Beware of False Prophets

You heard it here first folks, the dumbing down of parental alienation has already begun in the UK, with the announcement in the Guardian yesterday that CAFCASS are trialling ‘intense therapy’ for parental alienation cases.  This ‘intense therapy’ is being proposed alongside punitive measures such as the ‘permanent loss of contact with a child’ and a training course is being flagged as the solution to the problem.  Sarah Parsons, assistant director of CAFCASS is quoted as saying “We are increasingly recognising that parental alienation is a feature in many of our cases and have realised that it’s absolutely vital that we take the initiative. Our new approach is groundbreaking.”

Groundbreaking.   I will let that word sink in for a moment.

This ground breaking initiative, which is based upon something called the high conflict child arrangements cases handbook, is little more than a cut and paste project in which CAFCASS have decided to claim the PA space for their own.

Statements such as these are ten a penny for the media but for parents who have lost their children through the lack of awareness and training of CAFCASS officers, they are likely to be sickening.  Ground breaking initiatives are too late for too many parents and children.  Ground breaking initiatives which are cobbled together on the basis of the belief that parental alienation is all about high conflict are likely to do far more harm to these families than good.  Sickening is a strong word, it is not strong enough in my view for the way in which this government funded body has consistently denied that a child can be alienated and which is now swinging right around to claim that they are experts in this incredibly complex field of work.

Equally sickening is the reality that this ‘groundbreaking’ initiative, in which alienating parents are to undergo therapy (which btw is completely contraindicated by all of the international research on PA around the world),  is based upon a training which includes the following statements about parental alienation.

From page one of the high conflict child arrangements handbook

Screen Shot 2017-11-18 at 08.56.55

Not very promising start, it gets worse.

Screen Shot 2017-11-18 at 09.00.00

And here’s the summary

Screen Shot 2017-11-18 at 09.02.41

Those who want to scrutinise the cut and paste document which was produced in December last year, can find it here.

After years of denying its existence, after well over a decade of aiding and abetting the complete erasure of parents from a child’s life, here come CAFCASS, pronouncing that they are ‘increasingly recognising that parental alienation is a feature in some cases’ and waving their new project and their high conflict pathway training. A training which has all the features of the same kind of ingrained bias and lack of understanding that has been the fault-line in this government funded body from the start.

And worse than that, on the basis of absolutely no consultation with experts in this field, a cut and paste document produced in house, complete absence of the most up to date research, no mention of any of the expert evidence which exists, this ‘groundbreaking’ announcement is welcomed by Families need Fathers, who once again are seen to be appeasing a body with disproportionate power, which has made a misery of their members lives for far too long.

But wait.  Stop.  Don’t despair.  Remember I spoke of the antidote to all of this being on the rise?  It is.  It is coming.  The response to this (for me very familiar) state of affairs is on the way.  And for that I am thankful and reassured, because the nightmare of more parents and children being put through a trial of ‘intense therapy’ which is neither intense or therapeutic but which is wrapped up as the answer, will be averted.

The biggest risk to PA affected families in the UK right now is that their case will be deemed high conflict, they will be thrust into the hands of ‘trained’ CAFCASS staff and told that unless they sort out their conflict, one or both will no longer see their children.

But this can only happen if CAFCASS are allowed to go forward with these proposals and their high conflict pathway training unscrutinised and (as always) unaccountable.

Fortunately for the UK, there are more parents who are PA savvy than there are government funded CAFCASS officers and increasing numbers of practitioners in this field who are able to deliver successful outcomes for children captured by a parent’s mindset.  Fortunately there are enough of us who know that parental alienation is not about high conflict and those of us who know are able to do something about it.  Coming soon is the antidote to all of this false news.

Those of you ready to resist being shovelled down the pathway to being told that you are alienated from your children because you are involved in high conflict and need therapy, standby.  You will shortly find the support that you need to stay safe and stay sane in this world.

Watch this space for a very special announcement.  The battle for Britain’s alienated children is underway.


