Valentine’s Day in Romania: A success story

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Click on image to view and read the news.

Through the international network PASG, Catalin Bogdan has shared a remarkable success story with Parental Alienation (PA) cases in Romania’s family courts . How did they do it? Years of sustained ground work along with some help from Wikipedia.

In the case report below, it was the mother who was rejected, not the father. So note (again) that PA is not the gender specific pattern that misguided PA-dissenters insist it is.

Peak TV news

You can watch the Valentine’s Day TV news item here (in Romanian with adverts but a translation of the script in English below the video recording). Or you can watch it on YouTube (with subtitles if you click on the 4th icon from bottom right). Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 10.00.04

This was during peak viewing time. It reports how the Council of Psychologists in Romania now recognise PA.   But Catalin explains the huge significance further:

That Council (or College) of Psychologists has 31740 registered psychologists – download them here: > RUP > RUP Partea 1.  A sub-group, the Institute of Forensic Psychology adopted a protocol drawn up by the Romanian Association for Joint Custody (ARPCC).  This ‘shared parenting’ organisation, the ARPCC, has been the driving force for Catalin Bogdan and his colleagues. Very recently (1st Feb 2016) the whole Council officially endorsed that protocol.

But in Romania that Council of Psychologists is the only professional body recognized by the state. So that professional body’s endorsement means that the Romanian state itself now officially recognises PA. In most other countries, there would be many professional bodies to persuade!

The protocol

The full text of the original protocol can be read here or here. The full text of the legislative endorsement and declaration has now been officially endorsed in the Official Gazette of Romania (text below). Any parent can now print it out with the official endorsement – an endorsement of both the Council of Psychologists and the Romanian state – and provide it for the judge in the family courts.

Now, no one in Romania can legally claim that PA does not exist. Parents will have the right to ask for the psychological evaluation of their children with trained specialists, trained by the Institute of Forensic Psychologists. Those psychologists will be qualified and authorised to advise the judge whether a case is or not a case of Parental Alienation.

A bit more background for you: Romania is the 7th most populous country in the European Union with some 20 million inhabitants.  Work is in progress to define parental alienation legally, and to equip specialists with legal tools to effectively address how PA is dealt with.  The Romanian for Parental Alienation is: Alienate Parentală.

The case report …

Catalin writes: It is our pleasure to present another Court order in Romania (Moreni Justice Court) in which, based on the evidence of alienation, the judge rejected the request of the father (the alienating parent) to have the residence of the child with him.

In Romania there is a growing jurisprudence in which the Courts recognize alienation and take active actions to prevent this happening. They decide for psychological counselling, or fines for the alienating parent, or, as in this case, transfer the residence of the child to the alienated parent.

*** Excerpt translated into English, courtesy of the Romanian Association for Joint Custody [ARPCC], 1097/262/2014. Court Order No. 569/22.09.2015***

… in the psychological judicial expertise submitted in this case, the expert psychologist determined that the perception (image)  of the daughter about the mother is compromised and distorted as a result of the phenomenon of parental alienation determined by the father. It is of utmost importance to improve relations between the mother and the child to avoid the emergence of negative psychological consequences (for the child) that may arise in the long term (including depression). If child residence with the father were to be allowed , the possibility of restoring the relationship between the mother and their daughter will decrease significantly

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[Catalin notes:]  Thanks to psychologist Ionut Ghiugan who was part of this case and achieving this Court Order. For reasons of confidentiality we cannot present the full text of this Order yet. But the ARPCC will anonymise and publish it soon.

Wikipedia sets the background

In our internet-worked world, Wikipedia is an authoritative worldwide encyclopaedia. Romanian Wikipedia is naturally a more local thing than global English-language Wikipedia. So it was possible for Catalin and ARPCC to get into the Romanian-language Wikipedia page-discussion-group that decide what the Romanian Wikipedia pages on PA say. So Wikipedia  has been a key background for the other developments.

Catalin explains further:  Romania was able to suddenly get in front of the wave of PA recognition. It was our Wikipedia strategy. Everybody uses Wikipedia for information. So then the knowledge about alienation spreads naturally.

But we need to pay our respects to the countries who worked this out first, those who first documented PA and created the scientific body of knowledge and research. We only used translations – little or no research was actually made in Romania.

[And the process continues:]… Recently we met with the Secretary of State in charge of Child Protection and Adoptions. She – and all specialists in that field – are 100% convinced about alienation. We discussed the idea of adding it into the law. They said 2016 may be tricky because it is an election year. But it is obvious they have totally bought into the idea.

Catalin adds this link to the Romanian jurisprudence references they have made available online on Wikipedia – you can switch to automatic (i.e. maybe a bit unreliable!) translation into English  There are different sections … psychological reports recognising alienation, court orders that ARCPP know about, etc.

Well done!

It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to realise that, behind this TV news item and the court cases, lies a mountain of steady skilled and dedicated professional, interagency and organisational work. As Catalin says: This rocks! It exceeds all my expectations for what can be achieved in just 20 days … but of course, it is the result of 7 years of lobbying and hundreds of translations of English works   🙂   🙂

So all credit then to Catalin and his ARPCC colleagues. This rocks alright! And it surely inspires and shows the way for the rest of the world – drawing on international resources to build local success. Others in PASG are trying to ensure the English-language Wikipedia pages on PA / PAS are of similarly high quality.

With the help of Google translate, we can say: Multumesc – thank you – Catalin!   And: Foarte bine! – well done!

Nick Child, Edinburgh

About Nick Child

Retired child and family shrink and family therapist living, working and playing in Edinburgh.


  1. Christine Palatine

    That’s great news! Hopefully I can use that somehow in my case pending in the United States. Congrats, well done!



  2. Here’s a rough translation of excerpts from the endorsement (Order No 2/2016, 25th Feb 2016) in the Official Gazette of Romania endorsement – the blah blah section is interesting in that it actually refers to the DSM5 which famously did not include PAS as a category on its own, but does include it in several other ways (e.g. as psychological abuse):

    Pursuant … on the profession of psychologist and their right of free practice, setting up, organization and functioning of the College of Psychologists in Romania, approved by Government Decision no. 788/2005,
    and based on the provisions of the Manual of Diagnostic and Statistical of Mental Disorders, 5th edition, abbreviated DSM-5, used by both psychiatrists and the psychologists, which recognise the diagnosis of psychological abuse against children and child affected by stress the relationship between parents,
    and having regard to the specialty practice in the field of forensic and judicial psychology, which identifies expert assessors of parental alienation as recognized by courts in Romania, and of the first Protocol on the recognition of parental alienation agreed by the Romanian Institute of Forensic Psychology and the Romanian Association for Joint Custody on February 1, 2016 …

    Art. 1 –
    (1) recognizes the phenomenon of parental alienation as a form of psychological abuse (emotional) severe child consisting of its systematic denigration of a parent by the other parent, with the intention of alienation of the child by the other parent.
    (2) recognises the Protocol on recognition of parental alienation concluded by the Institute of Forensic / Judicial Psychology Judicial, as training provider with expertise in [that field] …
    (3) recognizes the need for continuous professional training of psychologists in the field of parental alienation with psychological expertise in the field of child abuse / neglect in order to promote knowledge and welfare of the child.

    Art. 2 –
    This provision shall enter into force on its publication in the Official Gazette of Romania, Part I.
    Chairman of the Steering Committee of the College of Psychologists of Romania,
    Michael Aniţei
    Bucharest, February 12, 2016.


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