As I wait for the thawing process in my shoulder to begin (could be anytime soon or I may find myself waiting many more months – who knows), I thought I would update you on what we are doing at the Family Separation Clinic in London and our work on direct services to families.

Discussion Group  The discussion group is clearly  working, thank you for feedback from those using it already.  From the feedback received so far, the idea of the group is useful and providing welcome discussion space but it is a bit unruly in terms of how it is set up and time consuming to trail through old comments to find the subject you want to comment on.

Therefore, I have set up new pages with headings which will allow you to more easily find what you are commenting on, do try this out for a while and let me know your thoughts. As you know this is a simple trial run before the launch of Parental Alienation Direct which has forums which are designed to allow you to easily follow conversations.

Parental Alienation Direct  We are holding back the launch of PADirect however to coincide with the publication of the book by the US publisher. The publication of the new self help book and the new site will mark a shift in our focus away from development of direct self help services to families, back to focusing upon development of protocols and research into what works for alienated children and their families.  We want PA-Direct and the new book to offer you the starting point for helping yourselves to strengthen your knowledge base and skill in supporting your children and family through this complex and difficult problem.  We want to help you to be an alienation aware parent who can more readily work with professionals to help them to see the problem and we want you to be more supported through the early part of your journey so that when you come to work with experts you are more easily able to assist them to see what the problem is.  PA-Direct and the new book will be with you in the autumn.

Family Perspectives In the autumn we will announce a new partnership through which we will be delivering a new reunification programme called Family Perspectives. This is an intensive approach to reunification which has been tested and proven to work in severe cases of alienation which involve transfer of residence. Suitable for highly resistant and severely alienated children, Family Perspectives provides the model for the court which offers swift change in children’s alienated behaviours, it also focuses upon bringing balance back into the lives of children by ensuring that, as far as possible, children remain in relationship with both sides of their family.

Family Separation Clinic The Family Separation Clinic will continue to provide coaching support to alienated parents and counselling and therapeutic work with families. We will also strengthen our court based services.  New associates will join us to deliver these services in the autumn.

Research  We are involved in ongoing research work at the Family Separation Clinic and in 2016/17 will be furthering two projects, the first of which is all about our own work with alienated children and their families where we will be evaluating the outcomes of work with fifteen children reunited with a parent through our work. We will be publishing results of this work on a staged basis, the conclusions and recommendations for UK protocols in working with alienated children and their families will be published at the end of this project in 2019/20.  The second project, which is in development, will focus upon the link between the court process and the mental health interventions which we know works in these cases.  This project is a major piece of research work which will be ongoing throughout the next four years.

Training We continue to offer consultancy to Local Authorities, CAFCASS and other services supporting families. This year we have trained Sheriffs in Scotland through the Judicial Studies Institute in Edinburgh, Social Workers in Dublin and CAFCASS staff in England in using our triage and differentiation routes to working with alienated children and their families.  We have also worked as consultants to Local Authorities in serious cases  of alienation in London, Bedfordshire and in Lincolnshire.  In early September we will be delivering a 3 day intensive training to staff at the Centre for Child Protection. Đorđićeva 26, 10 000 Zagreb, Croatia. We very much look forward to assisting staff in Zagreb to deliver services to families in Croatia in the same model as the Family Separation Clinic.

Post Reunification Support Services We have been aware for some time that there is a need for post reunification support services for alienated children.  At the Clinic we do not simply offer assessments for parental alienation, we undertake the work of reunification as well.  We do this using a wide range of approaches and we count success as being a child seeing a parent again after being previously resistant. We count enduring success as a child who is able to see both parents and move between them and we provide services to the court and to families to assist in making that possible. Increasingly our post reunification support services are helping families to reconfigure the dynamics which causes alienation to protect children from it in the future.

Evidenced Based Outcomes We don’t just talk or write about alienation, we successfully treat it too.  Since September 2015, we have reunited seven children with previously rejected parents in pure and hybrid cases of alienation. We have a list of parents who are willing to talk to others about our work and how we have helped.

There are of course, cases where our intervention could not help to liberate the child, this is usually when the assessment and intervention are not interlinked sufficiently strongly enough with the court processes leaving weakness in the links between professionals working in a case.

This is an extremely complex area to work in and one which is adversarial on every single level. Working in this field requires one to understand the concentric circles of pressures upon children which are caused by parents, professionals and the systems they work in. Failure to understand this and to take into account the lack of alienation awareness in these concentric circles can cause fatal errors which leave children stuck in limbo using the coping mechanism of rejecting one parent and aligning with the other.

Our evidence based outcomes are based upon our successful case work and we are concentrating on two areas of this in the coming year – a) the recording of children’s voices in recovery from alienation and b) the writing up of all of our successful case studies for external evaluation.  We want to make sure that our work is strongly evidenced so that our contribution to the development of an alienation aware workforce in the UK is based upon what we know works and what we have shown to work rather than rhetoric which is based purely on research.

As I continue to wait for my shoulder to thaw I hope that the discussion group pages on here will be a little easier to navigate. Do continue to send me feedback, it will help in the development of the new forums and do continue to send me ideas and thoughts about all things alienation related so that I can post things up for other readers to use.

The Family Separation Clinic continues to offer its services although I cannot accept any new instructions now until late September due to my post reunification work and special care of a handful of families with whom I am working intensively.