How to Change the World

Yesterday I worked with an inspiring group of people who attended our only UK practitioner training to be held this year.  Despite a couple of technical hitches, we worked through the day on the principles used by the Family Separation Clinic to unpack and analyse cases of parental alienation. Each person was focused and brought to the training their own experience of working in this field. Psychologists, psychotherapists, child protection social workers, step parent support workers and specialist mediators and psychotherapists from Holland, all together in the desire to further understand the problem and how to work with it.  I ended the day inspired, invigorated and absolutely certain that the way to change the world for alienated children is to prepare and plant seeds in as many places of the world as possible and then water and nurture them and support them to flourish.  Which is what I will be doing with this group of ten people and what we will be doing with the new European Association of Parental Alienation Practitioners over the coming months and years.

We will also be doing the same in the USA in the fall where we will be convening a small group of practitioners to work with us over a year to develop skill and understanding in using international standards of intervention with alienated children.  This group is almost full now (only one place left) and we welcome people who are psychotherapists, psychologists and those who already work wth children, to develop knowledge and skill in the area of direct work with alienated children and their families.

Many people say to me that there should be more Family Separation Clinics and perhaps there should be. But I do not want to run a Clinic, I want to work with children and to research and write about that work. Nick who is also working with reunification programmes, equally does not wish to be a business manager and  therefore, the model that we have chosen to use at the Clinic is to work closely with dedicated practitioners to help them to grow their own practice in their own location.

People change people and people change systems and it is this which leads to people changing the world. I have no patience with people who tell me that it is all the fault of ‘the system’ or that this or that particular system is too different and too difficult to change. No system is above the power of people to make things change. When we began work in London there was very little spoken or written about parental alienation and very few services to help alienated children and their families. Now there is and the power of the written and spoken word and our willingness say it AND do it, has shifted prejudice and changed perceptions of what alienated children need.  This is being replicated right around Europe and those who lag behind do so not because of a particular system but because of the lack of courage/tenacity/vision and belief that things can be any different. Seeding new hope in such barren landscapes is all about finding the people with the courage and vision to do it and say it.  And as the problem of parental alienation begins to rise in the collective conscious, people will and are coming to add their own skill and their own passion to pushing the boundaries in systems which appear fixed or stuck.

This morning there are more people in the world who are ready to begin their journey as parental alienation practitioner.  From July 11th we will be developing a new association to support them and the many others who have joined us in our vision to create support, protection, governance and standardisation of practice in this field. In five years time I fully expect there to be recognition of parental alienation and how to support children and families affected by it, in every country in Europe, including those which some appear to think can never change.

Twenty years ago no-one considered the issue of autism with any real sensitivity. Thirty years ago the issue of child sexual abuse was barely recognised.  Today parental alienation is emerging as an issue which people recognise as being harmful to children. In the next decade we will see the response grow and the issue take centre stage in terms of its impact on children and on societies around the world.  And as it does, systems will fall and new growth will begin.

Because people change people. And people change systems. And when systems change, the world changes. All it takes is a few courageous people to say enough is enough and the change begins.

As it did yesterday.  As it is in Europe. As it will all over the world.


The European Association of Parental Alienation Practitioners meets in Prague on July 11th. To join us or to join the Association please email office

We are holding a leadership retreat in France in September, for people who wish to become focused leaders in the field of parental alienation. For more information please email

The Family Separation Clinic will hold a clinical training day for practitioners in Scotland in early Spring 2018 with six places available for people who are seeking to work with alienated children and their families in the Scottish family courts.  (4 places left, please email for details).

A Practitioner training and development group will convene in Boston USA on October 25/26 2017 with a two day training followed by a year long supervision and development group. (Only 1 place left, please email office for details).


5 thoughts on “How to Change the World

  1. Keep writing like that and you can be my friend again. Sorry for spitting the dummy. It’s just the massive bee in my bonnet about legal rights of parents, which they should have, equally, right across the board from welfare housing health and law.. unless child protection issues warrant the removal of said rights… and then the bee with money, where the current climate can make it nigh on impossible to take up the fight, and even where there is finance available for intervention then due to the nature of circumstances and multiple victims… I just find it repugnant that victims of anything at all should have to pay for any kind of help or intervention for the lucky few who can afford it, it sickens me that as a species that is the best we can do. We have to be better bigger greater or we are just rats pigs fishes and goats.

    People need to make their way and get by working in such a field, funding has to come from somewhere. We need to nail that. For the therapists and the victims.


    1. No more spitting out dummies? I am human and I bleed if you cut me. More listening less knee jerk responding? I will commit to it too. You and I have a long association and I am not going to cut you out because you matter, to me and to your boy. But don’t forget that I bruise and I bleed and I take a whole lot of personal and professional attack for doing what I do. This has never been about money for me, never ever. I get by and live a decent life by dedicating myself to what I do but I can tell you, the money is the least of it and if before I die I can make myself unnecessary in this field of work I will die happy and don’t you ever forget that because it is the truth. I hate the fact that people have to pay but the money they pay goes to those who can’t pay in our model and to research and to developing new ideas and ways of working. I give 12 hour days and seven day weeks to this work and do a whole lot for nothing because I care about families.

      The rights thing we can debate about, it is not that I think parents should not have rights it is that I think the rights based arguments cause a whole lot of trouble when we are trying to change the dynamic for the child. I also know that for my way of working, the alienated child is the starting point for all of the work.

      I reunited 27 kids last year and this year so far I have worked with 13 with three more about to happen. I would like that to be 1013 but the delicacy of the work and the time it takes and the sheer patience and focus on the family dynamic means that I cannot do more than what I do. But we are growing this as hard as we can so that there are more out there who can and will do it and we are nurturing them and supporting them. I took a bullet or two already for what I do and I don’t want others to do the same and so we are bringing a new association to life to support families. More people are coming and we will make the system fall by creating the alternative. Not quickly enough for some I grant you but I tell you what, this band of dedicated people have done more with less than any rights based group have ever done to change perceptions and belief systems and knock down walls.

      We are all bigger and more powerful together and you and me are of the same stuff. Just remember that I am a real person, Yorkshire or not, I hurt when you kick me. x


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