Posts Tagged ‘Psychiatrist’

The return! (Auto-Biography)

August 16, 2015

While the three years in Holland are worthy of a book-tome on its own, I have to move on. Time is of the essence. Having arrived at seventy-five since the  seventh of August this year, and with at least another forty years to record, I must move on from the nineteen- seventies. A derailment is a possibility! Still, I must remain sanguine and take heart from the statistics that tell me there is an eighty percent chance of turning eighty- five for those that are in good health at seventy- five. However the odds of turning ninety-five at eighty-five years of age are less cheerful.

A few art shows followed the primary school triptych commission. Here and there paintings were sold and generally things were steaming along nicely. Our three children were growing fast but not so fast that driving around in the Kombi wasn’t at times a somewhat difficult  and testing task. Young children on long car trips is a job too far. Who would not be bored sitting confined in a metal box on rotating rubber wheels? Instead of long drives, we  set up tents in the paddocks together with sheep and Shetlands.  It was a blessing. The kids loved it and with two tents, they could swap around if there were disagreements on which teddy to sleep with or who had pinched an extra biscuit.

My brother Frank with his long suffering chronic schizophrenia was finally repatriated and taken back to Holland in 1975. Australia doesn’t serve the disadvantaged well.  It had been a hell. In bewildered desperation he had jumped off the Pyrmont bridge in Sydney. His left foot was to become forever damaged. He was fortunate to have survived the jump.

Years of tussles between the Australian bureaucracy and my parents did not resolve the lack of care for Frank. He would either be free to come and go as he liked, or, the alternative, have him ‘scheduled’ and he would never come home. The idea of ‘scheduling’ Frank into an Australian institute filled us all with horror. There did not seem to be anything in between. The very term ‘scheduled’ brings Charles Dickens and Bedlam into focus. Even today, I would not want to hear Mental Health and Australia mentioned in the same sentence. At least not during that period. When Frank jumped off the Pyrmont bridge he had for some years joined that army of the dishevelled, the uncombed and lost souls that roam streets, hovering between a vague sanity and death without much care by others except for the desperate parents or a rare kind person that would at times provide food, shelter and some encouraging words.


Two Dutch carers from Holland came to pick Frank up from Sydney and he was flown back to Holland together with my parents. It would not have been easy to have a mentally ill person on a plane, but the Dutch Government would have complied with the relevant regulations. One can imagine! My parents were informed of what to expect for Frank in the care of Dutch social welfare and mental health. He had a room on his own with TV, encouraged to play sport and swim. He would have his own income and free to do with it what he liked. ( mainly cigarettes) . My parents would be at all times kept informed about his health, medication. He would be given dental care, his feet, eyes, all would be looked at and maintained. His days would be spent with activities and at times would be taken in groups on outings, excursions, holidays; even at one stage to France! My parents were free to visit and Frank free to visit his parents but accompanied by nursing staff.

Helvi and I remember once visiting Frank at his new place in Holland and asked if we could speak to his doctor and staff. We were given a lunch, sat around the table talking to the psychiatrist, his doctor, staff and given all the information to do with Frank’s care. An unbelievable and wonderful experience. A weight was lifted from our family. Why was that so difficult to achieve in Australia?

My parents also left Australia for good and decided to be with Frank and own extended family of brothers and sisters. A considerable number had moved into an age in tandem with themselves. Their numerous children were now adults with own families. Many parents now retired and care-free to enjoy life, paint the town red, or if not red at least take a floating tour on the rivers of Europe, sipping champagne and soak up Habsburg’s castles perched on steep cliffs and rocky outposts.

My parents had put up their house for sale in Revesby, that would afford them a little nest egg. It was for them the right thing to do. They would be with Frank and their own family. The rest of us had settled, married and had children of our own.And a bolt of lightning, we decided, or rather I decided, to return to Australia… But of that…next time.

Australian Family Courts are still alienating Children.

April 18, 2013


If you think the Australian Family Court isn’t capable of being abusive to children, think again. The most important part of ‘what is best for children’ is often overlooked by the keenness of ‘experts and Independent Children’s Lawyers’ (I.C.L) to engage in their often biased and latest sociological quackery. At no stage do the wishes of the children come directly before the Courts. Experts and ICL take over and give their opinion of what should happen to children.

The area of making errors is huge, not least by expensive lawyers whipping up discords and marital whiplash between the warring parties. Often it is a fight to the bitter end with children coming in last instead of first.

