Monday, May 13, 2019
Most people know that in legal systems that derive from the British common law, an accused person is held to be innocent until proven guilty. The burden of proof is on the accuser and the prosecutor—the accused person should not have to prove that he or she is innocent of wrongdoing, and of course in many cases it would be impossible to prove that something does not exist or did not happen.
It’s less well known that the idea of the burden of proof also applies in scientific investigation. The assumption is always that an effect (like the outcome of a psychological treatment, for instance) does not exist, and anyone who claims that it does must provide strong evidence that it does. The burden of proof that “something happened” is on the people who claim that it did. Others do not have the job of proving that there is no effect of a treatment or other event, and once again, as with the legal system, it can be impossible to show that there is no effect.
Unfortunately, rather than accepting and working on the burden of proof that their treatments are safe and effective, proponents of alternative psychotherapies all too often rely on “proof by assertion”. They repeatedly state that their diagnoses are correct and meaningful, or that their treatment methods are effective, and rely on this repetition to convince not only people in general, but courts in particular. Proof by assertion does not yield evidence that a diagnosis is correct or that a treatment has good outcomes, but as the advertising industry knows, it can be hard to resist repeated claims, especially for anyone who has good reason to want to believe them. If those claims are obfuscated by reference to apparently scientific terms or methods, so much the more likely that they will be convincing.
Proponents of parental alienation (PA) concepts and methods have made rather a specialty of proof by assertion combined with obfuscation. Consider the diagnostic methods that are used, first of all. These range from “scales” created by Craig Childress for the rating of normal parent and child behavior to the use of various more or less standardized tests (some of these, like the MMPI, are quite standardized; others, like the Bricklin, much less so). Tests for any behavioral or emotional disorder must be reliable (that is, give about the same results every time), but they must also be valid. A valid test is one that tests what it is claimed to test, and there must be evidence that a test does this before it is used for decision-making. The whole point of a psychological test is that it should be able to determine quickly information that would otherwise be time-consuming and difficult to obtain. But unless such a test’s result is highly correlated with the information obtained in the more difficult way, the test cannot be considered valid.
To show that any test for PA is valid, it would be necessary to demonstrate that the test gave the same results as would be obtained by interviews and observations of a family in which a child was rejecting contact with a parent. By definition, PA is present when a child rejects contact with one parent, that rejected parent has not behaved abusively, AND the preferred parent has worked to create alienation by manipulating and exploiting the child’s thoughts and feelings. Thus, anyone who claims that a psychological test or set of tests validly diagnose PA would have the burden of proof of showing that the tests are highly correlated with information that includes the three factors just mentioned—including observational evidence that the preferred parent’s actions have created rejection that would not have occurred otherwise. It is certainly true that there could be cases in which all three of those factors are present, but we cannot assume that psychological tests are valid measures of PA until someone systematically demonstrates that this is the case. An adequate test of PA must be able to discriminate between child rejection of a parent with and without the intervention of the preferred parent, but none of the tests in use have been shown to do that. In reality, the tests used to claim PA are “validated” against the opinion of one or more PA proponents rather than against empirical evidence—in other words, not validated at all.
PA treatments (including Family Bridges, etc.) have been claimed to be effective by their advocates, but as was the case with diagnosis, no one has accepted the burden of proof and done the work needed to demonstrate this. (Once again, this is the job of those claiming the effectiveness of a treatment; it is not the job of others to show that it is not effective.) Given the nature of the family situations and treatments, it is probably too much to ask that PA treatment advocates do randomized controlled studies, but it would be quite possible to do controlled clinical trials in which outcomes for children receiving PA treatment are compared to outcomes for children of similar characteristics who receive no treatment or some conventional form of psychotherapy. The burden of proof is not carried unless there is a well-defined, transparent standard of comparison presented. Published research on PA treatments so far has compared children’s attitudes and behavior before treatment to their own attitudes and behavior ; this is not adequate because there is rapid developmental change in adolescence and because even low-conflict families go through many changes following divorce, with or without psychological treatment.
When attorneys and family court judges meet arguments about PA diagnoses and treatments, they need to think about the right questions to ask and to realize that the burden of proof on these topics is on those making the claims, not on those who deny the claims.
