OF RICHARD A. GARDNER, M.D.
FOR PROVIDING COURT TESTIMONY
This statement has been prepared in response to numerous requests—by judges, attorneys, and clients—for detailed information regarding my experiences in the field of legal (forensic) psychiatry.
From 1960 to 1962, just after completing 3 years of residency training in general and child psychiatry, I served as chief of child psychiatry at the United States Army Hospital in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. It was then that I first provided testimony in military courts, primarily in insanity and competence cases. However, because military dependents are not under the jurisdiction of military courts (but are entitled to medical/psychiatric services provided by the military), I testified (through translators) in German civilian courts in various parts of West Germany.
In 1963, I entered private practice, first in New York City and in the late 1960s in Cresskill, New Jersey, where I have been practicing ever since. In the mid-1960s, in association with the burgeoning of child-custody litigation, I began providing court testimony in child-custody disputes. It was then that I first realized the significant disadvantages—to both the courts and clients—of testimony provided by adversary mental health professionals. Since that time I have always done everything possible to serve as a court-appointed impartial examiner in such disputes.
My experience with divorcing families enabled me to write a series of books, the first of which was The Boys and Girls Book About Divorce (hardcover, 1969; paperback, 1970), which is now in its 28th printing and has been translated into Spanish, French, Dutch, Hebrew, and Japanese. It is, I believe, the most widely utilized divorce book for children. Its companion volume, The Parents Book About Divorce (hardcover, 1977; paperback, 1979), deals extensively with legal issues, especially child custody litigation. It was reprinted eight times and was translated into French and Czech. Its updated and expanded second edition (hardcover, 1991; paperback, 1991) deals even more than its predecessor with legal issues and includes material on the PAS and sex abuse, especially sex-abuse allegations that arise in the context of child-custody disputes. In the 1970s I began to publish articles on child custody litigation in both legal and mental health journals. Psychotherapy with Children of Divorce (1976; update, 1995) also deals extensively with legal issues. The Boys and Girls Book About One-Parent Families (hardcover, 1978; paperback, 1983) was translated into Japanese. Boys and Girls Book About Stepfamilies was published in 1981.
My first book on custody litigation, Family Evaluation in Child Custody Litigation, was published in 1982. In 1989 Family Evaluation in Child Custody Mediation, Arbitration, and Litigation was published, a book that was an update and significant expansion of Family Evaluation in Child Custody Litigation (1982). In the early 1980s, I began seeing a new psychiatric disorder, primarily in children embroiled in child custody litigation. The child is obsessed with deprecation of a parent. On detailed investigation, I concluded that the campaign of denigration was not simply the result of parental programming ("brainwashing") but that there were significant contributions provided by the child. Accordingly, I did not consider the terms "brainwashing" and "programming" proper and introduced the term parental alienation syndrome (PAS) to describe this disorder. My first article on this disorder appeared in 1985, and my first book describing the syndrome, Child Custody Litigation: A Guide for Parents and Mental Health Professionals appeared in 1986. This book describes a wide variety of psychiatric disturbances seen in children and parents who become embroiled in highly contested child-custody litigation. It also discusses alternative modes of child-custody dispute resolution, especially mediation. A comprehensive statement of the disorder is to be found in my 1992 publication, The Parental Alienation Syndrome: A Guide for Mental Health and Legal Professionals . This book has been vastly updated and expanded in my 1998 The Parental Alienation Syndrome, Second Edition . Therapeutic Interventions for Children with Parental Alienation Syndrome (2001) describes, for the first time, my vicarious deprogramming procedure.
The list of articles in peer-review journals on the PAS that have been written by me, as well as others, is being continually updated and can be accessed on the Web site: refs_index. Continually updated citations of legal cases in which the parental alienation syndrome has been admitted into court testimony is to be found on the same Web site. Also to be found there is a list of the lectures on The Parental Alienation Syndrome that I have been invited to present in both The United States and Abroad as well as conferences entirely devoted to PAS.
Since the early 1980s I have been increasingly involved in sex-abuse evaluations, especially sex-abuse allegations that arose in the context of child-custody disputes. I was convinced that some of these were false, even though I fully appreciate that genuine child sex abuse is widespread. Accordingly, I began working on criteria for differentiating between true and false sex abuse accusations. This culminated with my first book on the subject, The Parental Alienation Syndrome and the Differentiation Between Fabricated and Genuine Sex Abuse Allegations , published in 1987.
