Family Therapist and Parental Alienation Specialist
Linda J. Gottlieb, LMFT, LCSW-R
(347) 454-8840 Telephone
(845) 859-5505 Fax
Linda has had 40+ years education and experience providing clinical treatment services to families of all compositions, orientations, and in all developmental stages. She has treated the wide spectrum of problems, issues, and dysfunctional family interactional patterns that are challenging for families. She has expertise in emergency services that has included intensive, home-based, crisis-intervention to prevent the psychiatric hospitalization of a child. Since 2003, Linda has focused her clinical practice on families undergoing parental separation/divorce with the goal of facilitating the parents to develop a civil and respectful co-parenting relationship. This focus includes the highly specialized area of assessing for and treating parental alienation.
Linda also provides consultation services on Parental Alienation—to rule it in or to rule it out. And she has also served as an expert witness on such cases. She has been qualified in 20 states and 30 jurisdictions. The areas in which she has been qualified are: family therapy, family dynamics, alienation, estrangement, child abuse, and domestic violence.
Linda obtained her Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from Adelphi University School of Social Work and then completed 18 credits in Adelphi’s Doctoral Program with a specialization in family therapy. Linda subsequently honed her skills in family therapy by studying for 9 years at the Minuchin Center for the Family. She was personally trained and supervised by Dr. Salvador Minuchin, the world renowned, highly respected child psychiatrist who was one of the founders of the family therapy movement, developing the school of structural family therapy within the broader field of family systems therapy.
After completing her training at the Minuchin Center, Linda joined the faculty, where she served for additional four years. During her tenure on the faculty, she taught the principals of structural family therapy to other mental health clinicians—including child psychiatrists.
Linda began her professional career working in Adoption and Foster Care Services, initially for 16 years in New York City’s foster care system as a caseworker, next as a psychiatric social worker, and then as the Director of Foster Care and Adoption Services for a voluntary agency contracted as a provider for NYC’s foster care population. Other capacities in which Linda has served this population were as a supervisor and then as Assistant Director of Foster Care and Adoption Services for Nassau County, NY. Linda’s service for Nassau County totaled 8 years.
During her work with 3000 foster children—children who had been removed from their homes due to adjudicated abuse and neglect—Linda discovered just how powerful is the instinct to have and need a parent. She cannot recall a single foster child who rejected a parent. To the contrary, she observed these children to align with their abusive parents and to protect them. And the children craved their visits with their parents and protested each visits’ conclusion.
As a result of her foster care experience, Linda concluded that the instinct to love and need a parent is superseded only by the instinct for survival and the instinct to protect ones young. And Linda has further determined—in part as a result of her foster care experience—that the only explanation for a child’s unjustifiable rejection of a parent is because of a brainwashing—similar to the brainwashing of a cult member—by the other parent or parental figure. After all, if abused and neglected children do not reject a parent, there can be only one explanation as to why a child would reject a non-abusive and/or non-neglectful parent.
Upon leaving the Foster Care System, Linda transitioned to working in New York's mental healthcare system. She designed, implemented, and supervised at South Shore Child Guidance Center, Freeport, NY, the Pathways Program, a home-based, crisis intervention service to prevent the psychiatric hospitalization of a child. That program was more than 90% effective in preventing a child from being psychiatrically hospitalized but were, instead, able to be maintained in their families.
Since 1994, Linda has been in private practice as a Family Therapist. In addition to providing clinical treatment to children and their families, she has provided supervision to family therapists who are in private practice. Linda has worked very closely for many years with Nassau, Suffolk, and Duchess County, New York Family Courts by accepting their referrals to facilitate adversarial parents to arrive at an out-of-court settlement in the best interests of their children.
Linda has treated in private practice more than 550 children who had undergone some degree of alienation, along with treating their parents, who numbered more than 300 alienating and alienated parents. Linda has further reviewed the case files of another 250+ severely alienated children and their parents. Of meaningful significance, Linda further treated 1000 children and their parents who were undergoing a separation/divorce but who did not engage in alienation.
The sum total of Linda’s work with foster children, combined with her private practice experiences with both alienating and non-alienating families undergoing parental separation and/or divorce, has rendered her invaluable, extensive pattern recognition for an alienated child, an alienating parent, and an alienated parent. Linda is thus exceedingly accurate in distinguishing an alienated child from an estranged child—that is a child who justifiably rejects a parent. An estranged child presents very differently from an alienated child.
In 2012, the highly respected professional publisher, CC Thomas, published Linda’s book, The Parental Alienation Syndrome: A Family Therapy and Collaborative Systems Approach to Amelioration. In this book, Linda wrote about 56 children in 32 families from her private practice—cases that involved parental alienation to some degree. At the time she began treatment of each of these children and their families, 49 children had had their relationship with their alienated parent severed. At the conclusion of treatment, 27 children had reconnected with their alienated parent.
Since 2012, Linda co-authored two, published peer-reviewed articles dealing with some aspect of parental alienation. She further contributed a chapter on treatment to a 2013 peer-reviewed book entitled, Working with Alienated Children and their Families: A Guidebook, edited by Amy Baker and Richard Sauber.
Linda has also been approved by 4 professional organizations as a provider of continuing education credits, continuing medical credits, and continuing legal credits for psychiatrists, judges, lawyers, mental health clinicians, and medical providers. The credits were approved in the areas of clinical reasoning and decision making when diagnosing and treating for parental alienation and that alienation is a form of psychological child abuse.
Linda recognizes the critical importance of both parents to the psychological, social, cognitive, behavioral, and physical development of their children—as long as both parents are fit. Linda educates parents who are in an adversarial custody proceeding to recognize that the healthiest resolution for their children occurs when parents make the decisions for their children—as opposed to having decisions imposed upon them by others—whomever these others may be. After all, parents—not professionals—are the experts on their own children.
The following is Linda’s Treatment Philosophy:
"I believe in the power of family members to heal each other out of the love they have for each other. I am a catalyst, as I help people in intimate relationships with each other to change each other and to achieve the goals and hopes that they share in common. I will support you in uncovering your hidden strengths and talents, and I will encourage family members and/or partners to discover with each other new pathways to problem resolution."
Since arriving at this treatment philosophy many, many years ago, Linda determined that the power of family members to heal each other applies unequivocally and principally to the parent-child relationship. This conviction has become the basis of her intensive, four-day treatment program for the disruption of a parent-child relationship. Linda is a catalyst to alienated parents to de-program their children and to take them down memory lane in order to reawaken their children’s repressed memories of their loving, nurturing, and enjoyable relationship prior to the onset of the alienation. Linda has achieved 100% success in her unification in this program with a sequestration period that is adhered to.
Linda has dedicated her professional practice to ending the scourge of parental alienation—a form of severe psychological child abuse. In addition to her intensive treatment program and to her consultation and testifying on paternal alienation, Linda travels the world disseminating knowledge to professionals about parental alienation.
PLEASE NOTE: When Linda accepts a case as an expert witness, she is being paid for her TIME not for her testimony. To that end, Linda reserves the right to make her own assessment as to the family dynamics based upon her careful and thorough review of the case evidence. Should she determine that she had been hired under false premises—for example, that the client’s assertion of being a victim of alienation is false or that the client’s request for help to be exonerated from engaging in alienation when the client actually is—then Linda will terminate her relationship with the client. She will not testify for or support a client who has presented a false situation. In such cases, should there remain a balance from the retainer at the point that Linda arrives at her determination that the case evidence does not support the client’s story, she will refund any balance of the retainer.