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.