Liz’s article, “Why ‘Therapeutic Jurisprudence’ Must Be — and Will Be — Eliminated From Our Family Courts”, published in 13 Domestic Violence Report 65 (2008) is available at http://www.florida-attorneys-at-law.com/lawyer/articles.htm
The Cross-Referral PAS Relationships;
featuring Joe Goldberg aka Bernard Joseph Goldberg
Below my comments is an example of a solicitation/marketing letter by a PAS purveyor (the links and bold emphasis have been added, and the lawyer’s name deleted, but the text otherwise is intact.) This is one way garbage put out by the MHP crowd in furtherance of unscientific therapeutic jurisprudence has permeated the family courts and made its way into the public discourse.
While Joseph Goldberg, the letter’s author (below), does not appear to be a licensed psychologist or expert of any legitimate kind, he is far from the only one doing this. A number of father’s rights types, such as Dean Tong and Ken Pangborn have managed to convince lawyers as well as litigants to work with them as “medical legal consultants” or “forensic experts” (whatever that means — some kind of glorified paralegal.) In addition, licensed psychs and other MHPs also do this same thing, soliciting business as “coaches” and “consultants” as well as appointments as experts for the court.
The problem permeates the entire industry of therapeutic jurisprudence. It’s particularly egregious in the area of the false-acc/abusers’ defense lobbies, many of whom have an odd and interesting overlap with the “parental alienation syndrome” crowd, which seems to involve substantially the same motley activist network of PAS ringleaders, functional disciples of Richard A. Gardner. The PAS group includes psychs, lawyers, and the father’s rights forensic paralegal types.
PAS debunked in Australia; psych Wrigley disciplined for incompetent behaviorOne of the psychologists listed below, Barry Brody of Miami (“Forensic Family Services” http://www.drbarrybrody.com/forensicfamilyservices.html), regularly has sent out a “parental alienation” newsletter to members of the Florida Bar family law section (I haven’t received one in a while; perhaps he’s finally removed me from his mailing list, but if I get another one, I will scan it and upload it here). Brody as well as a number of more familiar names have chimed in to bless the nonsense of “hostile-aggressive parenting” which burst on the scene a couple of years ago to rehabilitate this discredited drivel. See the sister websites (same ownership) http://www.parental-alienation-awareness.com/ and http://www.hostile-aggressive-parenting.com/. These include an unhealthy mix of professionals, who, based on their permitting their names to be used this way, apparently support the promulgation of the unscientific crap. Although by no means exhaustive, it’s a convenient list of who to stay away from in child custody cases:
Richard Austin, R. Christopher Barden, Stephen Ceci, Douglas Darnall, Stephen Herman, Jayne Major, Daniel Rybicki, S. Richard Sauber (listed twice) , W. vonBoch-Galhau, Richard A Warshak, Michael Bone, L.F. Lowenstein, Reena Sommer, Jerry Brinegar, Katherine Andre, Ken Lewis, Catherine Swanson Cain, Monty Weinstein, Amy J. L. Baker, David Britton, Robert Evans, Debra Gordy, Christina McGhee, Harvey Shapiro (Elizabeth Loftus’s “investigator”), Jose Manuel Aguilar Cuenca, Theresa K. Cooke, Jeff Opperman, Remi Thivierge, Joe Goldberg, James J. Gross, Randy Kolin, Randy Rand, David Carico, Lawrence W. Daly, Charles D. Jamieson. [from http://www.parental-alienation-awareness.com/experts.asp accessed 01/01/08]
Notice in Goldberg’s letter, below, the trade-promotion claim that these cases are “difficult to resolve”. This is typical parenting evaluator propaganda — it increases the appearance of some kind of need for their “expertise”. Also note that not only does he make the ubiquitous misrepresentation that there is a disorder known as “parental alienation syndrome” but — and this is fraudulent — adds the embellishment that it is a medical disorder! (Who is infected? At its least implausible, PAS was a description of a relationship dynamic.)
There’s a big problem with this kind of thing that supersedes even the promotion of bogus parental alienation theories. The problem arises because most lawyers represent different clients taking different sides in different cases (sometimes the wife, sometimes the husband, sometimes the “good guy”, sometimes the “bad guy”, etc.). If Solicited Attorney runs up against Expert in another case, after they have established a “cross-referral professional relationship” and formal or informal “working partnership” (the formal kind is of dubious legal ethicity because of the inappropriate feeder of referrals in exchange for indirect compensation), and have “mutual” cases pending, Solicited will have a very difficult time shredding Expert or Expert’s testimony when that is required in another case, or filing a complaint against him, if necessary, because that would place Solicited’s other clients’ pending cases at risk.
