Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Stand Up For Gus red carpet event in Hollywood hosted by actor Jason Patric. Jason is a self-identified targeted parent as he has not been able to see his son, Gus, for close to 9 months. Although I cannot weigh in on the facts of the case, I can say that I fully appreciate Jason’s desire to shine a light on the topic of alienation. In attendance at the fund raiser (to raise money to help low income parents obtain legal representation) were Matt Damon, Mel Gibson, Keifer Sutherland, Chris Noth, John Hamm, and many others. Entertainment was provided by Sarah Silverman, Craig Ferguson, and Jim Gaffigan. Also part of the event was actor Paul Dooley (a father in many movies and TV shows) and his formerly alienated son Adam. They spoke eloquently of the lost years and the pain caused by their forced separation. A particularly poignant moment was when Adam spoke of the guilt he felt for inflicting pain on his father and Paul turned to him and said “I forgive you.” This moment echoed the findings presented in my research and book Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome: Breaking the ties that bind that forcing a child to reject a parent results in shame and guilt that can linger on in the heart and mind for decades. I don’t know what Jason’s plan are for “the field” but he spoke about the need to shine a light on this topic and I for one and hoping that he finds a way to use his fame to that end.

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If I knew then what I know now