My involvement in sex-abuse evaluations in association with child-custody disputes led to my involvement in such assessments in the context of nursery school and day-care centers. Since the late 1980s I have been involved in other types of sex-abuse cases, e.g., cases in which adult women belatedly accuse their fathers and other relatives of having sexually abused them in childhood, in cases of accusations against clergymen, scout masters, teachers, and neighbors. Accordingly, I was (and still am) involved in some nationally known cases in this category. These experiences resulted in my publication in 1991 of Sex Abuse Hysteria: Salem Witch Trials Revisited and in 1992, True and False Accusations of Child Sex Abuse: A Guide for Legal and Mental Health Professionals . My Protocols for the Sex-Abuse Evaluation (1995) includes dozens of criteria for differentiating between true and false sex-abuse accusations and is generally viewed as the most comprehensive series of protocols yet published. My book, Psychotherapy With Sex-Abuse Victims: True, False, and Hysterical, was published in early 1996. My experiences testifying in court since 1960 have enabled me to write Testifying in Court: A Guide for Mental Health Professionals (1995). In late 2000, my book, Sex Abuse Trauma? or Trauma From Other Sources?, was published. This book should serve well in courts of law when differentiation is being made between psychological traumas that result from sex abuse (whether truly or falsely alleged) and psychological trauma that results from other causes. In addition to the aforementioned books, numerous articles of mine on the subject of child-custody litigation and sex abuse have appeared in both legal and mental health journals. Articles of mine in peer-review journals on my sex-abuse protocols can be accessed on the Web site: refs_index.
To date, I estimate that I have provided court testimony in about 400 cases (testimony lasting as long as three days in some cases and 10 to 15 days in a few cases). Most often, I have testified in child-custody disputes, and more recently in sex-abuse cases (e.g., child-custody disputes, nursery school and day-care centers, incestuous families, accusations against teachers, clergy, scoutmasters). On occasion I have testified in other areas, e.g., competence, liability, and sanity. Whereas my testimony in child-custody cases has taken place in family and civil courts, my testimony in sex-abuse cases has been both in civil and criminal courts. Furthermore, for a variety of reasons, I have done many legal evaluations that were never brought to the point of my providing court testimony. In all of my court appearances, I have always been recognized as an expert by the court in the areas in which I was providing testimony. Such areas include child custody, sex abuse, child development, learning disabilities, competence, and child psychotherapy.
I have been invited to testify in the following 25 states: Alabama, California, Connecticut, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. In addition, I have testified via telephonic methods in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Oregon. I have also been involved in evaluations of people from many other states that did not involve my providing direct testimony in that state, e.g., Arkansas, Arizona, Montana, Iowa, New Hampshire, and North Carolina. I have also provided testimony in Canada (Hamilton, Durham, and Thunder Bay) US Virgin Islands, and Ireland (Dublin). I have testified successfully in two Frye Test hearings on The Parental Alienation Syndrome (Florida and Illinois) and one PAS Mohan hearing in Canada (Ontario). In addition, I have testified successfully in one Daubert hearing on my Sex Abuse Protocols (US Territory of the Virgin Islands). The citations for these cases can be found on my website ( pas_legalcites)
Since the 1960s I have lectured on forensic issues to psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and other mental health professionals in major medical schools, teaching hospitals, and universities throughout the United States. I have lectured to lawyers at bar association meetings, judges’ colleges, and law schools. I have provided presentations in 48 states (including Alaska and Hawaii) on child-custody litigation, sex abuse, and some of the other aforementioned areas in which I have experience. I have lectured in many foreign countries: Mexico (Mexico City, Cancun), Canada (Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Sudbury, Hamilton, Toronto, Montreal), Bermuda, England (London, Oxford), Belgium (Louvain), The Netherlands (Amsterdam, Breda, Utrecht), West Germany (Frankfurt am Main, Goettingen), Austria (Vienna), Sweden (Stockholm, Malmo), Norway (Oslo), Russia (St. Petersburg, Moscow), Italy (Varese), Israel (Tel Aviv), and Japan (Tokyo, Kobe, Kyoto, Hiroshima).
I am certified in psychiatry and child psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. I am a Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, a Fellow of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the American Academy of Psychoanalysis. I am listed in Contemporary Authors, Who’s Who in America , and Who’s Who in the World.