Understanding Parental Alienation: Learning to Cope, Helping to Heal

Our new book contains everything we know and have learned about parental alienation from our direct work with families in the UK over the past decade.  This book is based upon the application of theory to practice with children and families and as such is a guide book for parents as well as the practitioners who work with them.

In our practice with families across the UK,  we have found ourselves up against the most extraordinary opposition to the concept of parental alienation and the harm that it causes to children and their parents.  In Scotland for example, where only recently the concept was dismissed by a family court practitioner as nonsense and in various strands of family services, where the lack of understanding causes children to be burdened with choices they are too young to make.  The struggle to educate and enable the proper recognition of the problem both in legal and mental health terms, is ongoing around the world.  Thankfully, with the recognition given to the problem, by serious publishers such as Charles C Thomas, the task of education should now be made easier.

Screen Shot 2017-08-09 at 10.21.03

Parental alienation is a problem with a human face.  It is not one which can be reduced to a neat formula which is replicable in every case.  Psychological splitting, which is the underlying problem in children who are alienated, is the division of all feelings into wholly good for one parent and wholly bad for the other.  This is a defence mechanism which is used by a child who is under intolerable pressure.  It is the child’s way of resolving an impossible dilemma and it is used by children in many different scenarios after divorce and separation, not simply where one parent has a personality disorder or where one parent is consciously and deliberately poisoning the child’s mind.

Parental alienation is a spectrum problem in our experience and children become alienated because they are vulnerable to the dynamics around them.  Some may be completely resistant to those same dynamics and others may capitulate easily to them. The severity of the reaction plus the analysis of the dynamics around the child leads us to the understanding of how and why a child is affected.  In addition, this gives us the knowledge we need to build the intervention which will bring dynamic change.

Our book sets out the way in which we analyse a case of a child’s rejection of a parent in order to develop the intervention which brings relief to the child.  This is based upon our direct experience of doing this work, which is combined with our understanding of the legal and mental health literature in this field.  In writing the book we wanted to do two things – a) provide parents with information they can pick up and use immediately and b) demonstrate how to combine knowledge with practice so that others can do the work that we are doing.

Doing this work is not easy in an environment which lacks understanding, allows  personal belief to dominate practice and furthers controversy by enabling the subject to be ridiculed and dismissed.  Parental alienation is a serious, life long, challenge for children and one which will, in our view, one day be properly and fully recognised as child abuse.

We wrote this book to help families, so that parents can equip themselves to manage the situation, so that their children do not have to.  We hope that now it is finally here, this book will contribute to change for alienated children all over the world.

14 thoughts on “Understanding Parental Alienation: Learning to Cope, Helping to Heal”

  1. Dear Karen and Nick,

    Thank you for all your efforts to get ‘parental alienation’ more and more recognised and sharing your experiences and knowledge in this book. By working together in PASG.info and EAPAP.eu and other experts, exchanging knowledge and experiences. When really understood and put in practice by highly motivated (and trained) practitioners, the field of child protection services, mental health, policy makers and justice, it will certainly help lots of children and their alienated parent/familiy to be able (and get the chance) to reconnect and heal, together, as good as possible from the period this form of psychological abuse took place. To make a new start in life, to bond again, in a natural manner and psychological healthy environment.

    Kind regards,

    Erik van der Waal



  2. Bought the ebook & have read lots of it today. It’s set out in a very useful format so you can head straight to the bits that are most relevant to your situation at the current time & I’ll go back I’ll read the rest later.

    It’s easy to read, really practical, especially written for parents & I’ve picked up loads of tips to prepare us for the next stage in our strategy.

    It’s unapologetically honest (brutally so, in parts) but also has a pragmatic approach that gives you hope, especially as the examples quoted could actually be our case!

    Thank you Karen & Nick – your perseverance & commitment to get to this stage of actually publishing such a great self-help resource, will be greatly appreciated by countless parents (& ultimately their children) for years to come.

    It’s a fantastic piece of work & this is the beginning of you creating your legacy.


  3. Signed copy please, from one yorkshire timelord to another !! Xx

    I may order about ten, half a dozen at least and then get in my Lancaster and do a few drops over enemy territory. Xx


  4. I’ll grab the ebook next couple of days, but need physical copies to hit a few on the head with. Prefably hardbacks. Xx


  5. Hi Karen, I had the pleasure to get to know You in person. I already understood alot about PAS but your 3 day course gave me all the answers. So this book means a lot for us rejected parents and for us health care workers in this domain. I’m convinced that one day PAS will be recognised by everybody as Psychological Child Abuse.
    I’m so greatfull to be able to work along yourside and under your guidance, to help families and children in need.
    Big Hug!


  6. Its hard to believe that some, as you rightly point out, working in Family law can’t understand the concept of PAS. It is just one factor I think that undermines our children not reaching their full potential post separation where it is acrimonious but a hugely important and very relevant one. Reading the synopsis, this seems like a very sensistively produced work covering a subject many are unaware of until they are regrettably caught up in it themselves.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s