As an expert witness I am often called upon to educate the courts about parental alienation theory and research (generic testimony) or to comment on the presence of alienation in a specific case (specific testimony). In either scenario, I write a report and or testify in court about the following issues (1) what is the difference between alienation and estrangement, (2) the common signs of alienation, (3) the primary parental alienation strategies, (4) how alienation is like a cult, (5) how alienation is a form of emotional abuse, (6) and why the courts must intervene. One strategy of opposing counsel is to discredit the field of parental alienation and hence exclude my testimony. In response to this strategy I have compiled a growing list of peer reviewed scholarly articles that provide evidence of the validity of the concepts of parental alienation strategies and parental alienation syndrome/the alienated child.
Some states rely on the Frye standards for determining whether an expert's field of expertise meets legal standards for admissibility. In these states one must demonstrate that the area under question (in this case parental alienation) has reached acceptance in the scientific community. In light of the hundreds of articles (not all empirical) that have been published in this country and around the world, there is no question that parental alienation meets that standard. This is so despite the fact that there is some controversy regarding it. The reason is that much of the controversy is about various facets of the theory but not with the theory per se. For example, many of the critics object to PAS being included in the DSM or worry that PAS can be misused by the courts, or complain that too little is known about treatment.