The Cult of the Beneficient Father: The Negative Transference in Parental Alienation

Ignoring the current discussions about me which abound on the internet would be a little like sipping tea with the elephant in the room sitting on the teapot to keep it warm.  Therefore, as I am first and foremost a psychotherapist, I feel it is my responsibility to face head on what is happening in the meta negative transference and examine it.  I take my role as therapist seriously and as I also write this blog on the subject, which is read around the world, I take that role seriously too.

As well as these roles,  I also work in the family courts in the UK as an expert witness,  I act as consultant in cases and undertake direct work with families.  I also take care of families by coaching and guiding them.  Increasingly I am involved in training delivery  around the world and supervision of new and developing practitioners in this field.  I am also working with colleagues to set up practitioner networks such as the European Association of Parental Alienation Practitioners. Along with Nick I am speaking at several international conferences this year including the one we are organising in London.  Nick and I are writing another book and finally I am working on my doctoral research into the support needs of rejected parents and alienated children, during the reunification process.

I take all of these roles seriously and consider that each of them are important in driving the debate around parental alienation forward.   All of what I do is in the service of alienated children and their need for healthy parenting.

In doing all of this I am aware of the toxicity of this field.  Toxicity in the lives of the families we work with and toxicity in the field of work.  This field of work is like no other I have ever been involved in.  It is brutal in the court process and brutal in the lives of of rejected parents.  As a therapist practitioner, I find myself facing not only the micro transferential material from alienating parents but the macro transferential material from some practitioners in the field.  I also find that most of this transference is negative.

As a therapist, I have a duty to consider transference in all of my roles, including the writing of this blog.  In writing this blog I am aware that many people transfer their feelings, both good and bad, onto me.  This positive and negative transference is something which is important because it gives clues to a person’s past.   Transference helps us to understand someone’s defences and the counter transference, (our own responses in the transferential relationship) helps us to maintain openness to helping.

The negative transference is that which is projected upon a therapist by the client when the client acts ‘as if’ the therapist is someone from their past.  Negative transference is exactly what it describes, the transference of all of the feelings of negativity which a client holds inside, onto the therapist.

Being British, I am most influenced by the British school of psychoanalysis in my consideration of negative transference.

I am influenced by the Kleinian thinking about objects relations theory.  Working with negative transference in this respect, is about understanding what is being transferred onto the therapist from the client’s own internalised negative objects.  In this thinking, the ‘objects’ are people from the past who have become negative or bad through the things they have done to the client.

The meta negative transference is something which is observed in the bigger world outside of the consulting room.  Transference happens this way when groups of people band together and project a combined negative belief about something or someone.  The meta positive transference occurs when a group of people believe that someone or something represents hope, salvation and the solution to a problem. The meta negative transference occurs when a group of people believe that someone or something is all that is demonic and evil.  God and the devil is a good example of how some people transfer feelings to external representative figures.  Childress and Woodall is another.

The current tidal wave of negative transference which is being generated by the ongoing denigration of me by Childress is important.  It is important to recognise it and it is important to work with it.  Kleinians believe that much can be resolved through the working through of the negative transference and hold that the therapist must be courageous enough to both face it and name it.  The facing and naming of the meta negative transference,  must however, be benign on the part of the therapist. It must be driven from a place of seeking to help those who are transferring these feelings, to retrieve them as their own, unwanted and split off feelings of hurt and anger.    Just as when I am working with alienated children, their hatred of me is not experienced personally, so the effort to interpret the waves of negative transference which are coming towards me now, is  driven from a place of professional responsibility.

The meta negative transference is a mean beast however and so I will do my very best to handle it carefully.

We will start with an analysis of how an alienating father evicts a mother from the lives of her children.  On a meta level, this is what is happening in the current climate.

How the beneficient  father alienates 

Step 1:  The mother must be depicted as the enemy of her children, cold, cruel and disinterested in their wellbeing.

Step 2: The father must be depicted as the children’s saviour, knowledgeable, wise and holding the reasoned and only answer to their problems.

Step 3: The children must be repeatedly prepared for psychological splitting, or, if they are already vulnerable to that state of mind, they must be kept that way by being told that there is a right way and a wrong way to do things.

Step 4: The children’s minds must be prepared to resist reason by the consistent issuing of information which warns them that their mother will tell them something other than the truth.

