Victim of the Scam

If You Think This is Science, You are an Idiot: Amy Baker and the Parental Alienation Syndrome Cult

In Dr. Amy Baker, Dr. Richard Gardner, DSM-V, Parental Alienation, Parental Alienation Disorder, Parental Alienation Disorders, Parental Alienation Syndrome on February 14, 2010 at 11:06 am

As a scientist with an advanced degree, I am appalled to read this.  The “research” method used by Amy Baker is a joke, almost high school level attempt at shoddy research.  But you don’t have to have good research to sell books.  This is from Randi James, who comments on a thesis by Francoise T. Bessette.  This is an excellent treatise on the social construction of so-called parental alienation syndrome.  The thesis can be downloaded at the Liz Library.

Amy Baker and Parental Alienation Syndrome: Is This What Scientific Research Looks Like?

(emphasis mine)

In 2005, Amy Baker conducted a study of adults who self-identified as having been alienated from one of their parents during childhood. Thirty-eight adults (14 males and 24 females) were recruited by word of mouth and from over one hundred advertisements placed on the internet message boards for people who had been victims of parental alienation syndrome.

Through one hour semi-structured telephone interviews, Baker learned about the participants’ perceived relationship with their estranged parent. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using a content analysis program coding for “impact of the alienation on the participant” (Baker, 2005:292). All but seven of the alleged alienators were mothers. The findings showed that the alienation perceived by the participants negatively affected several areas of their adult lives and relationships. The participants reported high rates of low self-esteem/self-hatred, believing themselves unlovable because of the alienation from one parent, which they interpreted as rejection (2005:294). This self-hatred accounted for the guilt they felt because of the role they played in the alienation (2005:294). Over 70 percent revealed episodes of depression that they attributed to the separation from their alienated parent, and the lack of opportunity to mourn this loss while children (2005:296). Thirty-three percent of the participants had drug or alcohol addictions that they associated with their childhood circumstances. Some of these participants confessed to having a conflicted relationship with their alienating parent during their teen years because of their mental manipulation; they had turned to drugs and alcohol as an escape (2005:297-298). Sixteen people talked of their difficulties trusting others as well as themselves and of falling into the same divorcing and/or alienating pattern as their parents (2005:294). Sixty-six percent of the participants were divorced and of the twenty-eight who were parents, half were alienated from their own children (2005:300). All the participants believed they had been victims of parental alienation syndrome.

Baker qualifies her study by stating it represents only a fraction of the data collected and that many of the 38 subjects reported having positive life experiences not included in her results. She only reported negative outcomes, presenting the subjects as unhappy, maladjusted individuals, and did not address possible confounding variables that could account for her results such as poverty and lack of opportunities. Instead, she presents the results as a package combining all the participants’ responses together under different headings such as “low self-esteem”, depression, and drug/alcohol problems, referring to the number of participants in the various categories as “some” or “many”. Baker based her study on the premise that parental alienation syndrome was a conclusive element in her subjects’ lives and drew on Gardner’s theory to analyze their retrospective stories. She does not volunteer the list of questions asked during the interviews and little information is provided regarding the content analysis of the transcripts. She does not offer any scale of reference to help the reader judge the extent of the impact on the subjects. The reader is expected to accept the author’s conclusions as “true”.


You will find Dr. Amy Baker across the internet, mainly on news publications that touch on, or allude to, parental alienation syndrome (see Every Child Has Parental Alienation Syndrome). She promotes her book heavily while expressing sympathy for victims…of PAS. She is touted as a major authority on the subject matter. With all the education she has received, you’d think that she recognize the lack of science in her “research.”

In order for adults to self-identify with the concept of parental alienation syndrome, you’d have to assume they had some knowledge of what the term means.

  • Who provided the definition to them?
  • What did that definition consist of?

This is the first error of parental alienation syndrome: You cannot use the definition of the syndrome to diagnose the syndrome. This is circular reasoning. (ie, with a stomach ucler: the patient describes the symptoms, the practitioner observes the signs through testing measures, the diagnosis is then given based on the evidence. The practitioner does not tell the patient what constitutes an ulcer, and then have the patient verify that THOSE particular symptoms are present, and then confirm the diagnosis.)

Furthermore, it would be unwise to have an adult make a judgement about a situation that occurred during childhood because that adult is able to process and rationalize things in a different manner, which will be influenced by other life circumstances that may or may not be revealed to the researcher. Also, hindsight is 20/20, and some adults may be looking for an escape or excuse for behaviors for which they are indeed responsible. Their current perception of what once existed is not necessarily proof that it did [exist].

  • How can this adult know the difference between a protective parent that alienated, and a malicious parent that is alienated unless all truth be known about what occured in the past?
  • And how do you verify this without including the parents themselves?

This is another error of parental alienation syndrome: it is based on the victim’s (just like the target parent) perception (although the victim of PAS is said to be the child) of what has occurred.

Is this what scientific research looks like?

