Above All Else Be True To Yourself

I am currently on a trip through Europe having travelled through Italy, Switzerland, Lichtenstein and now Austria. Next we move onto Croatia to further collaborate with the Child Protection Centre in Zagreb on developing their work and our joint plans for the European Association of Parental Alienation Practitioners.

Later this month we will be working at our  retreat in France to develop the skills of a key group of practitioners who will play key roles in the development of EAPAP and the raising of awareness across European And US borders, of the reality of parental alienation and the standards of practice which are necessary to properly help alienated children.

And then we move onto the USA and Canada where we will be presenting at the Parental Alienation Study Group Conference. After that we will be convening our USA training group, again made up of key people who we will work with over the coming year to develop skills and knowledge about reunification work with alienated children.

Back to Europe before the end of the year to work intensively with practitioners in Holland and by the time we get to the Christmas break, we will have trained and mentored almost seventy new practitioners in this field of work.

Our aim in doing this work this year has always been to establish a greater workforce in what is an extremely difficult area to work in.  Always under attack from someone, be it unhappy parents, disgruntled social workers and at times other professionals, staying true to oneself through it all can be a difficult task.  Working alongside others, with a network of professionals who really understand the issues and who are not afraid to take on the work of tackling the naysayers, it becomes more possible to stay focused. Doing the work is hard enough. Dodging the bullets becomes an art form in itself over time. Having others to work with helps to sustain the soul and the spirit and allows concentration on what matters most, alienated children and their families.

I have read recently, reams of rhetoric from some quarters about the magical ‘solution’ to parental alienation and the misrepresentation of mine and other’s approach to working with families and also about the threats to (with disconcertingly Maoist overtones) ‘rehabilitate’ me.  In doing so I have also observed how this concerted and  manipulative attack on the reputation of me and others, has divided parents who are suffering from the problem of having their children reject them.  It concerns me to see this.  It grieves me to see how vulnerable people are being used.  It changes absolutely nothing in terms of my work with families around the world and it strengthens my determination to stay true to what I know is right in this work. To thine own self be true. I wish every rejected parent in the world could hold that in the front of their mind. For it is this and only this which will get you through the fog.

There are so many wonderful professionals in this field of work who do fantastic things for  children and their families. All through this past year I have been increasingly amazed by the strength and the willingness of practitioners to come and join us at the coal face. From the psychologist in England who shrugged his shoulders at the risks involved, and said ‘let’s make it a test case,’ to the psychotherapists and independent social workers who have said ‘let’s do it, we are ready.’    In Europe where we already have forty practitioners working with alienated children with many more ready to train and to the USA where there is a ready, willing and able group of gritty and determined practitioners waiting to get going. So many who despite the risks and the hostility from some quarters, are doing it anyway because they know that the lives of children who suffer this horrible problem matter.

And so today, as we prepare to move on again in Europe and get ready to work with the Child Protection Centre again in Zagreb, I send a salute to all those who are already working with parental alienation all over the world, those who write about it, those who help families affected by and those who have joined us recently in our efforts to expand the workforce in this field.  To all those who are, to thine own selves being true in their understanding of the many roads to helping families that are present in this work, I say thank you.

Thank you for your sanity, thank you for your deep compassion and care and thank you for your selflessness in entering an arena which you know is conflicted and dangerous but one which you are entering anyway.

To thine own selves be true. Knowledge and wisdom, courage and compassion.  Respect and collaboration, creativity and care.  All present within our work together, all focused on helping families around the world.


19 thoughts on “Above All Else Be True To Yourself”

  1. Quite simply Karen, yes.
    There are many ways to make professional collaborations work, but they generally aren’t helped by anyone, practitioner or parent, seeking to denigrate others working histories and processes, and smash professional reputations along the way.


  2. TW. I suggest you send your comments where they are welcome. I am too busy to waste time arguing with fixed thinkers and people who misrepresent reality. I wish you well but you belong where your belief system is upheld not challenged. Your life, your way. I don’t listen to bullies.


  3. Good too see a strong Croatian contingent at Praha 2017. The level of skill over there is quite high and they will do a good job of it. I wish I was still there. My situation would be much better and clearer. My kids were abducted from there and now I am facing an adversarial legal system that compounds the problem.


    1. To WC international law is never easy. I know personally. Child Abduction is a crime in itself.


  4. Thank you for leading in this field in UK & being prepared to create, not only wider awareness of the issue & of the ways you have found to resolve it, but also a wider workforce, an army. For I can see now that this is a huge fight & the more professionals there are able to understand & resource the solutions, the better!