Step 5:  The children’s minds must be prepared to resist their mother’s loving overtures by pre-warning them that one day their mother will attempt to tell them that she loves them.

Step 6:  The father must consistently present himself as the saviour of the children, the only one who can help them.

Step 7: The children must be repeatedly exposed to the denigration of the mother, they must be encouraged to join in this denigration until they are unable to think for themselves.  To deepen this state of mind the children will be given reasoned arguments for why this is necessary. These arguments will make sense to them because they will feed on the split state of mind – the world is against you, there is an answer to your problems, your mother won’t give you that answer, but I will.

Step 8: The father must tell the children that their mother is dangerous and wants to harm them.

Step 9: The father must tell the children that their mother has threatened to harm him but he is going to protect them.

Step 10: The father will preside over the children’s now independent conviction that their mother is the wicked witch of the west and their father their one and only saviour.

This narrative plays itself out in almost all cases of pure alienation.  It is a recognisable approach which is also used by cult leaders to isolate people and prepare them for life within the cult mindset.  On a meta level, this is what is being played out right now in the field of parental alienation where I have almost literally become the wicked witch of the west in the combined consciousness of the Childress followers and he has become the saviour of the children.

It makes me incredibly sad to witness it because it is a mirror of what happens in parental alienation.  That it is happening on this macro level however, is perhaps one of those things we have to work through.

And as I said previously, if it adds to my experience of what being a rejected parent feels like, nothing is lost.

However, it also adds a lot more than that to my understanding of this work, not least the rich seam of information which can be gathered from the negative transference.

The negative transference which is currently being generated goes as follows –

  1. Karen Woodall is dangerous.
  2. You must not criticise Karen Woodall she won’t abide it.
  3. I (Childress) have been threatened.
  4. Karen Woodall you must not harm targeted parents.

In those four core statements what is being put forward is the notion that the mother figure is dangerous and the father figure has been threatened.  The notion of the mother figure being potentially harmful is proposed alongside the positioning of the father figure as the protector of the children from the harmful mother.  The whole of this concept is driven on the vehicle of the mother figure being intolerant of criticism.

Thus the father is able to evict the mother from the lives of the children by convincing them that their behaviours (which he has incited and encouraged) are acceptable criticism.

The question is, what is the difference between criticism and  leaving threatening and abusive messages on this blog and by sending abusive emails around the world?

By way of example here’s a sample of the comments and emails I have received since last summer

‘Gardnarian PAS must die and you will be the first Gardnarian  to die…

You are a fraud and you are stopping the solution, you will be exposed one day for this….

Karen Woodall is a fraud and a criminal….

If you don’t co-operate you know what will happen….

Karen Wodall. You have a disorder personality issue….

Oh and Karen, if you are going to continue to pretend you are Europe’s big PA “expert” and not step back…

If you start to cooperate now, I will leave you in peace, if you don’t, it will get worse day by day…

Karen if you don’t take this chance now and start to cooperate you will be publicly exposed as a greedy, selfish, stupid, narcissistic….’

And from Childress himself, in an email to the person who left the latter two comments –

‘BUT – BUT – they MUST switch to advocating for an AB-PA model of the pathology.  If they switch to AB-PA and begin cooperating with the solution, then we have peace.  If they continue on their present obstructionist course, then they can be assured that they will pay a price for their obstructionism’.

Is this criticism, or is it threatening and abusive?  I would say it is the latter and on a repeated basis it becomes more so.  I would also say that encouraging vulnerable parents to do such things is outside of the ethical requirements of a clinical psychologist.  Add to that the reams of denigrating commentary which has been posted on the Childress blog about me since last summer and the whole thing becomes concerning.

If I were to analyse the negative transference which is contained within the portrayal of abuse of me as criticism and the idea that because I am not willing to tolerate such abuse I am somehow dangerous, I would have to ask this –

  • What makes this person reconfigure his own beliefs about another in such a way as to portray me as dangerous and himself as victim of my wrong doing?
  • What makes this person lead others to believe the same?
  • What drives this person to want to split the world into good (with only himself holding the goodness) and bad (with anyone who disagrees with him becoming the recipient of all that is bad within himself and others).

Because the negative transference does not belong to me but to the person who is transferring it, my next step is always to ask the question –

why this, why now, why me?