Thursday, April 25, 2019
Mt. Holyoke College, 1959-1961
Occidental College. 1961-63; A.B. in Psychology, 1963
9/67-6/69 Norton, MA
State University College
9/69-6/71 Buffalo, NY
9/74-9/77 Pomona, NJ
Associate Professor, Professor,
9/77-2/81 Pomona NJ
Professor of Psychology,
2/81-2006 Pomona, NJ
Professor Emerita of Psychology, Richard Stockton College (now Stockton University), 2006--
Consulting reader, Infants and Young Children,1992- 2000
Editor, The Phoenix (NJAIMH Quarterly Newsletter), 1994-1999; Editor,
Nurture Notes (NJAIMH Newsletter), 2000-2001.
Association for Infant Mental Health, 1996-2000 New Jersey
Association for Infant Mental Health, 2000-2005 New Jersey
Past president, ex officio Board of Directors member, NJAIMH, 2005- 2009
Member, Prevention and Early Intervention Committee,
Community New Jersey
Mental Health Board, 2000-2002
Consulting editor, Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, 2002-2010
Care Campaign Advisory Committee, 2002-3 New Jersey
Fellow, Council for Scientific Medicine and Mental Health, 2003-2008
Faculty member, Youth Consultation Services Institute for Infant and Preschool Mental Health, 2003-
Chair, Board of Professional Advisors, Advocates for Children in Therapy, 2003--
Expert witness, Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, 2005
(license revocation matter)
[*Name was legally changed from Gene Alice Lester, May, 1977]
Expert witness, Middlesex NJ Family Court, 2005 (best interest hearing)
Member, "Critical Pathways" teleconference on training and credentials (formed after ZTT/Mailman Foundation Infant Mental Health Systems Development Summit Conference, September 2005)
Consultant, Thibault vs. Thibault, Paco County FL , 2006 (child custody and discipline matter)
Jovanna Vasquez, Santa Barbara County, CA, 2007 (child abuse matter) California
Reviewer, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 2008.
Testimony, Robertson vs. Mannion, Montgomery County, PA, 2008 (child custody matter)
Founding member, Institute for Science in Medicine, 2009; Board of Directors, 2014-
Reviewer, Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, 2009-
Board of Directors, Delaware Valley Group of WAIMH, 2010—2014.
Co-director, PA-IMH infant mental health breakfast series, 2014-2017
Editorial board, Child & Adolescent Social Work Journal, 2014—
Reviewer, Professional Psychology, 2015—
Reviewer, Child and Family Social Work, 2015—
Reviewer, Evidence-based Practice in Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 2016
Reviewer, Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 2017
Reviewer, Theory & Psychology, 2018
Expert witness, Sahar vs. Sahar, Yolo County, CA, 2018 (child custody/parental alienation matter)
American Psychological Association
Pennsylvania Association for Infant Mental Health
Society for Research in Child Development
Lester, G., & Morant, R. (1967). Sound localization during labyrinthian stimulation.
Proceedings of the 75th Annual Convention of the American Psychological
Association, 1, 19-20.
Lester, G. (1968). The case for efferent change during prism adaptation. Journal of
Psychology, 68, 9-13.
Lester, G. (1968). The rod-and-frame test: Some comments on methodology. Perceptual
and Motor Skills, 26, 1307-1314.
Lester, G. (1969). Comparison of five methods of presenting the rod-and-frame test.
Perceptual and Motor Skills, 29, 147-151.
Lester, G. (1969). The role of the felt position of the head in the audiogyral illusion. Acta
Psychologica, 31, 375-384.
Lester, G. (1969). Disconfirmation of an hypothesis about the Mueller-Lyer illusion.
Perceptual and Motor Skills, 29, 369-370.
Lester, D., & Lester, G. (1970). The problem of the less intelligent student in the introductory psychology course. The Clinical Psychologist, 23(4), 11-12.
Lester, G., & Lester, D. (1970). The fear of death, the fear of dying, and threshold differences for death words and neutral words. Omega,1, 175-180.
Lester, G. (1970). Haidinger’s brushes and the perception of polarization. Acta
Psychologica, 34, 107-114.
Lester, G., & Morant, R. (1970). Apparent sound displacement during vestibular stimulation. American Journal of Psychology, 83, 554-566.
Lester, G. (1971). Vestibular stimulation and auditory thresholds. Journal of General
Psychology, 85, 103-105.