In such cases, the lawyer will be tempted to rationalize to himself, as well as maintain the posture in the community at large, that Expert’s horsepuckey is scientifically valid, and pretend that lawyer in any event can safely buy into this because lawyer is not a “scientist”. Expert (who likely knows his spoutings are specious) also will know that Solicited is doing this, and thus has given clients less than competent representation (potentially damaging information to have against a lawyer).
But because it’s all ostensibly collegial, neither of them will admit to the bogus science, or what is going on, even to each other, and as people do, they both will maintain the pretext of belief in such things as the “medical disorder of parental alienation” or “the benefits of joint custody”, as well as the value of their memberships in the organizations that promote these make-work ideas.
It’s almost like unacknowledged blackmail. The lawyer who naively or purposefully steps down this path and goes along with this kind of thing (encouraged by the mixed-discipline organizations, such as the AFCC) in order to obtain referrals has sold his professional soul to the devil, literally. This is true whether the cross-referral relationship is with a licensed psychologist, or, as in this case, with a paralegal-type bird dog.
Deliberate relationships with expert witnesses such as the one sought in the below should be recognized as ethical violations and banned by state bar ethics rules. But the conflict of interest problems are inherent in the nature of the association and exist even when there is no explicit referral relationship — a reason for banning these people from the court system altogether. Ironically, it’s worse for the lawyers who are not ideologues, because they are more likely to advocate for different client perspectives. The repeated association of these “experts” into cases, however, any one of whom at any time and from time to time may show up on the wrong side of a given case, creates many of the same dilemmas that ordinary client conflict-of-interest issues do. This problem also applies to guardians ad litem, frequently a small group of lawyers or MHPs who are appointed by judges and placed over and over again in the same local group of lawyers’ cases, and who similarly opine and write reports that sometimes are on the right side and sometimes on the wrong side.
These people are witnesses in each case (or, in the case of GALs, sometimes even considered to be parties proper). They are not in fact “neutrals” (even if hired as such, once their reports are rendered, they are advocates for one or the other side, and they are never neutral when they are hired as a consultant-turned-testifying expert for one of the lawyers). Thus, at a point, they are, just as a party would be, pointedly in favor of one side and outcome, and overtly adverse to the position of the other party in a case.
They are not objective disinterested witnesses. They are not neutrals. They are not scientists. They are not immune from bias and self-interest (especially where favor is curried with judges and lawyers for future referrals), and especially where their professional trade organizations have lobbied for immunity and effectively protected them from oversight. They are not doing this because they “care about children”. They are not akin to a doctor who drew blood and put it under a microscope and testifies in court that yes, he saw the little amoebae or bacteria or whatever and made a diagnosis. (And the Goldbergs and Tongs are not even licensed, regulated professionals of ANY sort — not that licensed psychologists are much better.) If you don’t understand this, having spent your life immersed in this over-therapized infotainment pop-psychology advice-columnized big-pharma drug-pushing culture we live in: it’s time to get educated.
Not only are they witnesses, just like litigants and other interested, affiliated parties on one side or another of a case, but they are an especially dangerous kind of witness, because they appear in case after case after case. One lawyer may encounter the same expert in different cases in which the same fraudulent snake oil is sometimes favorable and sometimes disfavorable to the lawyer’s client. Expert may be taking a meritless position for the lawyer’s client in one case (which position the lawyer would like to bolster, being an advocate for the client), but show up in another case with the same meritless position that is against the lawyer’s client in that case. Or, Expert might be opining differently because after all, so much psychological opining and “theories” — er ideas — (these are not scientific theories) are unsubstantiable, unfalsifiable, unresearched nonsense. If Expert and a lawyer are in cahoots in various cases, the lawyer is placed into a conflict in the instant case, unable to zealously discredit Expert and do what is appropriate and necessary to protect his potentially harmed client in the instant case — even if the lawyer otherwise would be willing to sacrifice his own referral source or collegial association with Expert. Can’t do it.
Unlike lawyers in many other areas of practice, who may retain their clients for years, family lawyers typically need a steady stream of new one-shot clients. In addition, family lawyers also tend to work in smaller firms. So they value those who send them business. From what I’ve personally seen, I suspect that too many family lawyers, perhaps without recognizing or acknowledging the conflicts of interest that have caused their discomfort and unwillingness adequately to represent some of their clients, in fact have sacrificed these clients on the altar of maintaining their professional relationships, associations, and referral sources.