  • Why has this negative transference arisen?
  • Why has it arisen now?
  • Why is that which cannot be held within the self, projected onto me?

The answer lies in the manner in which the father figure is driven to alienate the mother figure from the lives of the children.

In view of the fact that I have not attacked Dr Childress in return, have publicly acknowledged the importance of his curation of knowledge about pure cases of alienation and have offered to test his model in a clinical setting in the UK, the reaction to me seems disproportionate and out of keeping with reality.

Whatever causes this continuous denigration and portrayal of me as the person who is withholding the answer to the problem of parental alienation, lies only in the mind of Childress himself.

And until that question is answered, the children will remain convinced of the evil doing of the mother and the perfection of the beneficent father who holds the only solution to their problems.  They cannot do otherwise, they are programmed, encouraged and given permission to do so.

Which leads me to wonder, when it comes to Childress’s recent exhortation to me to not do harm to the targeted parent ‘children’,

who is it that is actually doing that harm?

To be clear about the ongoing stalking, abuse and threats that I have been dealing with.

I have been advised that it is not acceptable to leave such threats on public forums and that I should consider whether to pursue a course of action under the malicious communications act in the UK.

I have also been advised that I should consider sending the material to the relevant licensing board.

Dr Childress was not threatened, he was simply approached with a request to discuss the situation which is becoming intolerable in terms of the misrepresentation of my work in this field and the ongoing threats which I receive.

A further note to all  readers of this blog.

This blog is a blog in which I write about my experience of working in the field of parental alienation. I have been writing it for almost ten years now.

It was never intended to be a public forum although I have always had the commentary section switched on, which has meant that it has evolved into a place where people visit and leave comments and at times discuss emerging themes and thoughts.

It is not however a public space which ‘belongs’ to parents and I have always (and will always) moderate comments to ensure that this place remains open to all and positive in its support of families affected by parental alienation.

I work in a field where I am continuously being criticised and my work is being cross examined and critiqued.  In such an emerging field there are many people who are critical of the concept of parental alienation and so I face criticism almost constantly as part of what I do.

I write this blog in my personal time, I do so because I care about families. In doing so I do not wish to be subjected to the kind of threats and abuse that I have received since last year when the campaign of denigration against me by Childress began.

I therefore can and will refuse to post any abusive comments and I will make no explanation or apology for doing so.

And I can and will, continue to keep this space a safe and positive place in which hurting parents and their relatives can visit and receive information, support and guidance in peace.











  1. Wow Karen, I don’t know what to say on so many levels.

    Firstly I am so sorry you are being put through all this. I don’t follow Dr Childress so don’t come across anything from or about him (and I don’t go searching either) but the quotes you posted are beyond dreadful. You don’t deserve any of that and I hope you never stop writing your blog or allowing comments. There is such a terrible need for people like you and for a place where alienated parents specifically can go. I know, I of course am one of them. To me you talk so much sense and that is why I keep on reading and sometimes seeking a way to express my sadness and yes, my frustration and even anger at this mindless thing that happened to me and countless other parents.

    Secondly the points you posted under: How the beneficient father alienates struck such a chord with me. Every single one of them resonated and clanged bells so loud I could hardly think. My mind has gone round and round in circles over all the many years it was happening to me. I could best describe it as living on a different planet or in a parallel universe where nothing made any sense at all. I have struggled for years to try to understand WHY. I’ve read everything I possibly could and I ended up here. Today I have finally accepted that all of things were in place long ago but I still wish I knew how he’d happened upon such a perfect formula for success. Maybe it’s just because I’d never think of it that I still can’t get all of my head around it.

    I don’t know how you’ll stop the denigration and vitriol that you’re experiencing but you know you have lots of supporters out here who appreciate all of your hard work. I hope you can get your head round it!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That step by step father alienation sequence is so clearly laid out in front of me in so many cases of father alienation.

      Mother alienation goes similarly too in a step by step sequence.

      It is all similar to cult leader behaviour.