Special Note for parents 

When you are involved in a situation where your child is being alienated, you are especially vulnerable.  In order to avoid being pushed into a situation where you are told that you are contributing to the problem because you are in a high conflict situation, you must educate yourself to understand the ways in which family court professionals are trained to view you.  To understand how CAFCASS view parental alienation, read their high conflict child arrangements handbook – you can see it here.   And then watch these videos from the worldwide experts in the field on the way in which parental alienation is best addressed.  Notice the difference in quality and evidence.  Do your research. Read as much as you can.  Get help and guidance through the court process, build your strategy for court and do not be gaslighted by professionals who tell you that you have contributed to the problem.

Do not be passive. Act. Keep strong and healthy.  Watch this space.

Understanding Parental Alienation: learning to cope, helping to heal

by Karen Woodall and Nick Woodall

Published by Charles C Thomas

Available from Amazon

‘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 PsychotherapistDirector of Child and Youth Protection Center of Zagreb



  1. Well, my personal issues on the subject remain the same. As a grandmother in this situation I remain the only contact after over 10 years. A totally fractured relationship, much bitterness allowed to build up. The personal cost to a child is extremely unfair.
    Is it too late to rebuild? When I asked for help, it was only if the alienating parent wished, if course they would wish.
    Until a firmer idea on how we do it, and mean what we say this carries on.


  2. For those interested just heard that there was an article on the Andrew Castle LBC phone in on this very matter. Saturday 18th November 9.30 am. You might be able to hear a podcast? He was flabbergasted that the State would even intervene to the degree that is outlined is CAFCASS. it just shows how little is known about this subject and the suffering of Parents and more importantly the long term wellbeing of Children.


    1. well the thought of cafcass intervening in the way described is enough to put the collywobbles into anyone, however the reality is that they won’t, they will say they will but they won’t – either that or they are going to go crashing around removing kids willy nilly – can’t decide which is worse myself.


  3. Absolutely. CAFCASS doing alienation is like the fox in charge of chickens. At the recent FNF event on PA I asked why CAFCASS chose to nest their ‘breakthrough’ PA program under “high conflict” and their panel member looked confused. The reason is simple: PA encompasses several several forms of established psychological disorders and abuses that should invoke the s31 threshold, at which point it is no longer CAFCASS business. They would lose jurisdiction, involvement, influence and jobs to persons qualified. Never should CAFCASS be prematurely applauded before their claims are scrutinised by experts, as rarely do they then survive preliminary analysis, and on no account should this malign attempt by CAFCASS to maintain control be condoned.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. There is a 3mth consultation on these new guidelines. Can you possibly provide some wording we can use ourselves as parents, to contribute to this consultation?


    1. Absolutely can and will Ally and will be responding ourselves along with many others. And wait for the announcement of the new support service coming, not long now.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ‘Not long now’ – any firmer timescales? Is this the summer conference you have mentioned to launch EAPAP or something else?


      2. No this is parent power Ally, this is not parental rights this is parental care and it is coming to safeguard and support and gather the spirit of all those who know together in one place. The Berlin Wall came down because people cared, the right way forward will happen for the same reason. I will announce it here soon, early next year a formal launch and then onward to the conference when the real specialists will be in one place to teach and learn and share xxx


  5. I think it’s important to understand the position Cafcass is in. They are an organisation of PA-deniers, who have now (after years of concerted pressure from many quarters) been forced to concede not only that they are wrong, but that at present their army of FCAs (who are the people who encounter this form of child abuse on a daily basis) don’t recognise it, and indeed collude with it. When the lawsuits come (which inevitably they will) they may be able to try to defend themselves prior to 2017 by saying ‘Hey, who knew?’. They no longer have that possibility.

    They’re like a Flat Earth Society which has suddenly had to concede that the world is, in fact, round. And they’re exquisitely vulnerable now they’ve done that. They’ve got a whole load of maps and navigation aids that simply don’t work in a round world, and they’ve rapidly got to devise new charts to enable them to traverse the terrain before they sink into an unsuspected swamp and drown.

    I agree there is the potential for this situation to result in the ‘dumbing down’ of PA. But remember: this is a ‘crisis’ for Cafcass, and crises are also opportunities for change. I’m thrilled to hear the FSC are going to offer their expertise to Cafcass (along with other acknowledged experts in PA) so that there is, at least, a chance they will get things right (or at least less horrendously wrong). You guys have got all the round earth maps and navigation aids they need – evidence-based, evaluated in practice, academically rigorous. Something like an EAPAP-authored training package, made mandatory for all FCAs, with post-training evaluation and audit, could turn this crisis into a massive skilling-up, rather than dumbing-down.