    As always, thank you for remaining focused on the children & keep on keeping on!


  5. Karen- Thank YOU. You are an inspiration. You are light, tearing through the darkness of deep dysfunction that remains highly unrecognized and/or untreated throughout the world. You have already helped so many. In sharing your knowledge, experience, strategy, and mastery of alienation, developed through years of personal work with these cases, you will be helping so many more. Practitioners will benefit. Societies will benefit. Alienated parents worldwide will benefit. And most important: countless alienated children across the globe will soon have hope of being saved from this terrible, childhood-altering, generational, profoundly devastating phenomenon. Your continued efforts to soldier on for the good of alienated families, despite the flames of negativity that would try to incinerate and stop your progress, is remarkable, admirable, and deeply appreciated.

    Please, when you’re feeling overwhelmed, close your eyes and listen. Beneath the roar of life, you will hear it: the lilting harmony of voices eminating into the universe, collectively saying “Thank you” amid murmurs of gratitude for all you do, all you have done, and all you have yet to do.


    1. thank you Higbye, that means such a lot to me. Contrasted with the horrible threats and the ever escalating drama coming from some quarters, it is a wonderful thing to know that what we do does help, it is all I ever want to do for families affected by this horrible problem. Thank you for taking the time to write this, I am grateful x


      1. Karen, I always think you know how much K and I are grateful from the bottom of our hearts and souls for your work, your support, your advice, your counsel, your research and your tenacity, but I want to re-enforce and reiterate it now. Thank you to you personally, and to Nick and the team.
        To add to higbye I’d say that alongside and beneath the lilting harmony of voices emanating into the universe are the silent sounds within children you’ll probably never meet, who will probably never know (if they’re lucky) how much you’ve done to pave the way so that they are supported to take a different path to the children who’ve gone before them. I know that awareness of what we came to know as PA came a year at least too late for us, and real knowledge of what was happening in front of us two years or so too late.
        For the first time ever recently, and after much consideration, I sent a message via private social media to the child in my life, and as a result that avenue is now blocked to me. The message spoke only of love, and patience, and offered a welcome always to the child and the parent they live with. I hope it was read. I’m sure if it was it would have stirred feelings and I’m not sorry for that. I presume that’s why the avenue closed. I think it’s especially hard for teenagers to reach back out to their ‘lost’ parents for help, when they’re just at the stage when they should naturally be withdrawing from parents anyway. I hope one day you’ll write a piece directly speaking to that cohort, as you have for younger children, so I can put it where, one day, it might be seen.
        Best wishes, as always.


      2. thank you CG and thank you for the words you left elsewhere too about our work, I hope you do not face attack for doing so. I will write some more about children when I am returned from our training in Zagreb. I will respond to you too on the message you sent x

        Liked by 1 person

      3. you are right CG there is no point. There madness lies I am afraid and ever increasing delusion.


  6. TW. Your comments are being noted. You are better served in the place where your distortions are upheld. I do not respond to bullying or harassing behaviour.


  7. Hi, Karen,
    Thank you for the update about your international tour and efforts to mobilize leading practitioners in Europe. Your blogs are very appreciated, thank you for sharing your work.

    Along with encouraging the further development of the EAPAP, I would like to develop a joint strategy for practice-based research as well, both for clinical application and for investigating fundamental issues such as:

    cases and changing practices by lead professionals, reforming assumptions and old-school systems.
    devoting more in-depth PA work to recognition and acknowledgement of the position of the children of different ages, the targeted parents, and their observations and challenges, as well as ways to get in touch with alienating parents, their awareness, and their motives.
    awareness raising of PA,impact and interventions among professionals.
    It is very interesting to research further what you have observed in practice so far: that alienating women are more often afraid, while alienating men are more often angry; and how to clarify the relationship with domestic violence and coercive control.

    I am scheduled to address the issue of alienation in the context of post-divorce (lack of) safety at the second European Conference on Domestic Violence next week in Porto, and to discuss it with an international community there. So let us unite in an international EAPAP work group to pursue a strategy for research and joint efforts to address this pressing social issue, which is so often misunderstood and ignored. I would like to participate in that part of the movement.

    Sietske Dijkstra, the Netherlands


  8. We have contact centres being used for some cases, I feel it’s important not to let any alienation turn into long term. The controlling, has to stop as quickly as possible.
    As with Beth in Vienna, they are divorced. Time to move on. How can you move on when the situation is far from being free to so.
    Like with mine, 10 years plus is a very long time to either adult or child.


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