RESOURCES PERSPECTIVES: Judges are practicing mental health without a license

Editor’s note: Resource Perspectives features articles written by members of Lovefraud’s Professional Resources Guide.

Rebecca Potter works as a licensed mental health counselor in West Palm Beach, Florida. She can be reached at: [email protected]

Judge William Adams shown beating his daughter with a belt on YouTube

By Rebecca Potter

Rebecca Potter profile in the Lovefraud Professional Resources Guide

As I saw the following video and commentary on CNN last night, I could not sleep. It appears that the sheriff in the town of Rockport, Texas has received countless calls of concern about Judge William Adams, who was shown beating his daughter with a belt on YouTube. Judge Adams is a family court judge. People were concerned about this judge being allowed to make decisions about the welfare of children. Judge Adams has three years left to make decisions about the welfare of families in Rockport, Texas.

Here’s the YouTube video: Judge William Adams beats daughter for using the Internet

Judge Adams feels that he was fairly disciplining his daughter for downloading music from the Internet. When I saw this video of his daughter, who has cerebral palsy, she was being beaten with a belt as she begged for him to stop. The daughter had set up her computer web camera as she felt the beating coming. Recent comments from the judge indicate that he sees nothing wrong with how he abused his child. News stories indicate he has left town, and officials are stating that he will not preside over cases that involve children.

Family court ignores the physical and emotion affect of abuse on children

Current research is able to document the effects of child abuse on the brain. As a professional, when I testify in court regarding the damage to children from trauma and abuse, I am not taken seriously. The judges feel that there is no physical damage, and they say permissive parenting by the protective parent is the cause of acting out behaviors of children. Meanwhile, current research shows that 60 percent of children who experience trauma and abuse will develop a substance use disorder.

Unfortunately, many of us have had to appear before judges like the Texas Judge Adams who feels justified to whip (beat and attack) his daughter with a belt, as she had been caught downloading music. These judges discount the scientific research and evidence of physical abuse causing permanent brain damage.

Hanley Center currently researching the effects of substance use and trauma on brain health

Brain scan technology is showing evidence of physical scars that occur in the brain after trauma and abuse. I attended a lecture by Dr. Barbara Krantz, Medical Director of the Hanley Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. Brain imaging is being used in her facility. It is now possible to document what drugs and/or alcohol have been consumed based on the areas of the brain that show injury in brain scans. What also was shared was the difference in the hippocampus of an abused child and the hippocampus of a child who did not suffer abuse. This is the proof of permanent physical damage to the brain of a child who has been abused. Often these children medicate the emotional pain with substance use.

Practicing Mental Health without a license

Family judges are practicing mental health without a license. This practice by family court judges is dangerous to the health of our families, our nation and our financial well-being

  • Many of these judges are unaware of current research.
  • Judges do not allow children to testify or be a part of the court hearings that determine their well-being
  • Children and protective parents are developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Additionally, when a judge has a tendency for personal pathology, they relate to the litigant who is also shares the personal pathology traits. These disordered individuals agree in the harsh punishment, punishment that does not fit the crime. This is the philosophy of control and dominance. These judges discriminate against the protective parent because they have not processed very personal feelings, and the protective parent is unbearable to their own personal philosophy. The judges are able to make decisions that affect the mental health of a child without the ability to understand their own personal opinions and processing of their own injuries. Readers will want to read articles on to understand the ignorance of judges who are confronted with the high conflict divorce and custody cases.

I have worked in the mental health field, and have had years of training to separate my own personal views and judgments from the individuals that I treat. This discernment and ability to separate your personal opinions and judgment comes from intensive personal training, supervision and counseling. Judges are exposed to mental health issues of families and children. They have not had this training and they are unable to provide a competent decision in these cases. In my opinion, I feel that Family Court judges are being asked to practice the profession of mental health without the proper training.