Lester, G. (1971). Subjects’ assumptions and scores on the rod-and-frame test.
Perceptual and Motor Skills, 32, 205-206.
Lester, G., & Lester, D. (1971). Suicide: The gamble with death.
Cliffs, NJ: Englewood
Lester, D., & Lester, G. (1975). Crime of passion: Murder and the murderer. Chicago:
Lester, G., & Rando, H. (1975). No correlation between rod-and-frame and visual
normalization scores. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 40, 846.
Lester, G., Bierbrauer, B., Selfridge, B., & Gomeringer, D. (1976). Distractibility,
intensity of reaction, and nonnutritive sucking. Psychological Reports, 39, 1212-1214.
Lester, G. (1977). Size constancy scaling and the apparent thickness of the shaft in the
Mueller-Lyer illusion. Journal of General Psychology, 97, 307-398.
Mercer, J. (1979). Small people: How children develop and what you can do about it.
Mercer, J. (1979). Personality development and the principle of reciprocal interweaving.
Perceptual and Motor Skills, 48, 186.
Mercer, J. (1979). Guided observations in child development. Washington, D.C.: University Press of America.
Mercer, J., & Russ, R. (1980). Variables affecting time between childbirth and the establishment of lactation. Journal of General Psychology, 102, 155-156.
Mercer, J., & McMurphy, C. (1985). A stereotyped following behavior in young children.
Journal of General Psychology, 112, 261-265.
Mercer, J. (1991). To everything there is a season: Development in the context of the
lifespan. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.
Mercer, J.,& Gonsalves, S. (1992). Parental experience during treatment of very small
preterm infants: Implications for mourning and for parent-infant relationships.
Illness, Crisis, and Loss, 2, 70-73.
Gonsalves, S., & Mercer, J. (1993). Physiological correlates of painful stimulation in preterm infants. Clinical Journal of Pain, 9, 88-93.
Mercer, J. (1998). Infant development: A multidisciplinary introduction. Belmont, CA:
Mercer, J. (1999). ‘Psychological parenting” explained (letter). New Jersey Lawyer, July 12, 7.
Mercer, J. (2000/2001). Letter. Zero to Three, 21(3), 39.
Mercer, J. (2001). Warning: Are you aware of “holding therapy?” (letter). Pediatrics, 107, 1498.
Mercer, J. (2001). “Attachment therapy” using deliberate restraint: An object lesson on the identification of unvalidated treatments. Journal of Child and Adolescent
Psychiatric Nursing, 14(3), 105-114. This paper is posted at
with permission of the publisher to the Child and Adolescent Bipolar
Mercer, J. (2002). Surrogate motherhood. In
N. Salkind (Ed.),
(pp. 399). New York: Macmillan Reference USA.
Mercer, J. (2002). Child psychotherapy involving physical restraint: Techniques used in four approaches. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 19(4), 303-314.
Kennedy, S.S., Mercer, J., Mohr, W., & Huffine, C.W. (2002). Snake oil, ethics, and the First Amendment: What’s a profession to do? American Journal of
Orthopsychiatry, 72(1), 5-15.
Mercer, J. (2002). Attachment therapy: A treatment without empirical support. Scientific
Review of Mental Health Practice, 1(2), 9-16. Reprinted in S.O. Lilienfeld, J. Ruscio, & S.J. Lynn (Eds.), Navigating the mindfield: A user’s guide to distinguishing science from pseudoscience (pp. 435-453). Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.
Mercer, J. (2002). The difficulties of double blinding (letter). Science, 297, 2208.
Mercer, J. (2002) Attachment therapy. In M.Shermer (Ed.), The Skeptic Encyclopedia of
Pseudoscience (pp. 43-47) .Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.
Mercer, J., & Rosa, L. (2002). Letter on Attachment Therapy. New Jersey School
Psychologist, 24 (8), 16-18.
Mercer, J., Sarner, L., & Rosa, L. (2003). Attachment therapy on trial: The torture
and death of Candace Newmaker. Westport, CT: Praeger. (see also reviews in Scientific American, PsycCritique, Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice).
Mercer, J. (2003). Letter to the editor. APSAC Advisor,15(3), 19.