  1. First Edition : Private Investigative report re credentials of corrupt fraud Janelle Burrill Sacramento LCSW 16216.

    Here are some findings re Burrills marketing of certain credentials. So who is Janelle Burrill that practices at 915 University Avenue; Sacramento, California 95825; (916) 646-6500; Fax (916) 646-1176. Janelle Burrill letterheads, business cards, curriculum vitae say the following



    Board Certified Diplomate

    What do you think ? Most of us would think – Wow! We have a super educated knowledgeable doctor , expert in psychology, law and or medicine that has the blessing of all credentialing bodies in the world.

    Janelle Burrill is classic example of false advertisement and fraudulent marketing.

    Lets look at the all the letters stuck in front and back of Janelle Burrill – here are the facts :

    1. “Board Certified Diplomate” – Sounds like Burrill took a big board exam run by a state or a federal agency, got her credentials verified and got an award of the Diplomate. Right?

    Wrong : Burrill did not pass any exam, she pays $115/yr to the association to keep this title. This so called certification is issued by an association that is called American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work (ABE), It is a not a state or a government agency, it is an association – sort of a club of other Clinical Social Workers.

    They are based at the following address 27 Congress Street, Suite 501, Salem, MA 01970

    414 First Street East, Suite 3, Sonoma, CA 95476

    To get this so called certificate every year from this friendly club you have to do the following – practice for ~ 300 hours/yr, maintain State Licensure in good standing, Ethical practice, 20 Hours of Continuing Education, Payment of $115/yr. Like most associations rooting for their kind – ABE cares about their revenue and is blind to the fraud perpetuated by Janelle Burrill . They have no idea that the California Board of Behavioral Sciences has dozens of complaints on Burrill and she has been under active investigation by DCA DOI.

    Lets educate ABE – call or send a copy of your BBS complaint and any other factual evidence of Burrills fraud to Mr Robert A. Booth, Jr. Executive Director. Center for Clinical Social Work/ABE

    Shetland Park. 27 Congress St. #501. Salem, MA 01970 Tel : 978-740-5394.

    Once BBS revokes Burrills LCSW license, “Board Certified Diplomate” will vaporize. It is not a diploma or a certificate that you keep when you graduate from a school , university or board.

    2. J.D. – Sounds like Burrill is a lawyer and can practice law in the state of California. She knows family law and understands how to address the best interest of children and families. Right?

    Wrong : Burrill failed the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination and the California Bar Examination multiple times. She is not licensed to practice law anywhere – let alone in California. Our search did not find her at the California Bar – . Her attorney husband John Michael O’Donnell – #142906 who sends us the threats to gag shows as licensed.

    3. Dr of Psychology – Burrill claims to be an expert in psychology – she has determined and diagnosed many of her victims as psychotic, suffering from bi-polar disorders and doles out DSM-V diagnosis and prescribes psychiatric medicine as candies after talking to them for a few minutes. With a Doctor title in front of her name – you are convinced she is a doctor of psychology right?

    Wrong : We talked to the Board of psychology and found out that she failed the board exam multiple times. She has been trying to get licenced for the last three years and failed miserably. The only assistant licence she had was terminated in 2006. Our search found out her fraud$LCEV2.ActionQuery

    Licensee Name: BURRILL-O’DONNELL JANELLE L ; PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSISTANT License Number: PSB30483 ; REGISTRATION TERMINATED ; Expiration Date: July 22, 2006 ; Issue Date: March 18, 2004 ; Address: 2951 FULTON AVE. ; City: SACRAMENTO ; State: CA ; Zip: 95821 ; County: SACRAMENTO ; Actions: No

    4. LCSW – Burrill is licensed by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences as a Clinical social worker LCS 16216. Once the BBS investigation is complete we are confident that justice will prevail and Burrill’s LCSW will be revoked.

    5. PhD and the “Dr” in Burrill – Burrill attaches a Dr title representing herself as an expert. A PhD holder of some kind. She asserted herself to us as Doctor of psychology – We must worship this fraudulent doctor Right?

    Wrong : Burrill purchased a PhD from an online / correspondence university called North Central University . This is what it takes to buy a PhD from north Central University.

    The requirements are very easy – The PhD online / correspondence degree requires 51 graduate semester credits including 24 semester credits in dissertation preparation. No real college would award a masters degree for under 50 credits. At NCU you can do your own stuff in correspondence at $350/credit, basically buy your online degree for under $17,000.

    No real or proper accredited university would dole out a doctorate with 50 credits of do your own courses over the internet. Her dissertation cannot even be used as toilet paper and she walks around as a Doctor and markets herself as a super expert in psychology.

    It’s a sham of a PhD. No real university would even consider this nonsense to award any degree. The investigators are trying to correspond with Heather fenderick the dean of this correspondence school and will publish details in the second edition of this report. . There is no substance or quality.

    Make your own assessment of the genuine fraud Janelle Burrill – A fake online degree, failed California Bar exam with no license to practice law anywhere, failed Board of psychology exam and no license to practice psychology and a social worker membership document. Burrill is not just an incompetent fraud she suffers from serious inferiority complex

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