Practicing, Protecting and Promoting. Introducing The European Association of Parental Alienation Practitioners

We are just back from Holland where we training another group of practitioners to work with the differentiation model of the Family Separation Clinic in parental alienation cases.  This brings the total of practitioners trained this year to just over seventy.  During our training in Holland, which involved lawyers and mental health practitioners, we examined the core concepts of the differentiation model and appropriate treatment routes.  We also examined the way in which these models interlocked currently with the Dutch legal system.

The mental health and legal interlock is a critical element of any treatment route for parental alienation.  This is internationally recognised and was discussed at length in Washington this year at the Parental Alienation Study Group Conference, by Brian Ludmer. You can see his discussion of the model which properly supports intervention in parental alienation cases here.  The Family Separation Clinic works with this approach and trains others to do the same.  In doing so we know that any practitioner who does this work, must understand the legal framework and the orders which support the mental health intervention.  This work cannot be done in a vacuum and anyone who is attempting to it outside of the legal system where there is no compulsion for behavioural change, will soon find themselves in deep water.  Alternatively, they will find themselves watering down the intervention to suit the behaviours of the aligned parent, which slows down progress and moves to fixing the rejected parent to appease the child/parent resistant coalition.  Neither of which are helpful to alienated children or their parents.

The European Association of Parental Alienation Practitioners is well on the way in its development and by the summer of 2018 will be open for membership.  In August the landmark conference Moving Upstream will be held in London where international experts from around the world will gather to consider the international standards of practice in this field in different EU countries.  Some of these experts will be fresh from the  PASG Conference in Stockholm 2018 and many practitioners are heading to Europe for a deep immersion in the subject by attending both events.  By Autumn 2018, we expect that the European Association will be protecting and promoting the interests of its members and through that rolling out interventions for families around Europe.

We have some powerful people working together to bring the European Association to life and we are confident that as we build the internal structure of this new governing body, we will draw upon the best of European expertise in psychology,  psychiatry, psychotherapy and the legal system.  Working with leaders in the subject of child abuse, coercive control, judicial training and more, what we are creating is truly representative of the needs of practitioners in this field.

2018 is shaping up to be the year in which the issue of parental alienation finally emerges into the public consciousness and the terrible trauma of a child being forcibly separated from a parent through psychological manipulation will be recognised.  A child does not choose to lose a parent.  The only circumstances where one sees the complete rejection of a parent which is accompanied by a campaign of denigration and a set of false beliefs that the parent being rejected is dangerous or harmful is in parental alienation.  Children who are actually abused by a parent do not reject in this manner.  Children who are removed from the influence which is causing the vehement rejection, are shown, when they are made fully cognisant of the change in the dynamics around them, to move from the psychologically split state of mind to integration, acceptance and healthy relationships.

There are serious issues to consider in the process of assessment and intervention and the European Association will enable collaborative research and evaluation.  It will enable the occupation of the scientific space in which practice and research can be critically evaluated, through provision of a research council and related journal.  It will also provide training programmes from basic awareness to a fully accredited certification of practice.  A core training in reunification work which uses internationally recognised standards of intervention is being curated now.  supervision for those in training will be provided by experts in the field.

We ended our training trip in Holland this week, with a workshop for parents in which we experienced all over again, a desperate need for education, training and practitioner development to bring urgent support to families.  Working with parents is always a moving and humbling experience in which I find myself confronted with the deep feelings of confusion fear, shame and despair that being rejected by a loved child brings to parents and grandparents.  These families have suffered enough.  It is not good enough that they must carry these burdens and it is not good enough that their children are not being parented properly because of what is happening.  Placed at distance these parents and grandparents know what is happening but are helpless to do anything about it. Their children at the same time, are in the care of a parent whose capacity to place the needs of the child before their own is questionable.  It is not good enough to give the child a choice, it is not good enough to turn a blind eye.  Children who reject a parent in this way are signalling that something is terribly wrong.  We know what the answer is, it is time to apply the remedy and liberally.

This is such a difficult field of work and, having been in it for a long time, I am at the point now where I do not want any other practitioner to have to suffer the personal and professional attacks that I and so many others who do this work properly, have suffered. When I work with my colleagues around the world and we share our experiences of doing this work, I feel supported and safe.  This is what keeps us going and what supports us through the really difficult times.  This is what the European Association will provide for all who wish to do this work properly.

The European Association of Parental Alienation Practitioners comes at a time of awakening consciousness of the harm that parental alienation does to families and their children.  Coming too is another form of protection and promotion of the needs of families and you will hear about this here too, soon. Very soon.

In all, I am ending 2017, in a frame of mind where I know that the risks to families posed by the lack of diligence in the CAFCASS plans are being ameliorated by the work being done behind the scenes and the attacks on me by another and his followers, do little to hamper progress.  That brings me a great deal of satisfaction, because I know that the collaborative practice and co-operative spirit have pushed this project over the tipping point.