      I send you love and a hug Willow. This place will remain a safe place when this is done with xx


      1. Why are People so Nasty Online? I really cannot work it out. Your article was very helpful I have been researching Narcissistic Abuse and have learnt so much about how I found myself in this position of having a completely brainwashed daughter and being an ex wife and an ex mother for the last 13 years. Your steps are laid out very clearly to me. Thank you for that. I went over and over in my head what did I do so wrong to my only child to make her leave at age 16? But I realize now it was not my fault. She was groomed for years by watching how he treated me with utter contempt, she chose the Money rather than the Love. My daughter has become Wifey number 2. She even has to Parent him now, by organizing his finances, trying to work around his Me First, Bills Last attitude. Why can’t we all share our thoughts and ideas together? If don’t our opinions remain fixed, when they should be fluid. Let’s all be Grown Up and leave this silly spiteful behaviour to the 2 year old’s where it belongs.


  2. “I have been advised that it is not acceptable to leave such threats on public forums and that I should consider whether to pursue a course of action under the malicious communications act in the UK.”

    As all your attempts to date have failed to put an end to this ongoing bruising episode, the above is a route whose time may have come. I wish you well whatever you decide.

    To experience mass criticism, hatred, negativity, is a bruising experience. Any rejected parent has, to a lesser level, experienced a similar scenario – branded negatively by a series of ‘professionals’, shunned by other people socially who see only the external rejection by ones children etc – it can be a lonely place and requires enormous reserves of courage to not only survive but to thrive in spite of it all.

    You are one courageous woman Karen Woodall! I’m glad you can use your psychological expertise to guide you through your current experiences. In turn we benefit from your psychotherapy expertise. So often your words have resonated deeply with me… feel understood and not rejected is a gift many are grateful to you for.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Sadsam.

      Well we will see what happens next, so far today nothing abusive or threatening and so perhaps the negative transference is being withdrawn. Let’s hope so.

      Will be good to get back to what really matters.

      You and your children


  3. “It adds to my experience of what being a rejected parent feels like” …….. and to think, you’ve quoted only SOME of the communications you’ve received …….. I have 😞


  4. I think you’ve made very good pertinent points for not just parental alienation but for everyone.

    If people could read, absorb and use the paradigm of splitting (at various degrees) especially in terms of how they present themselves in everyday life. Since learning about splitting, delusions, cognitive distortions and now Ulric Neisser’s work its made me come to the conclusion that most people have no idea of their own sense of self. So much so that I struggle to find genuine adult human beings in this world of adult children. Sadly, I think it’s getting worse generation on generation due to the family unit being systematically destroyed by mostly feminism.

    Loving your very wise insightful considered words, as always.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It seems to be a universal product of our societies around the western world to be involved in psychological splitting. We are too removed from each other, too digitised in our emotional and psychological worlds.

      Would those people who left those messages say those things to my face? Some maybe, others absolutely not.

      I will read Ulric Neisser, thank you for the recommendation.


      Liked by 1 person

  5. Having been a part of the fathers movement since the early f4j days I can only say “the cause” has actually gone backwards in terms of how much good it is for fatherhood .
    “progress” has been negative . The situation is worse now than it was 15 years ago for dads.
    My view has been pretty much the same since the outset. The campaign is being played out on the wrong playing field.
    The legal “professionals” know full well the system primarily works well only for themselves .
    Too many people are trying to make a living and reputation in the arena of family breakdown .
    There is a lack of will from the government and the general public to do what is required to fix/prevent PA .
    I thank those who genuinely strive in this cause. It is ,as a high profile campainer once told me “a thankless task” to try and lead the damaged souls who come..


  6. I have watched with great horror and frankly with some fascination, the continuous denigration of you … the all good/all bad scenario is being played out perfectly. Given what I have learned, it is straight out of any PA literature! I wonder since he has attacked other PA experts if a class action suit would be in order. It really is a shame as he has helped so many, but his need to be front and center is harming people. I know some are feeling uncomfortable with what is going on on his FB page as they have messaged me to say that he has not only brought this forward but is encouraging the hateful and libel remarks and believe he is out of control.

    I am so sorry you have to put up with this nonsense, unfortunately, it seems to be the state of mind which is happening all around the world.

    We just keep looking up and moving forward

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Caron, thank you for your support both here and in other places.

      Some of the people will never integrate the splitting that is to be accepted. Others however will and they will, as a result, move on and that is the reason why interpreting the negative transference is important.

      I agree there is a fascination in watching the lies, the misrepresentations and the 180 degree views in the mirror in which what is being projected onto me is straight out of the internal life. It is also deeply saddening to see people being exploited in this way too.