These people are not colleagues, however. They are case witnesses and participants.
Some lawyers admit to feeling burnout, but they’ve rationalized their unwillingness to zealously advocate for their clients, and their discomfort, as stemming from the “high conflict” created by unreasonable clients, or the high emotional toll the cases are taking on them. Others retain their enthusiasm by becoming ideologues, and taking only cases in which they will not encounter the conflicts (e.g. overwhelmingly their clients raise claims that the other parent is an alienator.) This conveniently furthers the propagation of the bad science.
The rest justify their lack of vigorous representation, and the coerced settlements they’ve foisted on some clients as concern for the best interests of children, or as the only reasonable settlement position, or as their ideological commitment to helping people to just get along (especially when the retainer has run out). They profess to themselves and everyone around a great affinity for mediation and therapy and collaborative resolution, and all manner of therapeutic jurisprudence in the interests of everyone, and similar specious posturing, encouraged in their self-delusion by a steady drip of MHP literature. This kind of thing is just not as pervasive in other areas of the law, no matter how heated the conflicts get, and it’s one substantial reason the public has such a generally dim view of the family courts and family lawyers.
Given that clients are entitled to their choice of attorneys, and are entitled to independent, unconflicted, attorneys (agents) who are committed to furthering their interests and goals (as the client, not the attorney, has defined them), the only viable solution is a disqualification of any GAL or forensic expert who previously has been associated in any case with either of the lawyers in that case, and the striking and nullification of all testimony and reports of that expert, no matter at what stage of a case the lawyer is hired. It also is time to substantially limit the use of forensic experts and GALs in family court altogether because for the most part, MHPs, including child custody evaluators and their related forensic offshoots, in fact are unneeded, unhelpful, and undesirable in the vast majority of child custody cases.
(And any judge who would let Joe “PAS is a medical disorder” Goldberg** testify as an expert in a case really should be removed from the bench for incompetence. Yes, I said that.)
**Joe Goldberg formerly was known as Bernard Joseph Goldberg. In his own Florida divorce case, Goldberg claimed that his ex-wife was “alienating” his teenage daughters, and even the psychs didn’t buy it — except, Goldberg urges us to mention, an evaluator in his case, Glenn Caddy, Ph.D. Not surprisingly, Caddy is listed as a speaker in and among some of the usual names in the PAS promotion set at a September 2008 “Canadian Symposium for Parental Alienation Syndrome” organized and promoted by Mr. Goldberg. See http://cspas.ca/speaker_profiles.shtml Dean Tong also is listed as a speaker at the event. That pretty much says it all. (That and that Mrs. Goldberg and her two poised and articulate daughters ultimately and fortuitously prevailed against the frivolous machinations.)
Examples of Goldberg’s approach to lawyers, financial advisors, vocational experts, and even domestic violence groups! More. This is not “medicine”, it’s marketing and money. Very dangerous, given Goldberg’s obvious promotional talents combined with his obsessive motivation stemming from his own failed attempts to control his ex-wife and children in his own divorce case. (Recent misguided Canadian courts apparently are being influenced, too, sending children for deprogramming “treatments” at Warshak “clinics” in the U.S. at unthinkably ridiculous expense. I could not call this merely a financial con because children and family affectional relationships — which should not in the first place be the province of government engineering — literally are being experimented on and at risk of being harmed. Judges, wake up!)
Below, he approaches a lawyer:
Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2007 18:24:00 EST
Subject: Re: Client Referral from Goldberg & Associates – Joe Goldberg
To: [Solicited Attorney]
Dear [Solicited Attorney]:
My name is Joe Goldberg. I am a Medical Legal Consultant specializing in Family Law cases that involve Parental Alienation and Parental Alienation Syndrome.
I found you listed in ACFLS ( Association of Certified Family Law Specialits ).
There are times I’m sure, when you’ve come across high conflict cases regarding Visitation, Custody and Parental Alienation. These cases are extremely difficult to resolve in the best interest of the child.
You may not know that Parental Alienation and Parental Alienation Syndrome, is both a medical disorder and a form of Child Abuse.
In many of the cases I am involved in, I refer a client to a new attorney.
I like the fact that you have the highest qualifications and I believe that you could assist us with legal representation.
