10th of October World Mental health Day and Parental Alienation

Lena Hellblom Sjögren, Ph.D. , Licensed psychologist, 2018-10-10

Today, the 10th October is World Mental Health Day, a day which aims to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world.

Also in Sweden we need to raise awareness about what is good and what is bad for the child’s mental health. Cutting off of children without any justification from mothers or  fathers that is going on is harmful for the children’s well-being. But denied. Almost totally denied. By people, politically correct seeing themselves as protectors of women and children.

Through their denial of the often life long harm that is done to a child when that child’s mum or dad, without any justifiable reason, is taken from a child, they contribute to the growth of mental ill-being, instead of mental well-being among children.

From massive research in the last two decades we know that e child’s well-being benefits from a daily life contact with both parents – also after the parents have separated (see for example Linda Nielsen, Richard Warshak, William Fabricius, Malin Bergström). It is the adults who separate, not the child/children!

The children need to have love and acceptance from both their parents to be able to develop to healthy adults. That we know through studies performed by Ronald Rohner and his colleagues from more than four decades.

So why is the child’s fundamental needs for the child’s well-being denied in Sweden? When, in fact these fundamental needs of the child are also in harmony and underlined by the national Family law in Sweden and the child’s human right to family life?

I do not have any answer to my own questions above. But it might be that the feminists undermining of the family and the politicians tendency to adjust to feminists´ demands, even if it is against the national Swedish law and the children’s human rights, as in the case of the law giving Swedish single women the right to have sperm from Swedish men to become lonely mothers. The message then, through this rather new, actually illegal, law being that children do not need their fathers present in their lives, just as sperm donators. This is not in accordance with Swedish Family Law and it is against all we know about children’s fundamental needs for their own well-being.

As some of you who read this might know there was an international conference in Stockholm, arranged by  the Parental Alienation Study Group, PASG, in August 2018: Parental Alienation – What Is It? What To Do About It? Sadly enough there was no Swedish journalist present who  reported from this scholarly conference, but there was one from Australia, working with a documentary film, and one from BBC, working with a radio documentary, present and making a lot of interviews. Actually there was also a Swedish journalist, Anna Lytsy, who is going to publish a book about parental alienation together with her lawyer friend and colleague, in the beginning of next year. She has announced that there will be no mentioning of any of my work on parental alienation during more than 25 years, which is ok with me, as long as the book will give a correct and well substantiated presentation of this family violence of our time, that we call parental alienation.

What has been written about the scholarly Stockholm conference in the left magazine ETC and by Feministic Perspective is nor correct or substantiated.

The headline in ETC published the 24th of September 2018, was: ”Warning: The women hostile PAS-ideas exist also in Sweden.”

In the introduction Anna-Maria Carnhede who has written the article, refers to a new

”women hostile” law in Italy, and states that the Italian government ”wants to punish ´lying women´ as hard as men beat. ´Unfounded´ accusations about violence in close relations is seen as something as problematic for the society that it ought to be sanctioned in the same way as systematic abuse…

As one part of the new family policy package the Italian government wants to include so called ´parental alienation´ in the law text, something that has made the  women’s right movement very upset.

In August this year there was an international meeting about so called parental alienation, or PAS  as it is also called, in Stockholm. At the East Asian Museum advocates for the theory from several countries, among them the US, Slovenia, Germany and Scotland, gathered. 

The PAS-advocates´ basic argument is that it is becoming more usual in custody disputes that one of the parents influences the child to reject the other parent. On the surface actually not a controversial statement, if you do not consider how the concept is used – as an argument AGAINST women’s and children’s statements about violence – and by whom.

In Sweden the PAS-theory has beed advocated by the so called fathers´ rights movement…

The Swedish fathers´ rights movement dates back to the 1990s´ and consists of a rather varied crowd of men. Many have gone through own custom disputes, in which they experience they have been subjected to  corrupt legal practice. Several of their advocates have been condemned or have been suspected for violence or sexual abuse in a close relation – either towards women they have lived with or towards their children.

This is where the theory about PAS, or parental alienation, suits the movement so well.