Mercer, J. (2003) Attachment therapy and adopted children: A caution. Readers’
Forum. Contemporary Pediatrics, 20(10), 41.
Mercer, J. (2003). Violent therapies: The rationale behind a potentially harmful child psychotherapy and its acceptance by parents. Scientific Review of Mental Health
Practice, 2(1), 27-37.
Mercer, J. (2003). Media Watch: Radio and television programs approve of Coercive Restraint Therapies. Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, 2(2).
Mercer, J. (2004). The dangers of Attachment Therapy: Parent education needed.
Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior Letter, 20(10), 1, 6-7.
Mercer, J. (2005). Bubbles, bottles, baby talk, and basketty. Early Childhood Health Link
(Newsletter of Healthy Child Care New Jersey), 4(1), 1-2.
Mercer, J. (2005). Coercive Restraint Therapies: A dangerous alternative mental health intervention. Medscape General Medicine, 7(3). (see also letters in subsequent issue). http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/508956.
Mercer, J. (2006). Understanding attachment: Parenthood, child care, and emotional development. Westport, CT: Praeger.
Mercer, J. (2006). IEPs and Reactive Attachment Disorder: Recognizing and addressing misinformation. Scope (Newsletter of the Washington State Association of School Psychologists), 28(3), 2-6.
Mercer, J., Misbach, A., Pennington, R., & Rosa, L. (2006). Letter to the editor (age regression definition). Child Maltreatment, 11, 378.
Mercer, J. (2007). Behaving yourself: Moral development in the secular family. In D..McGowan (Ed.), Parenting beyond belief (pp. 104-112). New York: Amacom Books.
Mercer, J., & Pignotti, M. (2007). Letter to the editor (neurofeedback research critique). International Journal of Behavioral and Consultation Therapy, 3 (2), 324-325
Pignotti, M., & Mercer, J. (2007). Holding Therapy and Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy are not supported, acceptable social work interventions: A systematic research synthesis revisited. Research on Social Work Practice,17 (4), 513-519.
Mercer, J. (2007). Systematic child maltreatment: Connections with unconventional parent and professional education. Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice Advocate (Division 37 of APA), 30 (2), pp.5-6.
Mercer, J. ( 2007).Media Watch: Wikipedia and "open source" mental health information. Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice. 5(1), 88-92.
Mercer, J. (2007) Destructive trends in alternative infant mental health approaches. Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, 5(2), 44-58.
Mercer, J., & Pignotti, M. (2007). Shortcuts cause errors in Systematic Research Syntheses: Rethinking evaluation of mental health interventions. Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, 5 (2), 59-77.
Mercer, J. (2008). Minding controls in curriculum study (letter). Science, 319, 1184.
Mercer, J. (2009).Child Development: Myths and Misunderstandings.Los Angeles,CA: Sage.
Mercer, J., Pennington, R.S., Pignotti, M., & Rosa, L. (2010). Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy is not "evidence-based": Comments in response to Becker-Weidman and Hughes (2009). Child and Family Social Work, 15, 1-5. http://www.wiley.com/bw/journal.asp?ref=1356-7500 . DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2206.2009.00609.x.
Mercer, J. (2009). Child custody evaluations, attachment theory, and an attachment measure: The science remains limited. Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, 7(1), 37-54.
Mercer, J. (2010). Themes and variations in development: Can nanny-bots act like human caregivers? Interaction Studies, 11(2), 233-237.
Mercer, J. (2011). Attachment theory and its vicissitudes: Toward an updated theory. Theory and Psychology, 21, 25-45.
Mercer, J. (2011). The concept of psychological regression: Metaphors, mapping, Queen Square, and Tavistock Square. History of Psychology,14, 174-196.
Mercer, J. (2011). Some aspects of CAM mental health interventions: Regression, recapitulation, and “secret sympathies”. Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, 8, 36-55.
Mercer, J. (2011). Book review: Rachel Stryker’s (2010) The road to Evergreen. Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, 8, 69-74.
Mercer.J. (2011). Martial arts research: Weak evidence. (Letter). Science, 334, 310-311.
Mercer, J. (2012). Reply to Sudbery, Shardlow, and Huntington: Holding therapy. British Journal of Social Work, 42, 556-559 . DOI: 10.1093/bjsw.bcr078.
Mercer, J. (2013). Child development: Myths and misunderstandings, 2nd ed. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.