‘Aint no stopping us now,’ as the song goes.

Here comes 2018.

Our workshop for parents in London on December 2nd is now completely full and we cannot accept anymore bookings.  We have squeezed some more places in but we cannot offer anymore.  For those making late bookings, the details of the venue will be sent to you in the next couple of days, the nearest tube is Angel Islington after which a short walk will take you there.

 The next workshop in London will be in March and in the new year, all of our workshops for parents  and practitioner trainings in Europe will be advertised on the Family Separation Clinic website in early January.

 

11 Comments

  1. Thank you Karen.

    I want to shout this paragraph from the rooftops

    “2018 is shaping up to be the year in which the issue of parental alienation finally emerges into the public consciousness and the terrible trauma of a child being forcibly separated from a parent through psychological manipulation will be recognised. A child does not choose to lose a parent. The only circumstances where one sees the complete rejection of a parent which is accompanied by a campaign of denigration and a set of false beliefs that the parent being rejected is dangerous or harmful is in parental alienation. Children who are actually abused by a parent do not reject in this manner. Children who are removed from the influence which is causing the vehement rejection, are shown, when they are made fully cognisant of the change in the dynamics around them, to move from the psychologically split state of mind to integration, acceptance and healthy relationships.”

    I want to put this under the nose of everyone associated with the case I live with to say – ‘see, – this is what has happened, and is still happening’ – I want to put it under the nose of the judge who said ‘I can see there is something wrong, let’s look a little deeper’, but then took the guardian’s recommendation to order no direct contact – (haven’t written to the MP yet that you referenced in Hansard recently so he can have first hand evidence of another ‘very rare case’ and see if he thinks its justified.

    And more

    and more

    Thank you Karen

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    1. CG,

      That paragraph also stopped me in my tracks. So much said is such a short space. If the truth in just that one paragraph was accepted as such we would all be in a much better place.

      Karen – congratulations on your progress to date, and Godspeed going forward!

      Like

  2. It is interesting that another group of people are criticising your work and attempting to undermine it, but when you think back Freud and Adler were in competition. Many great people have others too willing to undermine their great work in an attempt to portray their model as THE MODEL to work. Everyone develops theories and tests them out, in the end its the people that are focussed on others and not themselves that succeed.

    Personally I am looking forward to 2018 and positive changes to deal with PA. I thank you for giving me and many others this hope.

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    1. I agree Mike, as I said earlier in the year, when ideas come to the surface they come up in different places all at the same time – just a shame Childress saw fit to decide that that meant I was claiming his work for my own, when in fact what I was saying that the ideas contained herein are similar in several places. I don’t think there is THE model, I think there is a range of modalities to fit different elements of a spectrum problem and he has one such element which is interestingly curated. If only he could hear that instead of preaching hell fire and brimstone and demanding his way is the only way to heaven. 2018 – going to be a big year, we will work hard on all fronts for you and your children. K

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  3. Karen, I respect your thoughts and your research. While I understand that the focus of your work is on currently-alienated children, do you have any recommendations for materials or resources for those who are emerging from alienation? After 8 months of silence, my daughter, who will be 18 next month, reached out and asked to move in with me. She hasn’t stayed in my home for nearly two years. She spoke with me at length the first night back, describing how her stepmom had been furious with her 8 months ago for having enjoyed a day out with me, and called her ungrateful and said she wanted their time and money if she was just going to see me anyway. So she cut ties with me for her own well-being in the home. She also explained how her stepmom had become increasingly more controlling, including making her quit a job she loved without giving any notice, and telling her to drop out of her college classes because she was upset. She would spy on my daughter through her bedroom window, accused my daughter of sleeping with a male classmate who is only a friend, and literally ransacked her room looking for “evidence” of wrongdoings. She said that through all of this her dad simply said he would stand by his wife.

    Knowing it’s best for her to not hate either household, I told my daughter that although I disagreed with her stepmom’s actions that she was parenting the best way she knew how. My daughter is coming to terms with things slowly, and just beginning to look at the situation (which has been happening since she was 10) with fresh eyes.

    I bought the DVD “Welcome Back, Pluto” but haven’t yet shown it to her. She’s only been here a week so I want to give her a couple more days to catch her breath, and then I’ll leave it with her to watch on her own if she so chooses.

    Do you have any additional resources that might help the newly-returned child adjust and become more enlightened and less burdened?

    Thank you in advance for any resources you may be able to share and/or direct me to!

