AFCC Webinars

Claims and Counterclaims in Parental Alienation Research:

What’s a Family Court Professional to Do?

January 26, 2021
Robin Deutsch, PhD, ABPP, Peter Jaffe, PhD, Michael A. Saini, PhD

Claims and Counterclaims in Parental Alienation Research: What’s a Family Court Professional To Do? 
Recent research conducted by Professor Joan Meier (2019) and Drs. Jennifer Harman and Demosthenes Lorandos (2020) appears to be based on the same data but comes to diametrically opposite conclusions about the impact of allegations of parental alienation on court decisions. This creates enormous challenges for professionals who are trying to keep up with the research literature and practice in a responsible and informed manner. This AFCC webinar will offer a look at these studies from the perspective of a co-founder of an intensive intervention, an advocate and expert in intimate partner violence, and a researcher who has studied this issue extensively. The presenters will examine the practical, methodological, and ideological issues related to cases with resist-refuse dynamics and the studies specifically. 

Robin Deutsch, PhD, ABPP, is the former Director of the Center of Excellence for Children, Families and the Law at the William James College ( Previously she was on the faculty of Harvard Medical School, most recently as an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology. Dr. Deutsch is a child and family forensic psychologist, mediator, parenting coordinator, and is board certified in couple and family psychology. She developed and currently teaches the Certificate in Child and Family Forensic Issues at William James College and is a founder of Overcoming Barriers, an organization that provides family-centered services for families in conflict. She is the past president of the Massachusetts chapter of AFCC, past president of AFCC, and former Chair of the APA Ethics Committee.  Dr. Deutsch is the co-author of 7 Things Your Teenager Won’t Tell You: and How to Talk about Them Anyway (Ballantine, 2005, 2011and co-editor of the book Overcoming Parent-Child Contact Problems: Family-Based Interventions for Resistance, Rejection, Alienation (Oxford, 2016). 

Dr. Peter Jaffe is a psychologist and Professor in the Faculty of Education at Western University and the Academic Director of the Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women & Children. He is the Director Emeritus for the London Family Court Clinic, which a children’s mental health centre is specializing in issues that bring children and families into the justice system in London, Ontario. He has co-authored eleven books, 29 chapters and over 80 articles related to domestic violence, the impact of domestic violence on children, homicide prevention and the role of the criminal and family justice systems. For the past 40 years, he has presented workshops across the United States and Canada, as well as Australia, New Zealand, Costa Rica and Europe to various groups including judges, lawyers, health, mental health professionals and educators. He was a founding member of Ontario's Chief Coroner’s Domestic Violence Death Review Committee. Dr. Peter Jaffe co-leads the The Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Initiative with Vulnerable Populations (CDHPIVP). CDHIPIVP is a five-year SSHRC partnership grant (2015-2020) that explores the unique needs of Indigenous, immigrant and refugee, rural, remote, and northern communities, and children exposed to domestic violence.

Michael A. Saini, PhD, Associate Professor and holds the endowed Factor-Inwentash Chair in Law and Social Work and he is the Co-Director of the Combined J.D. and M.S.W. program with the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto.  Dr. Saini is a Board Member of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, the Chair of AFCC’s Webinar Committee and an editorial board member for the Family Court Review

Certificate of attendance will not be issued for recorded webinars