      Childress has something, there is no doubt about it, I have always acknowledged it but the manner in which he has forced what he has upon the world is to my mind a tragedy.

      It takes nothing at all other than humility and kindness of heart to collaborate, listen and learn. I myself have some of Childress’s traits, I am the first to admit it, but I am learning.

      We need to be tough in this field but we do not need to take each other down in order to feel good about ourselves.

      I have had this in my life for a long time however so it is not something which will break me now.

      Tip of the day btw – Some people cannot change their tune, when you see those people going back to the conflicted stance again and again and again, it is usually because they cannot see anything in the mirror. xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I just now came across this post; thought I would throw in my two cents. I am not a psychologist, but there are countless examples which are becoming more evident across cultures, and at different levels from families, to large groups. Having also been listening to Jordan Peterson’s Maps of Meaning and Bible Stories; I am gaining the sense that this is a very deep and ancient psychological manifestation that apparently plays out far too frequently.


  7. Jordan Peterson would hold you in high regard Karen.

    Being dangerous(in the right arena) is important so you don’t get walked over.

    You are dangerous, not to alienated children or their targeted parents but to those who are Delusional, malevolent and with hidden agendas. Your light removes the shadows in which they hide themselves and from which he they pull the strings of the vulnerable.

    Stay strong. Stay focused. Stay Dangerous. Stay beautiful.

    Let the Alienating dragons know, you’ll bite their tales….and turn their firey breath back upon themselves. Xxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Carl, you and I have had fall outs and you have criticised me, we have occasionally had punch ups but we have found a way through. You know me. I trust you because you kept coming back and working with it until we found gold.

      I chose to write this piece because I know that there are others out there who may not get help because of the madness which is written about me elsewhere and the way in which this is being whipped up into a frenzy by untruths and misrepresentation and I knew that I was going to have to have the courage to stand in the full force of the negative transference and deal with it.

      I know you would tell me straight if I am playing the victim by posting those comments which have been left. You more than many others can smell that kind of manipulation a mile off. I am not going to be bullied anymore though and I am not going to allow others who can get help to be swallowed up in the untruths.

      I am a reasonable person, I can take it and then some. But there comes a time when enough is enough.

      The children in the here and now and the next generations coming through deserve a united effort in this work. To get to that place maybe we have to storm through a few battles internally.

      Thank you for the sharp light you shine on the reality and for sticking it out and letting me learn with you. K

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Carl Jung would love you too Karen.

    You’re a healer, capable of rescuing the father from the belly of the whale. You understand the journey, you understand the beast. You know

    You have greater strength and power than those who know only how to threaten, intimidate and assault. You are a creator. Your energies are higher frequency. You know there is more than one colour that makes up a rainbow, and makes up the light we see with limited eyes.

    The AB-PA model is an extreme approach that brands and scars, a model used by the naive, damaged, angry, power hungry and misguided. It’s akin to throwing petrol on a raging fire. They better be wearing asbestos suits going into UK courts with that model in their briefs case. BBQ time.

    Everyone, to some degree is clinically nuts. Apart from me, obviously. Where do you draw the line. Who has the most lolly to hire the best expert shrink to win the escalating adversarial folly where the whole point and reason for being there… is lost sight of.

    Mummy, Daddy, what are you playing at?

    Metallica do a lyric.. ‘You label me, I’ll label you..’ from the song the unforgiven.

    To me the AB PA approach is an extreme approach for extreme circumstances which can lead to an eye for an eye outcome, things made much worse especially if surrounded by incompetent professionals when lacking any foundational understanding whatsoever of why things have come to be the way they have and how to help those heal and live and make things better where possible.

    It is also an approach that would not recognise Alienation in different forms affected by other horizontal forces other than the perceived aligned and target parents.

    When hearts unite on common ground anything is possible… this is optimum parenting, allowing possibilities and potential in each other to grow.

    So with Childress you have two parents, both presenting Alienating behaviour, both using the AB PA model to oust the other, both millionaires, both using the best expert shrink they can, who wins? Is there any slant on the playing field?

    Certainly not the child who wins.

    The lawyers involved take it to the bank, playing the game as long as they are allowed ….. where the children are always the greatest losers….and parents encouraged by scoundrels continue to tare chunks out of each other reducing their capacities to be the best parents they could be.

