Types of Mental Health Professionals
Choosing the right mental health professional when parental alienation is involved is a challenge. Psychotherapists have varying degrees of educational background, training, and experience. They can be clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, marriage and family therapists, social workers, or counselors. Any of these mental health professionals may also be trained as family systems therapists who view and treat the family as a unit rather than treating a single individual. As with any other field of expertise, the field of mental health providers ranges in quality.
In the US, the title of psychologist is regulated by law, with most clinical psychologists having completed a doctoral degree and an internship, although some have a master’s degree. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have completed a psychiatric residency. Most social workers and counselors have a master’s degree, although some have a doctorate, and some have only a bachelor’s degree. Marriage and family therapists may have a master’s or doctorate and must have two years of supervised clinical experience. State licensing requirements for psychoanalysts vary, but in general, applicants must complete extensive course work, participate in their own psychoanalysis, and receive supervision for their clinical work beyond their mental health professional credentials, which must include post-masters level work or a psychiatric rotation in the case of medical doctors.
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