Changing lives: on the power of professional competence and care

Mid January and we are flat out on all fronts at the Family Separation Clinic where we are bringing several projects into being all at once as well as continuing our delivery to families across the UK. All at the same time we are learning, teaching, collaborating, supporting, developing and finishing the tasks that create the new ways of working with alienated children and their families that we know are needed.

In the midst of all that I came face to face again this week with heart of what matters in what we are doing which is this. When children are living in healthy relationships to the people who love and care for them deeply, there is nothing we need to do other than help that to happen because it is that which is the catalyst for recovery.  As practitioners working with families affected by parental alienation, our role is to bring about the conditions in which that healthy love can flourish. The rest of it is window dressing.

When you are choosing your parental alienation practitioner therefore, forget talking therapy, forget fancy credentials, forget academic view points and concentrate on this.  If your practitioner is not helping to create the right circumstances for your love to grow in  your children’s lives, your practitioner is not an expert in parental alienation but something else. Unless your practitioner can direct you to the people they have helped and show you their expertise in practice, do not spend a moment of your precious time or a penny of your precious money or even worse another day of your precious children’s lives, walk on by and find someone else. The only proof that someone working in this field has that their work is successful, are the number of children who now live happily with a parent where once they were alienated. Anything other than that is theoretical rumination and should be avoided at all costs, the lives of your children are too valuable to risk on that route.

Being an expert in the field of parental alienation is not about reading about it or writing about it. I write because it helps me to process the work that I do and because it relaxes me, it is a form of therapy for me if you like. I write about what I do based on the actual families I work with and I work with them daily, sometimes round the clock if it is necessary in the early days of a reunification.  As an expert in this field I have come to understand how difficult it is to do this work and how much we risk when we do it. As the Clinic has grown in stature and in capacity, I have come to value those other people in this field who also know the deep challenges that face us as we work in the most complex and painful parts of people’s lives.  People with whom we enjoy mutually supportive relationships, where different thoughts and approaches can be considered safely together. And I have come to understand the power of interlinked interventions which bring swift results. There is a growing sense in the UK that the network of professionals now coming together to develop this work are powerful enough to effect real change. I am excited by the partnerships the Clinic is developing and the skills of the professionals we are working with. We know that tackling alienation requires a strong combination of legal and mental health intervention, nothing less will do. This year we have already seen the power of that combination and it is only mid January. There is much to do, our new site will advise and guide you to make the right choices at the right time and will provide direct links to the people who truly understand this problem and can evidence that with their successes.

Success in this field comes when children are in relationship with their healthy parent and family. Succeeding for families means being willing to take risks, make sacrifices and fight for children.   Most of all success comes from caring deeply about the lives of the families we work with. This is no nine to five job in an office, this is about being with people through the hardest times and beyond. Which is where we have been this week and will be next week and all the weeks of the coming year.

There is much to do this year and I will be focusing upon getting the self help theme going as much as I will be developing our network of professionals who really get it. As part of that we will be able to share, throughout the year, more of our successes and the evidence that the way we deliver services at the Clinic is the right way to approach alienation cases.  We want to spread the word as well as best practice. We want to keep on providing our evidence based outcomes. As part of that process we continue to build our network of parents who have been helped by us and anyone who wishes to enter into longer term work with us, either through coaching or court based interventions, is offered the opportunity to speak to at least three other parents for whom we have achieved successful outcomes.

Changing the lives of alienated children and their families everywhere, it’s only mid January 2016 and already I know what an exciting year this is going to be.



7 thoughts on “Changing lives: on the power of professional competence and care

  1. Thank you Karen for this. Two points after my discussion with al professional barrister today who is a consultant mediator and family councillor.
    1. Courts always act in the best interests of children.
    2. Dealing with those parents who enact parental alienation due to their implacable hostility towards the other parent is the reason, which Sir James Munby gave indication in his ruling in a long standing case in April 2015; “parents need to be parentally responsible to the other parent as much to their children.”
    Current legislation cannot change this. So what is the best interest of children?


  2. I read this recently- with acknowledgement to Jason Hofer.

    Psychologists should have been able to see what was happening to our children.

    When we brought you a child who was not being allowed to express love for us, you only saw a child who was rejecting us.

    When we brought you a child who was succumbing to and adopting the attitudes and beliefs of someone who despises us, you only saw that our relationship with our child was difficult.

    When we brought you a child who had been deceived into believing that our normal parenting was abusive, you only saw a child who believed we were not a good parent.

    You only saw what the madness behind the madness wanted you to see, and you accepted it, in some cases allied with it, without even blinking an eye.


    1. Indeed all focus in on the relationship between the alienated parent and the child, why is this relationship so difficult? What can this parent have done for the child to react with this? What can this parent do to improve this relationship? What can this parent do to earn the respect of their child? What can we do to curb the this parent’s desire to have a relationship with his child, so the child isn’t frightened? While all eyes are on the alienated parent, who is scrutinised in great detail and any imperfections magnified, no one is looking at the relationship of the child with the alienting parent. On the surface that relationship is fine, in fact it is very close, no problems here. But no one scratches the surface and sees just how dysfunctional that relationship really is.


      1. This is so very true. It’s the Alienating parent and the relationship with the child that needs scrutiny. Why is it so difficult for Cafcass and Judges to see the manipulation that goes on behind the closed doors of the Alienator. A 9 year old child turning up to a meeting with Cafcass with a list of things they wish to discuss about the targeted parent. If that doesn’t set alarm bells ringing I don’t know what will. If the child cannot explain why he feels the way he does about certain things to do with the targeted parent, shouldn’t that be taken that his feelings are not his own. He says he only wants to see dad for 3 hours once a month but doesn’t know why. He says he doesn’t want sleep overs with dad because he claims he doesn’t like being away from home. However school reported that he loved the overnight school trip. He told Dad he’s looking forward to going on holiday to Italy with Mum next year and has regular over-night stays with friends. Manipulation is damaging to the child.


      2. I brought this up two years ago with Caffcass and she had no response. It was all about how I was to take the responsibility to build bridges. There was no talk of the fathers relationship. I have not spoken to my girls for over a year now. The whole experience was surreal.


  3. ‘Educate against Hate’ is today’s to combat radicalization! .
    Should this be extended to include Education against Hate in alienation cases?


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