Mercer, J., (2013). Deliverance, demonic possession, and mental illness: Some considerations for mental health professionals. Mental Health, Religion, and Culture 16(6), 596-611. DOI:10.1080.13674676.2012.707272.
Mercer, J. (2013). Attachment in children and adolescents. (Childhood Studies section). H. Montgomery (Ed.), Oxford Bibliographies Online. www.oxfordbibliographies.com.
Mercer, J. (2013). Holding Therapy in Britain: Historical background, recent events, and ethical concerns. Adoption & Fostering, 37(2), 144-156.
Mercer, J. (2013). Holding therapy: A harmful alternative mental health intervention. Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies, 18(2), 70-76.
Mercer, J. (2013). Giving parents information about Reactive Attachment Disorder: Some problems. Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior Letter, 29 (8), 1, 6-7.
Mercer, J. (2014). International concerns about Holding Therapy. Research on Social Work Practice, 24(2), 188-191.
Mercer, J. (2014). Children in institutions. (Letter). Zero to Three, 34(4), 4.
Mercer, J. (2014). Examining Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy as a treatment for adopted and foster children. Research on Social Work Practice, 24, 715-724. Doi:10.11771049731513513516803.
Mercer, J., ( 2014). Alternative psychotherapies: Evaluating unconventional mental health treatments. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
[Review: Thyer, B. (2015). Playing whack-a-mole with pseudoscientific psychotherapies. PsycCritiques, 60(28), Article 5.]
Mercer, J. (2014). Parenting: Section deserves a scolding (LTE). Science, 345(6204), 1571.
Mercer, J. (2015). Attachment therapy. In S.O. Lilienfeld, S.J. Lynn, & J.M. Lohr (Eds.), Science and pseudoscience in clinical psychology (2nd edition) (pp. 466-499). New York: Guilford.
Mercer, J. (2015). Attachment therapies. In R. Cautin & S.O. Lilienfeld (Eds.), Encyclopedia of clinical psychology. New York: Wiley-Blackwell.
Mercer, J. (2015). Controversial therapies. In R. Cautin & S.O.Lilienfeld (Eds.), Encyclopedia of clinical psychology. New York:Wiley-Blackwell.
Mercer, J. (2015). Thinking critically about child development: Examining myths and misunderstandings ( 3rd ed. of Child development: Myths and misunderstandings).
Los Angeles, CA: Sage.
Mercer, J. (2015). Revisiting an article about Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy: The life cycle of a “woozle”. Child and Adolescent Social Work, 32(5), 397-404.
Mercer, J. (2015), Examining Circle of Security: A review of research and theory. Research on Social Work Practice, 25(3), 382-392.
Mercer, J. (2017). Evidence of potentially harmful psychological treatments for children and adolescents. Child and Adolescent Social Work, 34, 107-125.. DOI: 1007/s10560-016-0480-2. Available at https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10560-016-0480-2?sap-outbound-id=15F8540F330C2FDCFB43493B1AD91F0D8FA120D8&utm_source=SAPHybris&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=3068&utm_term=CtW_Authors___DA-ZIC_DC_EMAIL_STAR-DC_PERSONALIZATION03&utm_content=EN
Mercer, J. (2017). Examining DIR/Floortime as a treatment for children with autism spectrum disorders. Research on Social Work Practice, 25(5),625-637.
Mercer, J. (2017). Conventional and unconventional perspectives on attachment and attachment problems: Comparisons and implications, 2006-2016. Child and Adolescent Social Work. http://rdcu.be/u2u2.
Mercer, J. (2018). Child development: Concepts and theories. London: Sage.
Mercer, J., Hupp, S., & Jewell, J. (2019). Thinking critically about child development (4th edition). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.
Mercer, J. (2019). Are parental alienation treatments safe and effective for children and adolescents? Journal of Child Custody. DOI: 10.1080/15379418.2018.1557578
Mercer, J. (2019). Chto takoe privyazannost? Ehmocionalnoe razvitie, roditelstvo, uhod za detmi. Translation of Understanding attachment. Moscow: Cogito-Centre, 2019.
