Richard A. Gardener

Dr. Richard A. Gardner was a controversial figure in the field of psychotherapy. He earned a living as a forensic expert and it was in this context that he conceptualized the now-debunked construct “Parental Alienation Syndrome” (PAS) to DARVO children’s claims of child sex abuse. Gardener theories were discredited for lacking scientific validity and potentially harming genuine abuse victims. Despite the controversy surrounding his ideas, Dr. Richard A. Gardner’s work left a lasting impact on the discourse surrounding child custody disputes and the complexities of parent-child relationships. Some people mistakenly use the term “parental alienation” to describe their experiences of parent-child estrangement without understanding the history and debunked status of the theory. The use of the term usually creates obstacles to conflict resolution and healing.