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The European Association of Parental Alienation Practitioners opens its conference booking today.  Headline speakers include leading researcher and writer  Amy J.L.Baker PhD. Brian Ludmer from Ludmer Law in Canada, Professor Gordana Buljan Flander from the Child Protection Centre in Zagreb, Barristers from 1KBW UK, Linda Gottlieb and Steve Miller from the USA, along with Psychologists and Psychotherapists who are pioneering in this work in Europe.

The Family Separation Clinic in London is hosting the conference which is designed to bring together key thinkers and practitioners in the field to educate, inform and work with mental health and legal professionals from all over Europe.

Parental alienation is an emerging field of work in the helping therapies and it is clear from our work around Europe that there is an increasing awareness and drive to help children and their families affected by this problem.  The European Association of Parental Alienation Practitioners, is a new membership and governing body for those who wish to practice in this field and it brings together a powerful group of practitioners in their own countries, to form a framework in which children suffering from alienation can be properly helped.  Ensuring that the problem of parental alienation is properly understood as well as treated, this conference offers insight and expertise into the issues which are at the heart of a child’s outright rejection of a parent after separation.

For too long the issue of parental alienation has been conceptualised as being about conflict between parents, when in fact it is a spectrum problem which at the severe end involves serious mental health problems in a parent and at the milder end involves problematic behaviours such as coercive control of children.  Whilst conflict may be part of the landscape of parental alienation, it is not the sole cause of an alienation reaction in a child.  Alienation in a child is caused by the child’s use of the coping mechanism of splitting their feelings into all good for one parent and all bad for the other, an infantile defence mechanism which requires that children are properly helped rather than left to suffer the consequences, which can be life long and deeply damaging.  Treatment requires differentiation of the reason for the entry into the alienation reaction, alongside intervention which is robustly managed by the legal system.  This is the legal and mental health interlock which is key to successful treatment of these cases.  This conference will focus upon helping delegates to understand how this works and how to manage such interventions in the shadow of the United Nations Rights of the Child Article 12 and the increasing emphasis on listening to the voice of the child in Europe.

The conference will provide unique learning opportunities for delegates, including case studies on successful practice and discussion groups for social workers, family court practitioners and expert witnesses in different European legislative frameworks. On day one, expertise in hearing children in cases of parental alienation, in a partnership between the Judiciary and mental health professionals in Croatia, will be showcased and case management of cases in the high court in the UK will be presented by leading UK barristers along with successful innovative practice in Canada and North America.

On day two, leading experts in mental health will discuss the role of expert witnesses in articulating the problem of parental alienation and pioneering practitioners from the UK, Belgium, Holland and Croatia will discuss best practice in mental health intervention.  In the afternoon, the experience of children who are now reunited with a parent, will be shown in a short film made about the recovery journey of the alienated child.  A panel of parents who have experienced alienation and who are members of the National Association of Alienated Parents in the UK, a group which recognises that the issue of parental alienation is about mental health not about parental rights, will also speak about their experiences.

The aim of the conference is to locate the issue of parental alienation in the space in which it properly belongs, which is the mental health of children and families  experiencing divorce and separation.

The conference will be fully accredited and CPD points for legal and mental health professionals will be available.  For anyone working in the field of family separation, this is a must attend conference which provides an opportunity for deep immersion in this increasingly recognised field of work.

Places for the Conference can be purchased separately, day one will focus on the legal requirements for managing cases of parental alienation and day two on mental health.  Two day tickets are available but limited to ensure that as wide a range of people can attend as possible. Buy tickets here.

Live streaming will take place on selected presentations, tickets for these will be available closer to the day.

A special event for parents will be available on day two, with Amy J.L. Baker, Karen Woodall and Linda Gottlieb.  Tickets for attendance at the live event will be available to members of the National Association of Alienated Parents and tickets for live streaming of this event will be available to parents around the world.  To register interest for this event please use the link on the booking page which is here.

Parental alienation is about the struggles of families to move through the challenges brought about by family separation and the hidden problems which emerge in such times of crisis.  The European Association of Parental Alienation Practitioners, is working towards a world in which children do not have to choose to lose a parent in order to keep one after family separation.  And the time when swift resolution is made possible by highly educated alienation aware practitioners, working alongside the kind of legal systems which bring rapid change and healthy outcomes for children.

This conference provides a link between those who suffer from parental alienation and those in a position to assist with proper recognition, management and treatment of the problem, so that best practice is informed by the most up to date research evidence, pioneering practice and the  real life experience of children and families.

Bookings are open now here, we look forward to welcoming you to the Royal Society of Medicine in London in 2018.

Please note that all profits from this conference will be used to further work with children and families who are living apart, research into parental alienation and work with children in schools in developing countries.

The Family Separation Clinic, along with others involved in this field around the world, would like to extend a special thank you to the parent who has made this conference possible.  At the Family Separation Clinic, we know that only by working in partnership with healthy parents, can we, as practitioners, bring better outcomes for alienated children.  Our grateful thanks for the work and investment which has been so generously provided by one such healthy parent, with whom we will continue to work on behalf of all children affected by the horrible problem of parental alienation.