    You’re the best Karen, I have no doubt Carl Jung and Jordan P would say the same. Xxxxxx

    I best get to Lane…. Missing first half. X

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I tried to read Childress’s writing but did not find it understandable or useful. Your writing makes more sense to me, is informative, comforting and supportive. I am sorry you are under attack and distracted unnecessarily. Much more could be done with civil discussion and working together for families. Time is of the essence; our children are at stake. Thank you for your work and generosity. No response needed; you’re busy. AAP


  10. Does he not realise how damaging this is to the whole community of professionals working with PA? We have enough trouble (in UK courts anyway) to show judiciary/cafcass there is a different way & more expertise in this area than the traditional approach which has been used for years & rarely brings reunification & healing for everyone.

    The repuatation of PA experts needs to be beyond reproach.

    How self-centred & egotisical of him to whip up this storm to only feed his own professional ego. The bigger picture is so much more important to (probably) millions of people.

    Keep rising above it & use all protection available to you.


    1. Hi Ally, I don’t think he cares to be honest. I see his repeated offers for a ‘professional’ debate online and endless nonsense about no-one daring to debate with him because they are afraid and frankly I realise that he and those who follow him truly do believe the nonsense. I wouldn’t debate anything with a man who has behaved so appallingly towards me. I consider him to be untrustworthy and unprofessional. That is not about being afraid of anything, it is about being a sane, self respecting individual who will not be bullied. If he had wanted a debate he should have done it in the way all reasonable people do it. The only reason he is shouting into the wind about everyone other than him being irrelevant is because the debate is irrelevant, he made it so. Which is tragic because there is merit in what he has done. But I am certainly not going anywhere near the man to discuss anything anytime.

      Having said what I have wanted to say for a while I WILL now leave it alone. No threats received today, if that stops then that is enough for me.


  11. Hi. I am in the US. I have 5 kids. One, my 15 year old daughter, is alienated from me, and has attempted suicide 2x. The other 4 kids are fine, other than being concerned for their sister, and have adapted to their parent’s “dysfunction” pretty well. I won’t spend your time with my story, but will say that I am sure you indeed do have the best intentions for “all the children”, Karen. You have great insight, and I have learned a lot from you , and my children have benefited from your words.

    I think Craig has the best intentions too. So you have some common ground. Craig can be quite blunt, but I do not think he has much of an ego, and I think he is willing to let the “credit” for “AB-PA” or whatever go to the others on “who’s shoulders he stands.”

    I really wish both of you would stop acting out the roles of estranged parents, and work hard to “get along” for the sake of the “children” (all of us, the laity) who are suffering so badly with no agreement in place to guide clinical / therapeutic interventions.

    How would you council the parents, in this case, if you were outside of it?

    Yes, this is complex. But so what? If you Karen, and you, Craig, can’t get along as professional therapists, what hope do we have that anyone else can help? Who else is WILLING to help? Who else is ABLE to help? Who else is KNOWLEDGEABLE enough to help? I am willing to set aside by issues with my ex, for the sake of my kids. Can you both, Karen and Craig please set the example that we all need so well, and do the same?

    As I child in this (“Karen + Craig”) dysfunctional relationship, I want this problem to be solved. Will you both please agree to a professional conversation? In Public, knowing and acknowledging that your Children are watching how you handle this?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment, I am sorry that you are suffering from alienation from your children.

      Your comment is curious in that it reflects so much the dynamic which affects rejected parents. You are a rejected parent, you understand alienation and how it works and yet even you believe that this is about two ‘estranged parents’ who should work it out for the children.

      In your circumstances, what would you do if the other parent consistently denigrated you, encouraged others to do so, wrote reams of unpleasant things about you, told others that only he had the answers and influenced the children to the point where they were willing to leave death threats for you?

      Would you still want to sit down and have a conversation with this person in the belief that you could somehow work it out with him, or would you read the red flags and recognise that there is no talking to be had because this person is using a set of strategies to force a hidden agenda upon you?

      This is not about two parents who are arguing. This is not a he said/she said situation. This is not about Karen Woodall doing very much at all (apart from standing up for herself right now).

      This is alienation. This is how it works. You may want it to be different but it is not.

      There isn’t anything that I can do here. Childress is the person who is laying down ultimatums, influencing people and demanding that it is his way or the high way not me. I understand his model. I have worked with it for a long time (though he would say I have not). I have acknowledged his model but it is not enough for him.

