I am posting a quick note on here although I am away on holiday at the moment, because I am aware that Dr Childress is commenting on my critique of his fine work Foundations today. I want to ensure that Dr Childress and my readers are aware of my position on his work and that the critique which was posted on the Parental Alienation Studies Group Newsletter was not intended for public criticism (if it had been I would have published it on here), but was rather for the discussion group to which we both belong. That said, I understand Dr Childress’s point of view and reasons for publishing his response on his blog. Not being given a chance to reply in the group left him with no other option. I fully support his open discussion, even though I stand by my critique. I admire his spirit and as many of you will know, I share his combative style.
We need warriors like Dr Childress in this field and I have absolutely no intention of getting into a blog post war with him. I support his work and having read Foundations and his response to my critique I understand his approach. I do not agree however with some of the points he makes and I still do not consider that Foundations is THE answer, although I absolutely accept, that the tiny group of families which fall into the category he is defining as his target group for the label pathogenic parents require the most robust intervention.
Having been the subject of a recent covert attack on my practice from people supposedly working for alienating parents I understand what stealth attack feels like. I want to reassure Dr Childress that I am an admirer of his work and his combative style which I know is what is needed in people who work in this field. My critique of his work was never designed to undermine the approach he takes but was for professionals working in the field to discuss. I am a great believer that where there is a cause to fight (and this is one hell of a cause) one stands with those who are also fighting, unless they are potentially damaging to the parents we work with (and there are a few of those people but Dr Childress is most certainly not one of them). Where there are disagreements, discussion should be had privately in my view, which was why my post for the PASG was not posted on here too. I hope that Dr Childress is reassured by my public support for him on here and that he understands that whilst I may not agree with everything he says, I like the cut of his jib and I share his determination to end the scourge that is parental alienation (in all its forms). For me honesty and transparency as a practitioner (I should also clarify I am not Dr Woodall but plain old Karen Woodall), is the very foundation of what it takes to be a successful advocate in this field. Having felt the stab of a couple of UK based alienation ‘experts’ knives in my back this year, I wouldn’t want Dr Childress or anyone else to feel the same sense of shock and horror that came with that experience. Knowing that someone also working in this field wants to harm my work with alienated children was a truly horrible experience. As another article in the PASG Newsletter so eloquently put it, being silenced as an alienation practitioner is one of the biggest risks for those of us who put our wellbeing and reputation on the line everyday in fighting for this cause. Fighting those who are supposed to work in the same field as well as everyone else and the systems that enable alienation is frankly, more than most could bear.
I bore it and came through it tougher, sharper and amazingly, more skilled, more able and more determined than ever. I let myself learn from the experience and today when I read Dr Childress’s post what I wanted to do most of all was reach out and reassure him and everyone else that he and I are on the same page, made of the same stuff. I don’t agree with everything he says and I still find some of what he writes problematic for the UK, but I wholeheartedly agree with his publishing his response and I welcome all opportunities to debate the issue both in private with PASG and in public and, I hope soon, face to face.
There are many wars to fight, blog wars with one of our own is not one of them. I stand with Dr Childress in his fight and with the PASG in the ongoing drive to further the debate about parental alienation. Having recently been invited to Blog for the HuffPost I now have a chance to get the issue out to a much wider audience (my first post has been liked by almost two thousand people, most of whom would never have access to this kind of thinking and debate). We have a chance to take this issue out to the wider world and that’s what I will be concentrating on doing in the coming months. The fight is just beginning and Dr Childress and I, will, I hope, be warriors in it, together.