Mercer, J. (2019). Response to Comments on "Conventional and Unconventional Perspectives on Attachment and Attachment Problems: Comparisons and Implications, 2006-2016." Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal. DOI: 10.1007/s10560-019-00608-9
Hupp, S., Mercer, J., Thyer, B., & Pignotti, M. (2019). Critical thinking about psychotherapy. In
S. Hupp (Ed.), Pseudoscience in child and adolescent psychotherapy (pp. 1-13).
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Mercer, J. (2019). Trauma and attachment. In S. Hupp (Ed.), Pseudoscience in child and
adolescent psychotherapy (pp. 172-188). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
UNPUBLISHED/ IN PREPARATION:
Lester, G. (1968). Some investigations of the audiogyral illusion. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis,
. Brandeis University
Mercer, J. (1993) The successful single parent. Unpublished book-length ms.
Mercer, J. The developing child in
changing times: Infancy through adolescence Unpublished book-length ms.
Invited comments on the New Jersey Children’s Initiative proposal (
March 10, 2000);
with Gerard Costa and Elaine Herzog.
Invited comments on the U.S. Bright Futures children’s mental health proposal (July 5, 2000); with Gerard Costa.
Mercer, J. (2000). Notes on Attachment Therapy: Relevant Research and Theory. Prepared for use by the prosecution in the trial of Connell Watkins, Colorado, April 2001.
Sarner, L., & Mercer, J. (2003). Statement to Human Resources Subcommittee of House Ways and Means Committee. http:// waysandmeans.house.gov/hearings.asp?formmode+view&id+1342.
Mercer, J. (January, 2005). Expert witness report. State of Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing. Case number 2002-223.
Mercer, J. (April, 2005). Expert witness report. Child custody case, Middlesex Family Court, New Brunswick, NJ.
Mercer, J. (October, 2006). Expert witness report. Child custody case,
. Pasco County, Florida
Mercer, J. ( Associate editor; in production). Encyclopedia of Child and Adolescent Development. New York: Wiley-Blackwell. (S. Hupp & J. Jewell, Eds.)
Mercer, J. (in preproduction). Attachment research. In S.Hupp & J.Jewell (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Child and Adolescent Development. New York: Wiley-Blackwell.
Mercer, J. (in production). Perinatal mood disorders. In S.Hupp & J.Jewell (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Child and Adolescent Development. New York: Wiley-Blackwell.
BLOGS AND OTHER INTERNET MATERIALS:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/161745967794736/ Psychology Continuing Education Watch
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIa27ptA3WQ&feature=youtu.be (article summary)
Remarks to Russian psychology conference, presented by Dr. Michael Ivanov (2016): https://vimeo.com/159317432
“Attachment therapies and associated parenting techniques.” www.scienceinmedicine.org/policy/papers/AttachmentTherapy.pdf.
“Critical thinking and the mastery of child development concepts.” www.thelizlibrary.org/liz/critical-thinking.html.
Various presentations on child development and parenting issues to parent groups and
training workshops, including CASA.
“Law, policy, and attachment issues”; presentation at the Second Annual Conference on Attachment of the New Jersey Psychological Association. June 9, 2000, Newark, NJ (Social work CE units).
“Custody changes and their effect on children’s development”; presentation at New Jersey State Child Placement Advisory Council conference, April, 2001 (Social work CE units).
“Bad language: How the professions confuse each other with words,” welcoming address at conference on Attachment, New Jersey Association for Infant Mental Health,
Piscataway, NJ, April, 2002 (Social work CE units).
“That cranky, crying baby”; presentation at National Association for Education of Young Children Conference on Health in Child Care, Princeton, NJ, May, 2002; repeated May, 2003, May, 2004.
“Warning Signals: When parents consider unusual mental health treatments for their children”; presentation at Third Annual Multicultural Health Conference, Richard Stockton College, Pomona, NJ, Sept. 2002.
“Misuse and abuse of attachment theory”; keynote speech at 2002 Annual Meeting, New Jersey Association for Infant Mental Health, Piscataway, NJ, Nov. 2002.
“Attachment Therapy: Science adversaries appeal to scientific evidence.” Institute of Contemporary British History conference, “Science, Its Advocates and Adversaries”, London, July 7-9, 2003.
“Analyzing Attachment Therapy”, at “Right From the Start: Supporting the Earliest Relationships and their Impact on Later Years,” professional conference presented by Youth Consultation Services Institute for Infant and Preschool Mental Health, Newark, Sept. 24-25, 2003 (continuing professional education credit-bearing).