      I am not going to have any kind of dialogue with an unprofessional person who incites others to hatred and splitting. I am sorry, it would be madness to do so.

      When an alienating parent is hell bent on control and force we use all the boundaries possible to ensure that we are not damaged as recipients of that behaviour. That is what I am doing. .

      In the same circumstances, that is what I would tell you.

      I will not have any kind of discussion with Craig Childress because he is not professional and any such discussion would not be professional to professional at all as a result.

      There are many answers to the problem of parental alienation. His is one of them in pure cases. That is what he does not want anyone to know. It is only one of the answers.

      Sometimes, just sometimes, it is necessary to live with ambivalence and the fact that there are no happy ever afters in this world.

      And recognise the fact that there are not just two bloggers working on this issue in the world, there are hundreds of strong, determined, good hearted, intelligent people who are doing so too.

      I wish you well.


      Liked by 2 people

  12. So sorry you are going thru this – but it seems the lone crusader against you has aimed his sword at other experts in the field and in the field, and as far as I know he still remains lone – and alone. Some of us have noticed his “alienating” and splitting behavior, it reflects very poorly on him and is “crazy-making”. You are doing great work and I am sorry you have to deal with these barbs and arrows.


  13. I think the answer lies in the motivation behind his approach (Childress). Maybe he feels and mirrors the urgency and that is coming across as hostile?


    1. I am sure we can give Childress some credit, he understands the urgency but as anyone who works in this field knows, you mirror the dynamic and what do you get? The same dynamic. In PA work there is a clear requirement to work counter intuitively, we do it in everything we do. So if we feel inside that we want to bulldoze our way through to the child, we know that what we need to do is take tiny careful steps. Childress is unlikely to have ever met an alienated child, never mind worked with them. If he had he would not act in this manner. I’m always one for trying to understand people but let’s not make excuses for him, he is, in my view, bullying and unprofessional.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are quite clearly correct, but criticism in response to perceived hostile behaviour will not result in an answer just isolation IMHO. People have misinterpreted me as a bully sometimes when I’m just frustrated. Unless you’re truly in someone’s head you cannot know what they’re thinking and feeling so just take them aside and ask? Barriers, even in emotion are made to be broken but love is the only true way of making progress. Showing vulnerability is the courage that might be needed to dissolve the barrier.

        In my experience, male adult children of alienation can be or show symptoms of HFA or some developmental or emotional growth issue, if he is an adult child of alienation in some way, this might well be the answer? Who knows.

        Everyone has “something”.

        it’s human to not be perfect. so I humbly ask you this; is expecting him to behave in a perfect way expecting a human response?

        Or is showing love and forgiving people and showing vulnerability being the better person? ❤


      2. You don’t have to be humble Stevey and I am not asking Childress to be perfect. I am not asking him to be anything if I am honest, I just would like him to stop the abuse he has encouraged and acknowledge that he is not the only person in the world with the answers to the problems. That’s all. I have suffered this since August last year when our book was released and he launched his campaign of denigration. That’s not ok. I don’t think there is a happy ending for this story myself because I think the dynamics which are at play are very complex as in all alienation situations. Forgiveness is another matter, there is nothing for me to forgive, his actions haven’t hurt me, they have hurt those he is exploiting to believe that he has the answer. Forgiveness in that respect is not really mine to give is it. I get you want there to be a good outcome here, the reality of life is that sometimes there just isn’t. Very best K

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Quote from Karen’s post above:
    Would you still want to sit down and have a conversation with this person in the belief that you could somehow work it out with him, or would you read the red flags and recognise that there is no talking to be had because this person is using a set of strategies to force a hidden agenda upon you? (Re Take the Conversation to a professional level post)

    That is EXACTLY why, three years after I left him and two decades since he enmeshed my daughter and replaced me with her, I could never have a conversation with my husband no matter how much I would like to resolve this/get inside his head and try to understand him – it would never work!

    The very title of Dr Childress’s post screams invitation to a rather nasty fight!


  15. Sometimes people need to have love thrown at them before they realise what it is to be human or to realise and move past their own motivations. I genuinely believe he has the best intentions at heart he, as I used to be and can be even now while my 2-year old daughter is being alienated by her own mother, frustrated and probably eager and it might be coming across just hostile, sometimes under the right circumstances, I do too.