    And, indeed, one of the things that training package has to address is the mistaken assumption that ‘high conflict’ equals two unreasonable people at war with each other and devil-take-the-hindmost. Most ‘high conflict’ is very different: one ‘high-conflict’ individual attempting to wreck untold destruction on their former partner by abusing their children, with the former partner – usually a very reasonable person – trying their best to stand firm, resist the abuse, and save their beloved kids.

    Thank you, Karen, for all you and Nick are doing. You are beacons of hope.


    1. Hi Phil, I am always humbled when people are so hopeful, it makes me realise that even when people have gone through hell they remain good hearted and hopeful that others are like them. Sadly after 30 years in this field I am a realist, I know what is coming, it is the same as the early interventions project debacle in the early part of this century,. CAFCASS won’t collaborate with anyone other than those who uphold what CAFCASS have decided PA is – high conflict which needs therapy – completely the opposite of reality. I tell you what though, in the spirit of co-operation and just to show those who think I am too combative, I will write to Anthony Douglas and share the letter and his response, (if any) on here. Let’s have a go – I might even send him and Sara Parsons our book in which we introduce new concepts in PA to the world. I will report back. K


      1. Thank you, Karen – that is exactly the idea I hoped you might come back with! A published offer of expertise, and publication of their response – perfect. I know you may well be proved right (I so hope not) but strange things do happen at times of crisis. And you have Sara Parsons’ published comments about their intention to ‘consult’ with PA experts in the UK and internationally to quote back at her. Very best of luck, and thank you again.


      2. I’m a sceptic Phil but always an optimistic one 🙂 I will do this later today and publish and will also write to Sara Parsons and take her up on her offer. K


      3. Lets hope so Families Need Fathers, in the current climate however and with reference to my concerns about your Chair Jerry Karlin welcoming this ‘groundbreaking initiative’ perhaps FNF might have a few words to say here about their position in relationship to CAFCASs positioning PA as a high conflict issue. CAFCASS have ignored your members for decades and have shown themselves to be unable to reform again and again and again, don’t your members deserve a lot more than hope? I am happy to post any response you might have.


  6. Hm therapy : “The new approach will initially give parents the chance to change their behaviour with the help of intense therapy.” Firstly I am sceptic that they will actually know enough to identify which parent is the alienating one and either share the blame equally or identify the targeted parent as the one who needs changing. I have seen the result of this, the alienating parent looks so sweet and innocent and if only the other parent would change this that and the other all would be well. The therapist sets to work on changing perfectly normal range and none-abusive behaviours in the targeted parent and it does nothing what so ever to change how the children feel. Meanwhile everyone feels so sorry for the alienating parent and praises them for trying so hard, when in reality that parent is doing nothing but stirring the pot of alienation in the background.
    Alienation is a child protection issue, it does not fall within the remit of CAFCASS to deal with this. Instead they should train their workers to know enough to know when to refer this to the experts.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The high conflict paradigm will be used solely against fathers to remove them and to thwart any challenge to the gynocentric narrative of family law and culture at large whilst lining idiot sick feminist therapists coffers, apart from the glorified token case of a mother being made to tow the line…because she isn’t feminist and the father is.

    Blamed, shamed, denied, coerced,….. Accept you’re a man, accept you’re the problem, accept you’re the core of high conflict, accept it, do as you’re told and be a good McDonald’s dad and pay up and clear off and stop causing conflict or lose your 2 hours a fortnight and one phonecall weekly. Be a good little grunt. Behave and don’t talk back to mummy or the authorities. If mummy isn’t happy nobody is happy. Be a good disposable now won’t you. Or mummy’s new man(the state) will take you out.

    Now, sign on the dotted line for consent for your treatment to begin. Thank you, now bend over and take it like a man, don’t you ever wince or murmur again.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Hello Carl, I met someone who has a case in Ohio. Another English/USA conflict. Mine is international too. The EU.
        Its so difficult for us with the added different country, different slant on laws.