I would like for us to get to know each other, a little better and I would also like to know if you would be interested in developing a cross-referral professional relationship on these type of cases?
Allow me to introduce you to our website, so you can learn more about me and my firm: http://www.ParentalAlienation.ca Presently we work on cases all over California.
We would also like to link websites with you.
Please let me know, if you’d be interested in a working partnership and if you would like to talk with me after the holidays.
Until then, I want to wish you a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season.
Below: Goldberg targeting — and contaminating — financial forensics with this specious rot by promising them $$$$ referrals…
Date: Sunday, May 18, 2008 2:30 AM
Subject: CDFA Assistance Needed – Please Call Joseph Goldberg /905-481-0367
To: [Solicited Financial Advisor]
Hello [Solicited Financial Advisor]:
My name is Joseph Goldberg and the name of my firm is Goldberg & Associates. We work with family law attorneys in divorce litigation and specifically on the topic of Parental Alienation Syndrome.
We have many clients that need CDFA Services. The clients we represent and local to you (although we have offices in FL, & ON.).
I would like to discuss an offer to refer my clients and their business to your firm. In fact, I would like to give you an opportunity to be our “Exclusive Affiliate” for all of our clients needing CDFA Services.
Due to the fact that I am the Founder of The Canadian Symposium For Parental Alienation Syndrome, ( CS-PAS ), my firm anticipates a significant increase in the number of clients that come to us for assistance, we want to prepare for that volume of business by having your help lined up in advance.
I assume that you did not know that Parental Alienation Syndrome is both a Medical Disorder and a widely recognized form of Child Abuse.
Please visit the website for CS-PAS so you’ll understand the importance of this event.
It would be greatly appreciated if we could get better acquainted on the phone. I would very much like to discuss our interest in the arrangement to work with you and your firm. Please call me at – Tel : 905-481-0367
Once again, I look forward to hearing from you soon !
And below: yet another marketing ploy, targeting vocational forensics — and with the promise of referrals, soliciting money from them!
[Saturday, June 28, 2008]
Hi [Solicited Vocational Forensic]
Please do me a favor and try and mail out a few packets of information about you and your firm so I can pass it along to our interested clients. If you can send it by Express Mail that would be appreciated. (Include your CV, Photos, Logos, etc.)
You can mail it to me at:
Goldberg & Associates
A7-1390 Major Mackenzie Drive East
Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada L4S 0A1
Also… I forgot to mention this but in reference to the one time Sponsorship Fee, if you want to make the payment with a credit card directly to CSPAS, they ;made it very simple and easy to do.
All you have to do is click on the hyperlink below: Click here: Canadian Symposium for Parental Alienation Syndrome
Then scroll down to the very bottom of the page and click on the button that says:
Once again, I look forward to doing business with you soon.
It was a pleasure getting to know you and I am very excited about this opportunity to work with you and your firm.
I’d like to itemize the details regarding your Exclusive Vendor Affiliation with G&A. We truly want to make this a successful and profitable arrangement for your company because we need your assistance for Vocational Evaluations
We are prepared to offer your firm all of the following benefits – all we seek in return is your support of the CS-PAS, (symposium) and a one time Sponsorship Fee in the amount of $750.00 ;
EXCLUSIVE VENDOR AFFILIATION BENEFITS
1. Your company will be our Exclusive Vendor for Vocational Evaluations in Texas
2. The Registration Fee for you to attend the symposium will be waived ($395.00)
3. The Fee to attend the Gala Banquet Dinner will be waived ($250.00)
4. Significant advertisements promoting your company will be posted on the CS-PAS website. The cost to design the ad will be paid for by the CS-PAS, it will be designed by an advertising agency. The value of the ad would normally cost $400.00, and the ad will be seen on ;www.cspas.ca
5. Significant advertisements promoting your company will also be posted on our website. The cost of the ad will be paid for by the CS-PAS, it will be designed by an advertising agency. The value of the ad would normally cost $400.00, and it will be seen online at http://www.parentalalienation.ca
We want to build a business relationship that will last for many years to come. It would be a great pleasure to work with you on these services.
Please Make Your Check Payable To:
CSPAS / Canadian Symposium
Please Mail It To:
CSPAS / Canadian Symposium
A7-1390 Major Mackenzie Drive East, Suite 127
Richmond Hill, Ontario L4S 0A1
Attn: Corporate Sponsors Dept.
Once again, I look forward to meeting you and doing business with your firm!