  16. Negative transference is something my Ex did.

    I remember the Head at Primary school asking me if I had noticed any changes in my Ex. I said yes, my partner always hated her mother and it was only when her mother died that the family dynamics between me, my partner and the children went seriously awry.
    When her mother was alive I would be witness to my partner being short tempered on the phone, strutting up and down the kitchen, gripping tightly on the receiver, raising her voice and making derogatory remarks.
    But then her mother died and instead of respite what I got was exactly the opposite, instead of her mother being the demon in her life it was now me. A transference of focussed hatred, disapproval and condemnation.
    And it is still here today. I posted only recently about her negative behaviour toward me as she shielded her face from me in the street.
    But it is her problem and I don’t think I can help her with it (I may be wrong). I carry on my life as best I can and the kids are ok, and they know their mother doesn’t like me, and that’s ok too (just so long as they keep the Mum and the Dad relationship separate).
    Target parents do have tools at their disposal which, in some circumstances divert attention away from the alienators problems, and focus on the children. In fact, this is the essence of a “transition bridge”. When you have one of these, albeit in your imagination, you can see quite clearly what your task is.
    You end up with kids who accept both parents for who they are, warts and all. You still have the rather troubled Ex with internalised unresolved problems that come with the desire to alienate and split, and you still have little old me. That’s me, battered and bruised, hurt and recovered and wiser and stronger, though still vulnerable to the mishaps of life in its many guises.


  17. When you’re challenging the status quo and a failed system, you’re always going to attract criticism from those who are invested in resisting change. Thankfully, you’re passion and desire to help families and your positivity are stronger than any other force in this arena. As my young son would say,”ignore the haters “and keep doing you’re brilliant work that provides hope and inspiration to a parent like me.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. As an alienated mother of 2 children for 2yrs now your steps on how the father alienated my children and made me the wicked witch that was unsafe, a drug addict, alcoholic, abusive, prostitute, and suicidal is right on target. I follow both you and Dr. C, I know he is fighting on the US side and trying to get the APA to help as they should have done a decade ago. Personally I don’t know whose model is right or wrong and frankly I believe both of you are correct since your models overlap and are not not complete different theories. The failure of the mental health community, the greedy legal system, and the intergenerational family abuse is what is to blame for the current global crisis of trauma to parents, children, and the communities that surround them. From someone who lives in the trap of hell everyday dealing with traumatic grief and replays of PTSD events to attack someone maliciously because they have a different thought or pattern is that of a toxic person. This is what a alienating parent does its either all good or all bad never in the middle. So those who follow you or Dr. C and have been attacking negatively I would wonder if they are truly alienated from their children or if they are not in their children’s lives due to the children being protected from their toxic behavior. As I have stated many places alienation is not emotional feelings from a divorce that typically both parties have towards their end of the marriage especially if infidelity was a factor in the divorce. Yes did I hate my ex, yes, did I hate the girl he was sleeping with , yes, did I keep my children from their father, no, did I say some inappropriate comments around my children , in the beginning yes, I was hurt and heartbroken. Did I do what he has done for 16yrs to our children no, I have always told my children that their relationship was between them and their father. That the relationship between me and their father was between the two of us and not them. This being said the divorce hurt, pain, and broken heart behavior typically resolves itself within the first 2yrs and possibly could go 3 but unlikely. It is usually just childish games being played out between the parents which unfortunately the children get caught in the crossfire but this is not the behavior that alienators exhibit. Their behaviour is malicious and covert and they flip their problems as the other parents and always will try to find fault in all your loving and bonding moments with you children. I could probably write a book on Alienation from the viewpoint of the alienated parent as I know it has no bounds and it is widespread through all demographics. Alienated parents need to understand this is not just occuring in the current times this has been brewing for 40+years we are just starting to see the widespread impact of what has been created in the previous generations. We need to try to create programs that recognize, stop it, and treat in order to create healthy future generations or social issues will start growing different problems than what we see today.


  19. It’s all just splitting, Extreme black and white thinking. Ego defences. Projection. Transference. Decompensation.

    There are many words and descriptions for it I prefer the words of Yogi Bhajan.

    If you are willing to look at another person’s behaviour toward you as a reflection of the state of their relationship with themselves rather than a statement about your value as a person, then you will, over a period of time cease to react at all.

    Liked by 1 person

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