The inherited adversarial British form of Justice is the ideal vehicle to make a bad situation even worse. Lately the term ‘less adversarial’ is bandied about in Family Court as if it is spared from some of the worst excesses of Criminal Courts. It is not. It still pits one party against the other. Just spend a day in Sydney’s Goulburn Street Family Court and  ‘the less adversarial’ soon oozes out into the grim faces of the warring couples with the swishing of jovial barristers gowns about the only ‘less adversarial’ item on display. At five thousand dollars a day, who would not be boisterous, smiling and engage in a bit of swirling about like insane dervishes on a shish kebab bender?

The outcome of a family Court case by and large is in the hands of barristers and Court appointed Experts. If one partner doesn’t have the funds, legal aid might be provided. The legal aid will not pay for barristers. If the other partner has money and employs a barrister, chances are he/she will win. If both employ a barrister, the more expensive one, ‘by and large’ will probably win, if not by tactics, then by exhausting the finances of the other.

But, going back to actual cases, it is the aim of the Court to always determine an outcome based on ‘what is best for the children’. This sound reasonable but in the hands of lawyers, ‘experts psychiatrists’ and Court appointed counselors; this concern for those children does not include being heard directly. Children do rarely, if ever, appear in Australian Courts. Yet, they are often fought over tooth and nail.

One of the most contentious areas being used in Australian Family Courts is Parental Alienation with at times terrifying results. While many marriages and relationships seem to end on what could be described as for superficial reasons, there are others that have genuine impossible situation where the harm to children is foremost on the mind of the parent wishing to end the relationship. Very logically, children of an abusive relationship then often choose the non-abusive parent to live with. If a couple cannot amicably end the relationship and decide on a Family Court to resolve the issues; let there be a loud warning.

While many countries have disbanded and disallow Parental Alienation syndrome from being used, Australian Family Courts still persist in this very controversial unproven practice to be used extensively.

The main theory behind Parental Alienation is that instead of accepting , first and foremost, the logical explanation given by parents and their children wanting to live with one parent more than the other or not all because of having suffered abuse (psychological or physical). The Court uses the appointed ‘expert’ to determine the bone fide of the children’s wishes. The ‘expert’, often a psychiatrist, then uses this unproven Parental alienation theory to turn around the children’s concern by blaming the preferred parent of ‘somehow’ having turned (alienated) the other parent against the child or children.  In their keenness to have the children be looked after by both parents, they run the chance of overlooking the issue of the ‘habitual abusive parent’.

They use techniques in asking loaded questions; do you love mummy, do you love daddy etc?  Answer: Children love daddy and mummy, even bad ones. While physical abuse can be more easily detected, it is the well hidden emotional abuse that children have great difficulty in articulating. This is the contentious side of ‘experts’ to indulge in at best, a very controversial side of psychology. It remains unrecognized, unproven and certainly far from being allowed by most countries in Family Courts.

Young children might say; my daddy or mummy is ‘mean’ to me, or, they ‘make me cry’ etc. A bruised eye or broken arm is easily shown up, but a bruised soul or broken spirit is far more difficult for children to express. Certainly, it is the short time or so by the expert psychiatrist or therapist with a seven year old child that their bruised psyche or soul could easily slip by unnoticed, let alone give proof of that in Court. This is especially so, when the ‘experts’ are disciples of The Parental Alienation credo.

It is at that point where  logic and directness is at greatest risk of becoming corrupted by the adult ‘expert’, a complete stranger, that the child runs the most risk of being handed to the abusive parent. While there are of course couples so warped in hatred to win at all cost they might indeed alienate their partner from children. But, there are also, perhaps the majority, who have genuine reasons to break up because of an abusive partner. Children of course should then not be forced by a Court against their wishes to live mainly with the abusive parent. Yet in Australian Family Courts it happens often.

The balance of probability in the Court should indeed be weighted in favour of the child’s welfare and wellbeing, ALWAYS.

It should never be weighted in favour of the parent that is abusive. While parenting is not an exact science, a parent that is abusive should not be allowed to be seen by the Court as a victim of deliberate alienation by the other parent.

It is the abuse that alienated the child from the parent and not the other way around. You can imagine how this would damage children. Yet, in Australian Family Courts it happens often that the distant abusive parent is seen as being the victim of the other parent’s attempt at alienating them from their children. What nonsense!

The Parental Alienation is a very loopy theory but it is still used in our Family Courts.