Clinical Seminars: Understanding Parental Alienation with Karen and Nick Woodall

Later this year I will be travelling in Europe as well as the United States and Canada delivering seminars for parents and professionals to accompany our new book. Early news on the content of these seminars is below, details of when and where you can attend seminars will be posted here, on the Family Separation Clinic website and on Parental Alienation Direct which launches with our new book.

About Our Seminars

Parental Alienation is the complete unjustified rejection of a once loved parent by a child, usually occurring within the context of family separation. An alienated child will completely and consistently, reject a relationship with a parent, seeking to eradicate that parent and the wider family from their conscious experience.

Once considered to be the result of a deliberate and conscious campaign by a vexatious parent, parental alienation is now widely understood to be a spectrum experience in which the child at different ages can be susceptible to adult alignments and expectations. Whilst the incidence of deliberate inculcation of fear and dislike of a parent is seen in such cases, more routinely a child will become unable to relate to a parent because of complex emotional and psychological dynamics surrounding them. Parents are often helpless to create change in the child’s mind when an alienation reaction has occurred, looking more closely at the underlying psychological dynamics explains why this is so.

Parental alienation is a pernicious problem which if left unaddressed will cause the child to reject not only a parent but the whole of the side of the family associated with that parent. Children are known to also reject friends and even once loved pets when they enter into this state of mind. This leaves one side of their family missing the child and it can take many years for such a difficult dynamic to resolve itself. In some cases, parents and family members will die before such change occurs.

About The Family Separation Clinic

The work of the Family Separation Clinic in London is concerned with both the treatment of parental alienation and the raising of this issue as an urgent mental health concern for families experiencing separation in the UK and across the world. For too long, children who are still alive are being mourned by families who have no contact with them and for whom the family courts have done little to alleviate this problem. In reality, many children in the UK have had their ‘decision’ to reject a parent upheld by family court professionals, with little investigation or understanding of the reality of the mental health concerns this raises for children in the future. This is an unacceptable reality for too many children for whom psychological splitting, the state of mind which underpins alienation, is a coping mechanism used to survive intolerable family dynamics.  The Family Separation Clinic is focused upon raising awareness of parental alienation through treatment to families, research into the problem of alienation and training and consultancy to professionals across the world.  This series of seminars is designed to raise awareness and to introduce parents and professionals to the work of the Clinic and the model used to bring about successful outcomes for alienated children.

Seminars for Parents and Professionals

Based upon their new book Understanding Parental Alienation: Learning to Cope, Helping to Heal (2017) Karen and Nick Woodall from the Family Separation Clinic offer insight into the problem of alienation in children and the way in which leaving matters unresolved, causes significant harm to children in the present and future. Approaching the issue from a clinical perspective, the authors demonstrate how changing practice with separated families leads practitioners to a greater understanding and the ability to utilise tools to assist the family courts to unlock the problem of alienation in children, leading to better mental health and safeguarding from emotional and psychological abuse.  For parents who are suffering from alienation, insight is offered into understanding, coping and managing the problem both independently and in conjunction with the family courts. Drawing upon over fifteen years of successful work with alienated children and their families, the authors introduce working methods which demonstrate that the treatment of the problem of alienation must be approached correctly to avoid entrenching the child’s rejecting stance.

 Acknowledging the work of many esteemed colleagues who have developed internationally recognised protocols, the authors add their own unique experience and tools to show how such work brings about change for children affected by the problem.  This series of seminars is intended to provide as much information as possible to parents and practitioners about how changing understanding and practice around alienated children, addresses the legacy left by alienation which is destructive and deeply damaging to children over the life cycle. Addressing the interruption of intergenerational cycles of alienation and estrangement, the authors show how acting in the here and now protects future generations from suffering similar outcomes.

Seminars for parents will be held in the UK, Europe, United States and Canada from July 2017.

Training for professionals utilising the model developed by the Family Separation Clinic will be available in the UK, Europe, United States and Canada shortly.

For more details or to enquire how to hold a seminar in your area, please contact us at

Full details of seminars will be posted here and at the Family Separation Clinic website  and on Parental Alienation Direct.

For details of how to join the new European Network for Alienation Practitioners which will be hosted by the Family Separation Clinic and which convenes in Prague on July 11th at Charles University, please contact

Woodall K, Woodall N. (in press)  Understanding Parental Alienation: Learning to Cope, Helping to Heal. Illinois. Charles C Thomas.  

‘Understanding Parental Alienation is unique… a balance of scholarship and practical, hands-on experience.’
William Bernet M.D., Professor (Emeritus) of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, Vanderbilt University, TN.

‘Understanding Parental Alienation is… a highly valuable resource for parents, and a must-read book for every mental health professional, social worker or legal professional working with families in divorce.’
Professor Gordana Buljan Flander, Ph.D. Psychologist and Psychotherapist
Director of Child and Youth Protection Center of Zagreb


  1. Hi Karen, it’s Luke Matthews here. I have been following your work with great interest over the last three or four years or so and sincerely hope you are successful in your mission. As an alienated parent myself, who hasn’t seen my daughter in over 10 years, I would be quite happy to share my experiences at any of your seminars if you thought it would be useful. Good luck, Luke Matthews.


  2. Hi Karen

    Do you run workshops for fathers AND children by any chance?

    My son is 16 now.

    Brilliant son – really fantastic …. especially after ALL he has been through.

    I am sure you have heard similar stories a million times over. I never lived with my sons mum – separated before his birth. I went to Court 30 plus times, spent a fortune (sold my house – all worth it). Suffered 2 breakdowns – son doesn’t know that part – paid child support religiously etc etc – never responded to all the alienation – you know the whole story without any further detail. Mum has NEVER called me Dad etc in front of son.

    last October, child benefit was put in my name…. just before son’s 16th birthday. My son wants to change his surname to mine on his 18th birthday (i never push it… so son’s own choice)

    I wondered if a workshop would help us both etc. Both very happy (I just dont want anything to affect him in the future – after what he has been through etc.




  3. This makes me very happy, well, that is, as very happy as i can be considering all things. Thank you Karen. I would love to have a kickabout one day with Nick(ive just got a feeling that talking and footy go together well when there are ears to hear) and that young grandlad of yours and show him a few tick tocks and double-v’s! x

    Got me thinking that, having a kickabout with Nick….a problem ive faced is staying active, staying fit…and with like minded folk to chat with, share ideas or sound off with. Im wondering what the FA could do about that or my beloved blades…and the Sheff Utd foundation, wonder whether they would be up for providing support and help, at least facilities somewhere for a few hat tricks and a bit of healing, preparation and conditioning to take place for the challenges ahead. I could see myself doing something like that…open to alienated moms too….i’ll have them all at the top of their game, academy level in no time at all. Seriously, i could tell them the tales about me and josh…how we coped, when we didnt…what we were able to do despite what was raining down on us….and what a difference a little support…and what a little experienced guidance would have meant to us when we were isolated and without voices, just for someone to know and understand would have made the world of difference….not only to me, but most importantly the laddo himself…..if he knew there were eyes outside of it all watching and keeping track of what was happening. The presence of friends in such a situation, friends who understand and stand with you are massively important. The presence of professionals who know whats what are invaluable, they are no guarantee of ending the alienating behaviour…but it removes the isolation, the total sense of helplessness and despair, the presence of professionals who know whats what can at the very least provide a twinkle of starlight for those being consumed by darkness… are not alone, we see……we’re coming, hold on. x


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