Recommendations for best practice in response to parental alienation: findings from a systematic review

Kate Templer, Mandy Matthewson, Janet Haines, Georgina Cox

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


This study aimed to systematically review the literature pertaining to parental alienation to determine best practice for therapists and legal practitioners. Medline, Embase, and PsycINFO academic databases, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and conference abstracts were searched. Included articles were peer reviewed journal articles or books published in English pertaining to a psychological or legal intervention for parental alienation. Ten articles were included in the review. It was found that changes in custodial or residential arrangements in favour of the targeted parent are effective in ameliorating parental alienation. Specialized family therapy addressing the alienation is effective in restoring family relationships and family functioning. A coordinated approach from therapists and legal practitioners is important in resolving parental alienation. Practitioner points: Parental alienation requires legal and therapeutic management to enhance family functioning Awarding primary parental responsibility to the targeted parent and providing specialized family therapy is effective in ameliorating parental alienation A specialized form of systemic family therapy for parental alienation can improve family functioning and prevent further parental alienation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-122
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Family Therapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • alienated parent
  • custody
  • intervention
  • parental alienation
  • residency
  • restorative

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