According to the actual law special considerations must be made when there are suspicions that a child or someone else in the family is being abused during a custody dispute. By claiming that the mothers simply have planted the stories about violence and abuse in the heads of the children they can declare themselves not guilty and thereby claim their right to custody of or visitation with their child…

The women´shelter movement and all sound human beings who claim to defend a real child perspective have all reasons in the world to keep their eyes open.” /my translation from Swedish/


Already in the International Handbook of parental alienation published in  2006, The International Handbook of Parental Alienation Syndrome. Conceptual, Clinical and Legal Considerations, I wrote an article about FIVE MOTHERS who had lost they children. In 2012 I published a book called ”The Child’s Right to Family Life. 25 Swedish Case-Studies of parental Alienation”. 8 of 25 WERE MOTHERS WHO HAD LOST THEIR CHILDREN.

It has become more and more common that fathers adopt the same kind of programming of the children to reject their mother often in combination with false accusations, as mothers mostly used/use to exclude or eliminate the father from the children’s lives. This occurs when a father or a mother does not understand that the children need the other parent – even if them themselves hate and want that other adult person out of their – and the children’s lives.

To actually ”kill” a child’s parent is not something that can be accepted, as it harms the child. When a parent physically dies the child mostly gets support to remember that parent positively. When a mum or a dad is eliminated from the child’s life, as if dead, the child gets no support to remember that parent positively. Instead the opposite; there is nothing positive said or remembered about that eliminated mum or dad.


The sad fact is that the child also then has to reject half of him-/her-self – with all the negative consequences that has for the child – also in a life perspective.

Why is this not self evident for all those who see themselves as child protectors? All these people like the ETC-writer – or those who wrote in feministic perspective, who see themselves as the ones with a real child perspective – why do they not want to defend the child’s legal and human right not get psychologically abused?



Jenny Rönngren and Katarina Hörlin (httpa://feminstisktperspektiv.se/2018/10/05/foraldaalienation-namndeman/ refer to Christian Diesen as the authority to condemn parental alienation, I quote (my translation):

– …we are many who have tried to keep this theory out of the courts, says Christian Diesen, professor in law of procedure. …

´ Until now this theory has hardly existed as defense in Swedish criminal cases, but in some custody cases. It must be seen as an important cleaning task for the courts not to allow expert statements based on Pas, as the theory lacks scientific foundation,´ professor Christian Dieen wrote in Abuse towards women and children; the legal handling published by Norstedts.

-Pas-advocates have not been so prominent in Sweden during a time, but the movement is active in the US, where there are local departments of legal professionals who advocate this thesis. But the fact that the National Board of Health and Welfare so clearly has rejected Pas,* the theory has not been possible to use in any verdict in Sweden, Christian Diesen states.

What is the biggest danger if Pas-like theories are spread in courts?

-With them an atmosphere of disbelief against the woman in the judgments in custody cases is spread. In them these accusations greatly harm both the children and the women, who try to protect their children.


-The court always has shared custody as a starting point, or in any case visitation. If it is invented that the foundation for the conflict between the parents is that the woman has brain washed her child the woman is in a terrible upstream. An atmosphere of questioning around her is created, with statements that are not easy to meet. This is problematic, because if the woman wants to protect her child towards abuse and there are statements that open for the questioning of her motives, her actions are seen in the light of these statements. It is not easy to refute the accusations, if the woman wants to protect her child not to be abused she is accused of visitation sabotage. It is a tragic.

Other words – the same ideas

A tragic that not least many women´s shelter women and lawyers have told about. One of the most experienced is Gunilla Nordenfors who among many other things have been the editor for The Visitation Saboteurs: mothers´ stories about protecting their children against the fathers violence and sexual abuse.”

Justified reasons for a mother/father to protect a child, or for a child to reject a mother or a father is confirmed sexual abuse or violence, or confirmed serious mental illness or drug addiction. This is not the case when a child without any justification rejects a mother or a father because the child has been unrightfully separated and influenced  to believe that it is the child’s own will not to have any contact with that mother or father. Then it is parental alienation, psychological child abuse.

I wish that Gunilla Nordenfors, Christian Diesen, their followers, and those who have written the two articles I have commented, could try to widen their perspective and at least  try to see the harm done to children both when they loose a father – and a mother – without any justified reason.