Back from our retreat where our book was completed, all 123,000 words or so of it. As it goes through the editing process ready for publication very soon, I thought it might be useful to introduce you to some of what you can expect when it is wrapped in its best bib and tucker and ready for you to use. I will also tell you more about our new forums and website, both of which are designed to help you help yourself in coping with parental alienation. And finally I will tell you all about the projects we have lined up for the autumn months as part of our ongoing drive to develop services to support all families affected by parental alienation in the UK and beyond.
This is a new chapter for us as the Family Separation Clinic in London goes from strength to strength and our work to develop services across the country gathers pace. Always looking to drive the debate around alienation on and to tackle the big issues which arise in the field, we are working on all fronts to establish the right kind of services to support families in the UK. In our work over the years we have presented at forums and events to raise the profile of alienation and we have delivered training to parents and professionals working with the problem. We have also written and published articles on the issue and we have built and developed some powerful partnerships across the country. On the way I have worked in cases which have established parental alienation as mainstream in the family courts, the first one being [Re S (Transfer of Residence) 2010 1 FLR 1785] in which HHJ Bellamy stated that
The concept of alienation as a feature of some high conflict parental disputes may today be regarded as mainstream.
Alienation will only be a feature in a small number of cases and may be out with the experience of the care professionals. In cases involving an alienated child it is “essential that the court has be benefit of professional evidence from an expert who has personal experience of working with alienated children. ‘
From this case onwards the delivery of services to support families affected by parental alienation has become more possible and more real. It has also moved the delivery of such services out of the realm of psychiatrists and psychologists and into the field of family services. The key aspect of this being that it is the personal experience of working with alienated children which counts. And personal experience is what we at the Family Separation Clinic have in abundance. With 16 successful reunions this year alone and monitoring and evaluation of our work ongoing, we are now proving to the Judiciary and to those providing family services that this work is not only mainstream, it is possible and it is replicable. This year our project to bring more services to more families will increase alongside our training services which, in the autumn will be significantly stepped up.
This autumn I will be delivering training to CAFCASS in the Midlands and we will begin our autumn programme of workshops for parents in the South West with Plymouth FNF. I will also be speaking at the Family Law Association Scotland’s Annual Conference on November 21st about parental alienation and in 2016 will begin training to the Judiciary in Scotland. In Wales we continue our work with CAFCASS Cymru practitioners in strong and effective partnerships that bring about swift change for children. And in Jersey we continue to develop our services to support families through our support of the Jersey Centre for Separated Families, a flag ship project which is providing evidence of the power of community service, even in the face of stiff opposition from state funded services.
In the few years we have focused our attention on high conflict separation and parental alienation, we have achieved a great deal in terms of raising awareness, establishing evidence based practice and helping families affected by the problem of alienation. We have recently established a network of parents who have been helped by our services who are now speaking to others about the work that we do and the outcomes we achieve. This group of parents is added to regularly as we successfully bring about resolution to deeply entrenched difficulties faced by families. On our new website you will be able to contact other parents and find out more about the process of helping yourself and each other and about how our work at the Family Separation Clinic has helped and can help. We are putting as much information, education, support and reassurance into your hands as we possibly can. We know this is the right way forward for working with parental alienation in the UK.
Parental alienation is a problem with a human face, working with it and resolving it requires skill, experience and confidence. For too long, parents who have faced this dreadful problem have had to rely on professionals who may have a wealth of qualifications, but who charge a fortune for their expertise and time. Providing you with the information and skill that you need removes this dependency and demystifies for you the process of reunification and beyond. You do not have to remortgage your house to deal with the problem of alienation and you do not have to put your life or your children’s lives into the hand of lofty experts to achieve change.
Our new site will have signposts to people we recommend and there will be a ‘trust the expert’ section for parental alienation. In the years that we have been working in this field we have worked with many people who have brought significant change for children and many who have not. Only those people who we trust to bring real change for your children will be flagged on our website. We want to share with you the outcomes we have achieved and the people we have achieved them with. We will add to the list as we continue to meet people who impress us and share them with you to help you make the right choices for your children.
In our new book you will find a wide range of information to help you work through your own case. We tell you all about parental alienation, about differentiation and about understanding at the deepest level what is happening to your child. Then we help you to analyse your case, using the protocols we have developed a the Clinic, so that you can determine where to put your energies and focus. We give you the tools, the skills and the focus. When you do have engage experts, you will know what you have to do and why. We also help you to ask the right questions of the experts you do engage, so that you know that the person who you are trusting is reliable and has a proven track record in doing what they say they will do. By using the book you will have a road map which is unique to your case and you will be empowered to ask the right questions at the right time. We take you through the court process, providing you with tools to help you to build and monitor your strategy and we help you to feel confident and skilled when you do meet your child again. Should you find that you are in a place where you have to wait for a time before you can reunite we help you there too. Our aim is to make you alienation aware and confident in delivering transformational parenting strategies, so that your child is given the very best of the healthy care that you have to offer.
We have so many parents asking us for help now that it is time to triage the work that we do so that we can put our focus right where it needs to be. The places we need to concentrate on are in coaching, supporting and reunifying parents with their children, this is what we will be focused upon developing in the coming months. Practical, replicable successes which provide for families the relief that they need from the problem and the support that they need for ongoing management of it. Our coaching services will remain available through the Family Separation Clinic to parents all over the world and offer a dedicated service in which we take close care of you as a parent as you make the journey through change. All details are on the Family Separation Clinic website.
We will also continue to deliver our assessments, our in court services and our consultation to Local Authorities in public law cases involving high conflict and parental alienation.
Finally our research programme will be developed in partnership with leading London Universities, a development I will report more on later in the Autumn.
We have much to do. We are in discussions with people across Europe who are doing similar work about setting up a European Network and we have plans for presentations at international conferences in 2016. This autumn opens a new chapter in our book of working with parental alienation in the UK and beyond.
We would love you to join us and be part of the journey.