Round 2 of Campaign to Ask DSM to Include Parental Alienation—We’ve Made Progress, but Need You to Act Again

Fathers & Families wants to ensure that the DSM-5 Task Force is aware of the scope and severity of Parental Alienation. To this end, in December we asked our supporters to write the Task Force to urge them to consider including Parental Alienation Disorder in DSM-5. As usual, your response was overwhelming. It also helped lead to progress–while as expected the newly-released draft version does not specifically include Parental Alienation Disorder, the DSM-5 Task Force has now listed Parental Alienation Disorder among the “Conditions Proposed by Outside Sources…that are still under consideration by the work groups.”

The Task Force says it “welcome[s] your comments on whether available evidence indicates that the following [disorders] should be included in DSM-5.” Fathers & Families is asking its supporters to write to the Task Force and again emphasize that Parental Alienation Disorder is a large-scale problem–to do so, please click here.

As in Round 1, Fathers & Families will print out your letter and send it by regular US mail to the three relevant figures in DSM-V: David J. Kupfer, M.D., the chair of the DSM-V Task Force; Darrel A. Regier, M.D., vice-chair of the DSM-V Task Force; and Daniel S. Pine, M.D., chair of the DSM-V Disorders in Childhood and Adolescence Work Group.

This isn’t easy–as Dr. Kupfer recently told the media, “The door to get in [the manual] is pretty hard.” But Parental Alienation Disorder does merit serious consideration.

Many observers have noted that hundreds of mental health professionals, doctors, educators, family law professionals and prominent citizens endorsed our campaign. If you belong to one of these groups and would like to be publicly listed as an endorser, please see our endorsement statement in the right-hand column and submit your name, title, city and state to us at

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article Mental health professionals getting update on definitions (2/15/10) details the DSM-V process:

[There are] many questions that scores of mental health professionals wrestled with for nearly a decade, as they conducted their periodic update of the neuroses of an evolving society.

The result of their work was unveiled by the American Psychiatric Association last week, as a draft version of the new “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.”

Known as the DSM-5, because it represents the fifth edition of this exhaustive bible for psychiatrists, psychologists and others, it attempts to catalog [disorders]…

The first update since 1994 also includes descriptions of depression, sleep disorders, alcohol abuse and other common maladies, but everything gets a fresh look because of the volume of new research and science affecting how they’re all regarded, said David Kupfer, the University of Pittsburgh psychiatry professor who chaired the DSM-5 task force.

The final product will go into the offices of all sorts of health professionals — from psychiatrists to family practitioners — while also influencing treatment payments by insurance companies, drug development by the pharmaceutical industry and future research by government and academia.

Dr. Kupfer, the longtime head of Pitt’s psychiatry department before stepping down in October, said the manual remains a work in progress, with revisions based on public and professional reaction before final publication in 2013.

“We weren’t out to make major changes, but so much has happened that we needed to address, that some may accuse us of being overambitious,” he said…Dr. Kupfer…said there is intense discussion during every update about what problems merit entering the manual for the first time…

“The door to get in [the manual] is pretty hard,” Dr. Kupfer said. “Once you’re in the club, it’s then hard to get out. All of us are a little tight about admitting people in the club.”

Again, write to the DSM-5 Task Force by clicking here.

Together with you in the love of our children,

Glenn Sacks, MA
Executive Director, Fathers & Families

Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S.
Founder, Chairman of the Board, Fathers & Families

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