    1. If ever the UK needed the leading experts in this field to come together this is it Howie. Like Childress, I don’t care what it is called but it has to be recognised and dealt with properly. Parents in the UK are on the brink of another confidence trick being pulled on them and right under the noses of people like me who know the truth. This isn’t about whether one model or the other is the true and right way, this is about a government funded body being able to use their state power to force vulnerable parents to believe that they are experts in this field. This truly is the battle for Britain’s alienated children and the appeasers will help CAFCASS by giving them therapeutic models of work which are completely contraindicated by all of the research evidence. The time for splitting in professional expertise is over as far as I am concerned, when this risk comes over the hill, those who know stand together. I am working with parents here in the face of many who will appease CAFCASS and allow parental alienation to be reconfigured as being about high conflict and therapy. Now is the time for everyone who truly gets this to help this country to fight for the right ways of working and supporting these families. This is why I will not be ‘rehabilitated’ into supporting Childress’s model, if I supported that here I would be sacrificing another generation of children because CAFCASS have already decided that PA is about high conflict and attempting to introduce another model (which has actually been used by psychologists and psychiatrists in the UK for five decades) would simply take us down a dead end for another ten years. Better now to have the fight about what PA really is and have it out on PA grounds, the task is urgent, it is necessary and it is now. Time for unity in the worldwide expert group, time to show that one’s own model is not more important than the lives of another generation of children. Imagine what would happen if Childress understood the risk and managed to heal the rift and repair the damage he has done by pushing his model at the expense of the reality of what parents and children are facing in the UK? I get his model because I have worked with it for well over a decade, which is why I have written about all of the elements over the years. I am doing several programmes currently with what he calls ‘contingent visitation schedules’ and which we, for years, have called clinical testing of contact with the formerly alienated parent (I spoke about it in Washington). Imagine what would happen if Childress came together with those people he labels Gardnerians, (which I do not recognise as being me at all). Imagine if the manufactured argument were dropped and we concentrated together on stopping the risks to more generations of families? He says he will do what he is doing with or without me, I say the same, I will do what I do with those who come to help and I will go to help with those who are willing to stand alongside me eschewing the need for their own model to reign supreme in order to put the greater good of families first. There is no such thing as a gardnerian, we are people who work our socks off to help these children and families.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I think the international failures will benefit from change. One of the most costly and difficult to solve.
    I’ve written many times on the subject of the case in Vienna. Like my issues it seems to go nowhere. There should be a way!!


  9. Defining damage to children as a ‘High conflict relationship’ is code for self serving. We want to continue the symbiotic relationship between feminist ideology and the state system of Family Courts rather than meet our obligation in Law to provide the Best Welfare of Children.

    It’s very convenient for Family Courts to run on a ideologically driven understanding. Rather than getting to grips with the reality of individuals, lets have a system that channels dopal-ganger outcomes. A warm ‘doing the right thing’ morality handed over by it’s partner as it goes on it’s merry way. Authority status and grants handed reciprocally back. The constant ‘nod’ of authority handed to each other when going about their daily business.

    The ‘right thing’ historically defined by Women’s Aid, and the multitude of other Women’s support groups constantly platformed to construct Family Courts culture by. Look at the historic record, look at the representatives, look at the decisions.

    Put the Women’s Aid level of ‘expertise’ up against established medical science and they don’t fit, infact massive areas of disagreement. Which one will provide a Childs Best Welfare? Why wasn’t this realised 40 years ago?


  10. Thank you, thank you and thank you. Their use of the word “groundbreaking” made us absolutely livid, and it is good to feel that we are not alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Well, it will be ‘groundbreaking,’ in the sense that, whatever it is, it won’t be in line with established and proven constructs and expertise, nobody will have been stupid or arrogant enough to have tried this before, and the thought of social workers stepping into specialist territory such as therapy in this scenario just shows how little about it they know.


  12. CAFCASS are hopeless biased and raciest ,, the child welfare is last thing they can have empathy for…..they always do it wrong expecting the father to battle, pay solicitors and to get more t release from high pressure of more cases coming to them and enjoy several trips to court in every hearing spending the remaining day out.


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