“Principles of Infant Mental Health”, at “What Does Infant Mental Health Mean to Me?”, professional conference sponsored by New Jersey Association for Infant Mental Health, Gateway Maternal-Child Health Consortium, Northwest Maternal-Child Health Consortium, Piscataway, NJ, Nov. 13, 2003 (continuing professional education credit- bearing).
“Attachment and Attachment Therapy: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”, at annual meeting, Gateway Maternal-Child Health Consortium. East Orange, NJ, March 25, 2004 (Continuing professional education credit).
“Attachment.” Annual conference of New Jersey Association for Education of Young Children, East Brunswick, NJ, Oct. 16, 2004 (continuing professional education
Discussion of Attachment Therapy. “All in the Mind”, Australian Broadcasting Company, Dec. 18, 2004. Transcript available at http://abc.net.au/rn/science/mind.
“Attachment: Social and Emotional Development from Birth to Preschool.” Conference of Coalition of Infant and Toddler Educators, East Brunswick, NJ, March 18, 2005.
“Attachment Therapy: Concerns on Unvalidated Treatments.” Institute for Infant and Preschool Mental Health Didactic Series, Youth Consultation Service, East Orange, NJ, May 12, 2005.
"Violent therapies with children: History and theory.” 9th International Family Violence Research Conference, Portsmouth, NH, July 11, 2005.
Invited state delegate and
presenter, Infant Mental Health Systems Development Summit conference,
sponsored by Mailman Foundation/Zero to Three. New Jersey ,
Sept. 22-24, 2005. Washington DC
New Jersey Perinatal Mood Disorders training program presentations, 2005-2006.
“Dangerous therapies”, with Alan Misbach. LCSW. Independent Educational Consultants Association conference,
, Nov. 14, 2005. Philadelphia
"Attachment Therapy". Institute for Infant and Preschool Mental Health Didactic Series, Youth Consultation Service, East Orange, NJ, April 27, 2006.
"Attachment Therapy" comments, Paula Zahn show, CNN, Nov. 14, 2006.
"Attachment Therapy" comments, Court TV, Nov. 27, 2006.
"Understanding attachment." Delaware Valley Group, WAIMH.
Dec. 1, 2006.
"Strategies for picky eaters." Jan 31, 2007, NJ WIC training, Ewing, NJ.
"Just the facts, ma'am: Asking and answering the right questions about evidence-based treatment."
Association for Infant Mental Health, Florida Ft.
Panel on secular parenting, moderated by Dale McGowan. Atheist
Sept. 29, 2007. Arlington, VA
"Circumstantial Evidence: Evaluating Design and Details of Outcome Research" (poster presentation). Dec. 1, 2007. Zero to Three National Training Institute, Orlando, Florida.
"Theory of Mind: A New Approach to Attachment." Conference of Coalition of Infant and Toddler Educators, New Brunswick, NJ, March 14, 2008.
"Novel Unsupported Therapies: Pseudoscientific and Cult-like". With Monica Pignotti and James Herbert. International Cultic Studies Association conference, Philadelphia, June 27, 2008.
"Attachment Theory, Evidence-based Practice, and Rogue Therapies: Using and Misusing the Concept of Attachment." With R.S. Pennington, L. Rosa, and L. Sarner. Wisconsin School Psychologists Association conference, LaCrosse, WI, Oct. 29, 2008.
"Are There Research-based Child Custody Evaluations? An Ongoing Case and an Ongoing Discussion." Annual Conference,
for Infant Mental Health, Dec. 12, 2008, North Brunswick, NJ. New Jersey
“A Problematic Parenting Pattern Associated With Child Deaths.” Eastern Psychological Association, March7, 2009, Pittsburgh, PA.
“Personalities and Power Struggles: Discipline, Temperament, and Attachment.” Coalition of Infant and Toddler Educators Annual Conference, March 14, 2009, Somerset, NJ.
“Don’t Be So [Un]critical! Using Critical Thinking to Foster Mastery of Child development Concepts.” Developmental Science Teaching Institute, Society for Research in Child Development, April 1, 2009, Denver, CO.