Judges use of defense mechanisms to insulate themselves against protective parents

When an individual does not have the training, supervision and experience to understand their use of defense mechanisms (your own dysfunction and personal defects), the individual blames and targets the individual who reminds you of your emotional pain. The use of these defense mechanisms allows an individual to insulate themselves from the pain, guilt, and shame.

Often times, the judges are so angered by the protective parent that to further insulate the judge, the protective parent is thrown in jail, or worse, the children are taken away and given to the parent with whom the judge can relate and identify. There is further emotional and financial pain placed upon the protective parent. The protective parent and children are damaged by the trauma of the court and develop complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

In my opinion, this is use of a defense mechanisms to project blame and repress the protective parent. If the children are removed and the protective parent is placed in jail, the judges do not have to face their own dysfunction. The saying, “out of sight, out of mind” is the attitude of a dysfunctional individual who wants to keep memories, fears, guilt and shame repressed.

Behavioral Research

Typically, all behavior research has demonstrated that punishment does not achieve a reduction in undesirable behavior. Punishment will actually increase the behavior. The individual who is punished will become more rebellious, fearful and sneaky. There are some severe situations in which punishment is used to extinguish a behavior. The use of punishment must be reviewed by other professionals to determine the effectiveness of the punishment and the safety of a plan that is put in place.

Overseeing the Family Court System

The children who are exposed to court and legal trauma are developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They have been exposed to a war and punishment. The children are left in a state of hopeless despair, fear and victimhood. There is no committee of professionals who oversee the effect of the Family Court decisions on families and children.

I honor the courage and strength of the judge’s daughter for exposing his abuse to the nation. I feel inspired by this brave young girl’s courage and write about this very controversial topic to inspire our nation to band together to write letters and support each other as we attempt to change this ignorant archaic system used in our courts.

One person will not be able to change this system. It is time to band together and develop a plan to insist that the judges no longer have the only authority to make decisions for families. We must also insist that psychologists who depend on the court for fees are not allowed to diagnose a traumatized parent as a personality disordered parent. It takes a trauma specialist to diagnose this disorder and protective parents are often diagnosed with personality disorders. This has become a major epidemic in the American judicial system, an epidemic that has serious legal, health and financial consequences to our nation. We need to demand committees of independent professionals be involved in Family Court decisions.

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83 Comments on "RESOURCES PERSPECTIVES: Judges are practicing mental health without a license"

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Want to be a billionaire??? Your WISDOM in a pill!!! Hey that would be the best?

My grandpa and I used to sit and talk all the time. He was my favorite man in the world. He told never ending stories about meeting my g-ma (many times over which I always loved hearing about their trunk being filled with ketsup and vegetables as wedding gifts as he drove around showing her off to family!!) lol. Can you imagine how mad people would get today if they received that! lol. He thought it was the BEST!

His wisdom meant so much to me. I trusted him and we had this relationship that needed no explanation. We both knew if one of us had attitude or opinion about something without real explanation we backed each other just knowing the other had their reasons. People used to push him around and he would get so mad. I would always tell them to leave him alone! I think at 80 years old you know what the hell you want and don’t want. He didn’t want a b-day party but my mom forced him. She was mad cause he just sat in the kitchen playing solitaire ignoring everyone! I told her if it were me at 80 and my feelings were ignored like that, I would have been flipping them off from the window of the house not letting them in at all.

Wisdom is invaluable………….


Knowledge is what we LEARN, “Wisdom” is how we use our knowledge.


hhhmmmm ponnnnddderrriinnggg………….:) Sounds like work! lol

I can’t believe that but it does! I am laughing at myself because I have always worked so hard and now that old saying about WORK SMARTER not HARDER is haunting my tired self.

One day……………I can only hope I am that quiet old soul watching and maybe sharing wisdom with the youth as I shake my head (to myself of course) watching them feel the need to spin out. Haven’t you seen that look in the eyes of an elderly person where they know you are full of energy and they already have been there, done that but they have a knowing gleam in their eyes with a smile? The good ol days………Right?

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