Below: Goldberg attempting to schnor the email subscriber list from a domestic violence group:
Subject: Announcement To Members from The CSPAS – Founder Joseph Goldberg
Date: Thursday, December 25, 2008, 1:44 AM
I am with The Canadian Symposium for Parental Alienation Syndrome, and my name is Joseph Goldberg. We would like to know if it is possible to obtain an opt-in email list of your members so we can send them a video clip of our upcoming conference at The Metro Toronto Convention Center March 27th through March 29th.
Since this is our First Annual Conference we hope you will allow us to use your email list solely for this purpose and at no time would your list be given out to any third parties. I am the Founder of the Conference, and I will take every measure to safeguard the usage of your email information.
We would also like to ask if your email name and address information is available in a CSV data format ? ( This way we can do a simple blast of the emails all at one time, or perhaps we could send you the video clip and you could send it out to all of your members for us ? ) Either way, The Canadian Symposium for Parental Alienation Syndrome would be forever grateful for your assistance.
Did you know that Parental Alienation Syndrome ( P.A.S. ), is a recognized form of child abuse ?
Once again, thank you for giving us this opportunity to inform your members with our promotional video clip of the conference.
Founder of The Canadian Symposium for Parental Alienation Syndrome
Below: Goldberg flattering psychologists and promising referrals:
Sent: 1/29/2009 6:07:32 P.M. Central Standard Time
Subj: Client Referral To Your Office – From G&A / JG
My name is Joseph Goldberg, and I’m with the C.S.P.A.S.
http://www.cspas.org I was looking online at a few different websites when I came across your information.
I’m trying to help some clients that live in close proximity to your office. My clients recently expressed a need for professional services that you can provide.
Are you presently meeting with and taking on new clients and if we wanted to refer these clients to you is that something that would be of interest?
All of the clients that I would refer, are local to your office and the main reason that I’m able to refer a potentially large number of new clients to you, is because we have public access to a database of experienced professionals who are affiliated with the CSPAS – Referral Service Center.
FYI, there are no charges of any kind in connection with the CSPAS – RSC.
The CSPAS provides assistance to adults and children who are dealing with problems that relate to “Parental Alienation.” We also try to encourage professional’s to enroll in at least a few lectures that offer CEU’s to assist them in working with the clients that we refer.
FYI …We have an upcoming conference on Parental Alienation this coming – March 27 – March 29th at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC). As Founder of the CSPAS – I’m very interested in supporting the work you do, and I believe we can, and should help each other on an on going basis. I assume that you are acquainted with the fact that Parental Alienation and Parental Alienation Syndrome ( P.A.S. ), is a widely recognized form of child abuse.
Please let me know if you’re interested in taking on some new clients and our client referral services which can help you to expand the growth of your practice.
To stop receiving these emails please unsubscribe.
The Canadian Symposium For Parental Alienation Syndrome
A7 – 1390 Major Mackenzie Drive East, Suite 127
Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada L4S 0A1
Founder of The Canadian Symposium for Parental Alienation Syndrome
Dean Tong (another non-psychologist “forensic consultant”) was arrested 01/28/08 in Florida for domestic violence and witness tampering. Tong was accused in a prior marriage of child sexual abuse, which lead the former paramedic to create a business of, inter alia, helping guys accused of abuse beat the rap (although in recent years he apparently sought to gain legitimacy occasionally working for the “other side” too). His primary affiliations, however, appeared to be with the PAS purveyor crowd, a number of the individuals listed above, and other “it’s a false accusation and mom brainwashed the kid to make this up” defense lawyers and forensics such as Ralph Underwager. Lightning striking twice? More of these types: Steven Carlson, “the custody coach”, Ken Pangborn, and Allen Cowling. And of course the agenda’s Ph.D.s…
A side note on one reason parental alienation theory is so appealing to the family law therapeutic jurisprudence types, including not only the forensics but also the therapists, guardians ad litem, parenting coordinators, and supervised visitation and therapeutic visitation opportunists: when their ineffective make-believe, “reunification therapies” and similar ideas don’t work (probably because not a one is backed by any credible research or even anecdotally effective methodology), even if parental alienation wasn’t earlier raised in the case and abuse was founded, it provides the perfect alibi to give some schnookered judge who wants to know what happened. And so they just point the finger for all of the wasted time, money, and miserable mess they’ve made of the case at… the mother (usually), claiming “unconscious alienation” or “covert alienation”.