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  4. Karen’s, something for you to have a nosy. This really makes sense to me when I consider where I have been since Josh disappeared and my dad died. This article is immense, I know it to be true. The last few months a shell has been breaking in regards to me understanding myself, it’s not been easy and is still ongoing, but there comes a sense of liberation when delving deep and wrestling with my own personal narrative which has been affected by past events and traumas and in turn that PN affecting my sense of consciousness and personal awareness, often driven from the personal narrative affected by past events and although a protective mechanism it is also constricts, constructs and funnels the experience of now in relation to the PN… until something or someone external pierces the PN…. to affect the subconscious projections and expectations into personal awareness and the conscious experience.

    I’m still digesting lol

    This ties in very neatly with transgenerational haunting I think… where the personal narrative is coloured and formed by trauma of past events and interactions and not just the individual but also of their family and environment thus directing maladaptive behaviour in the present as a result of unresolved deep rooted conflicts in the personal narrative embedded in the subconscious which affects the conscious experience and hue and integrity of personal awareness.

    Have fun, enjoy x

    http://bit.ly/2n7o1tI

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  5. Just to add to my last comment ..

    It seems the subconscious works to consolidate, organise, clarify and present a lucid experience of the living moment of “now” to the conscious mind in the formation of our thoughts, but where there is no time for reflection and immediate action is required then instinct and reflex which are directly linked to the subconscious and biological polarised directives of survival are actuated… Like if you stick a hand in a fire and without a thought pull it out… thats reflexive beyond even the personal narrative and not exclusive to our species.

    Our thoughts, conscious experience may well be like a rainbow, but art is instructive as well as beautiful.. and sometimes disturbing.

    An old manics lyric… with a nod to an allie meal episode….

    “paint the things you want to see, it doesn’t come easily”

    X

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  6. George is a coward. There was something he wanted to say to the group that he just couldn’t bring himself to do. He knew it would probably invoke much anger, sadness, bewilderment, denial and he didn’t want to hurt the parents, eager for reconciliation with their children, any more than he had to.

    So, he spoke in third party terms much like he had done to his children many years before as they made their first tentative steps across dandlebear bridge.

    It was plain to George that if these parents were to re-connect with their children they would have to behave like parents.
    Instead of this all he saw coming from them was their own personal loss, hurt, grievance, anger toward their former partner/society, grief, resignation, protestation, tinged with a glimmer of hope.

    There was a yearning, to recover the lost parent/child relationship even though the son was now a young adult and the parent a grey- haired, stooped and sad eyed broken sole more damaged from the trauma of parental separation than he was aware of.

    These feelings all came to light when George had been watching the Jeremy Kyle show. He knew Thomas who was slouched in an easy chair facing a baying audience. Thomas was a guy who came to a couple of meetings with the group last year; he still held out hope for reconciliation with his teenage daughter even though he thought his Ex a real obstacle to this happening.

    Thomas was being berated by the compere for, “not doing enough” “being more concerned about himself than his daughter”. “Owing her for all those birthdays he had missed”. “You’re not a father” the compere cruelly sneered at Thomas.

    As if that wasn’t bad enough in came his teenage daughter who had been waiting in the wings champing at the bit, ready to give her father a piece of her mind. “You haven’t been there for me” she screamed. A torrent of complaint and heartache issued uncontrollably from her mouth as her body trembled and tears flowed.

    But still Thomas remained dogged and transfixed refusing to accept this barrage of criticism, he hadn’t done anything wrong, He had tried to be a parent but there was just too much resistance coming from his Ex. and her entourage of willing helpers. You could hardly blame Thomas.

    The positioning of the chairs mimicked the jousting that was going on in the minds of the players. Firstly, the daughter dragged her chair away from her father’s, metaphorically representing the current state of her relationship with her father. From a distance across the stage she screamed abuse at her father, whilst he cowered and froze, nonplussed at her behaviour.

    “Go on then!” the compere berated Thomas, “I’ve seen more life in a dead duck”. Thomas shifted uncomfortably in his chair, forced to admit, against his better judgement that, he could have done more.
    “Do you want to be a father? “riled the compere. Why don’t you behave like one? Thomas began to concede and show the vestiges of compliance, suddenly in an impromptu move he went over to his daughter and put his arm around her in a consoling manner.

    She didn’t know what to do continuing to berate and chastise Thomas, but she didn’t move from his weak and gentle embrace, almost as if she had a yearning to be there. “I wanted you she screamed” her body shaking uncontrollably and tears streaming down her face. For a moment Thomas again began to defend his position by excusing himself for not being there for her, but then he was promptly rebuked by the attentive compere.

    As they left the stage the re-united parent/child relationship was promised ongoing therapeutic work from the professionals behind scenes.
    ………………………………………………

    George was telling this to Jane, because like Thomas he was too afraid to face what had to be faced. He was afraid of the backlash. It wasn’t easy to put the past to bed for the hope of healthy future.

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