“Psychological Concepts and Measures in the Family Court”. Judicial Orientation, Essex Vicinage (NJ). Princeton, NJ, Oct. 2, 2009. (With Michelle DeKlyen, Ph.D.)
“Are There Research-Based Child Custody Evaluations?”. Conference on Infants and Children in the Courts, sponsored by Youth Consultation Service and NJAIMH; Clara Maass Medical Center, Belleville, NJ, March 19, 2010.
“Unconventional Psychotherapies: Some Questions About Their History.” Eastern Psychological Association, March 11, 2011, Cambridge, MA.
“Myths and Misunderstandings.” Conference of the Delaware Valley Group of the World Association for Infant Mental Health, Feb. 3, 2012, Philadelphia, PA.
Comments on Attachment Therapy and treatment of Russian adoptees. “Life with Mikhail Zelensky”, Rossiya-1 TV, Feb. 21, 2013.
“Fetal Psychology in Psychohistory.” Eastern Psychological Association, March 2, 2013, New York.
“Jirina Prekopova’s holding therapy: Scientifically founded or otherwise?” Conference of the International Working Group on Abuse in Child Psychotherapy, April 20, 2013, London.
“ ‘Nancy Thomas parenting’ in the U.S. and Russia: Another part of the holding therapy problem.” With Yulia Massino. Conference of the International Working Group on Abuse in Child Psychotherapy, April 20, 2013, London.
Testimony on “conversion therapy” bill, New Jersey State Assembly committee, June, 2013, Trenton.
“Evidence-based treatment versus alternative psychotherapies.” APLA (Associace pomahajic lidem s autismem; Czech division of Autism Europe), October 17, 2013, Prague, CR.
“What are holding therapies?” APLA, October 19, 2013, Samechov, CR.
“About attachment”. PA-IMH breakfast group, Oct. 3, 2014, Philadelphia, PA. APA CEUs given.
“Systematic misunderstandings about attachment. Nov. 20, 2014, ABCT, Philadelphia, PA. Preconference, “Social Learning”.
“Legislation to prohibit potentially harmful psychotherapies for children: Three cases.” Poster presentation, APA, Toronto, 2015.
“Challenges of disseminating evidence-based material through the Web.” . Symposium: The Role of Technology in Disseminating Psychology. APA, Toronto, 2015.
“Born that way! The role of temperament”. PA-IMH breakfast group, Oct. 2, 2015.
“Temperament.” Philadelphia School for the Deaf, Jan. 27, 2016.
“Evaluating mental health interventions on Internet registries.” PA-IMH breakfast group, Sept. 9, 2016 (2 CEs).
“Internet registries and clearinghouses: Evaluation of mental health interventions for children.” NCCCP, Lawrence, KS, Sept. 23, 2016.
“Modern myths and misperceptions: Parental Alienation”. With Steve Hupp. ABCT Social Learning and the Family Preconference. New York, Oct. 26, 2016.
“Changing concepts of attachment”. PA-IMH breakfast group, April 7, 2017 (2 CEs).
“Potentially harmful psychotherapies for children: How not to be addicted to pseudoscience and popular beliefs.” Conference on Modern Challenges: Psychology of Addictions, sponsored by Moscow Psychoanalytic Institute and PSYCHOLOGIES, Moscow, Feb 10, 2018. (Presentation by Skype.) Available at https://yadi.sk/i/fMGcDn_e3TS5fZ.
“Pseudoscience and Potentially Harmful Treatments for Children.” Workshop for College of Educational and Developmental Psychologists, Hobart, Tasmania, May 9, 2018. 4 CE credits, Australian Psychological Society.
“A pattern of systematic abuse associated with beliefs and instruction.” Poster with Alan Misbach. APSAC Colloquium, New Orleans. June 14, 2018.
“Family engagement, trauma, and attachment. “ Presented to PAIMH groups; Philadelphia, Sept. 7, 2018, Bethlehem PA, Sept. 14, 2018. (meets criteria for IMH endorsement credit)
Panelist, “A duty to warn? A discussion of potentially harmful therapies.” ABCT conference, Nov. 17, 2018, Washington, DC. Amanda Jensen-Doss, moderator.
“Examining the unexamined belief: Claim, ground, warrant, and critical thinking about child development.” Round table with Steve Hupp. Society for Research in Child Development
Teaching Institute, Baltimore, March 20, 2019.