There are things which appear from the outside to be mysterious which when viewed from the inside look completely different and indeed, in a moment, explain how they were influenced into being. This week I have been working in the moment with alienated children and have been observing how, when viewed through a particular lens, their behaviour means one thing, but when viewed through another, their behaviour means something else entirely. Most of all, when viewed through the lens of healthy love, children are free to be who they inherently are and their being is allowed to emerge instead of being shaped, forced and influenced into something else.
We all wear different lenses. As someone recently introduced to contact lenses the imagery seems perfect to me when thinking about parental alienation. Through the lens of my glasses the world looks one way, through the contact lens the world looks a whole lot different, sharper, more delineated. Perhaps we could devise a contact lens for those practitioners working with alienated families, it would bring everything into sharper focus and allow us to do what we know is necessary on a wider scale to help them.
Devising the lens through which practitioners working with families can more easily spot and treat the problem of alienation is our next task in hand. This year we will be training the Scottish Judiciary in understanding how to manage alienation cases as well as working with leading professionals in London with whom we continue to develop a multi model approach to bringing about better outcomes. This multi stranded approach, which is based upon best practice across the world, is our intervention of choice and is in step with all of the world wide practice by recognised experts, some of whom we are working closely with now to build our skills for the UK. Working in teams with Clinical Psychologists and Child/Adolescent Psychiatrists, as well as Independent Social Workers and Guardians, the Family Separation Clinic is building an evidence base which is recognised in the family courts for its success. This is the route that will bring the UK the healthy outcomes necessary for families affected by alienation. This is the lens we will be replicating this year because it is based on evidence not theory and practice not preaching.
Watching children return to health after being alienated is always my most favourite part of this work and I am never disappointed when the differentiation and treatment route is right. The lights that come back into children’s eyes as they no longer have to adapt and conform to requirements that they do not properly understand but obey anyway, are a joy to behold. Every child is the same when health returns, the lights come on, the animation returns and life flows just how it should. I am privileged in every way to play a small part in this and each success builds the determination in me to make what we do available on as wide a scale as possible.
There is a mystery of meaning in this work which I recognised the first time I helped to liberate a child. (That story can be found in the book by Thomas Moore called ‘Please let me see my son.’) Without becoming too mystical about it, there is a flow which is blocked which returns when the barriers are removed and as a practitioner, wearing the right lenses is what enables us to see where the blocks and barriers are. Those blocks and barriers are human, they lie in the relational world and it is in relationship to the people we work with, alienated children, alienated parents and most crucially of all alienating or favoured parents, that we encounter them. Shifting those blocks comes from doing and being, it is an active not passive encounter with families. Change comes as families eat together, move together, do together and be together, not from sitting in a room in a static place shifting thoughts about in the mind.
Mysterious things happen all the time in this world that we work in but the magic never leaves it. That is what keeps me involved in it, through all of the ups and downs, all of the ego based arguments and all of the (perhaps) well meaning but misplaced strategies that are dreamed up by people who think they know, but who know very little at all about what it really means to do this work. When I meet others who know, who truly understand and are gifted at what they do, I need no introduction because their intention is aligned with the way that they behave. Those people know, without mystery, what recovery for alienated children means. They know what to do and when and they dance in harmony with the families that they work with. It is a joy to do this work with those people and uncover the meaning of the mystery of how families, once so badly broken, can be so easily repaired when the dynamics are right.
Energy flows where you put your attention and this week my attention is on the children I work with and those who are helping us achieve the very best for them. There is a momentum building which is exciting to be part of and we are supported in what we do by people who really know what to do to change the lived experience of alienated families.
Which means that more of what we do will be available to more of you.
Which is the meaning in the mystery of everything we do.