Today we open our alienated mothers retreat in Somerset England. The sun is shining, the food is sourced, the yoga mats are packed and the journey of kindness begins. When I work this way with parents and wider family members who have been hurt by a child’s maladaptive response to the post separation landscape, I know that I am about to share a journey in which I will learn as much as I teach and receive as much as I give. I am ready for this heart based work, it is everything I know about survival and everything I know about how to thrive in this world.
What I know about working in this way is that the laughter that comes is surprising and yet healing. Such a sad subject, such a powerful wave of love for lost children which is harnessed into shared support for others who suffer in the same way. This week we are working with mums, next time it will be dads and then we will work with mixed retreats. Next year we are planning retreats for the recovering adult children of divorce and separation, a support I am increasingly aware is necessary in this world. So many forgotten children, subsumed beneath the assumptions made by policy makers and practitioners. One day this world will know the truth about what has been done to children of divorce and separation, one day soon the world will listen.
This past week has been interesting for me as I joined Igualde Parental in Portugal to share my knowledge about parental alienation. In doing so I met a marvellous Belgian Judge, who truly understands the manner in which adversarial attack in the family court is the last thing that families of alienated children need. This Judge will join us in August to share her wonderful approach to resolution of these difficult cases, I was absolutely delighted to meet her and discuss our understanding of the interlocking relationship between the mental health and judicial management of these cases. Here I am below, sharing my knowledge and in doing so finding real joy in knowing that others in the world really care about these children and their families.
Now that we have arrived in June we are shifting up a gear as we get ready to join the Simply Parent Conference in Colorado on June 30th to talk about our reunification programme. In August we then fly to Stockholm to the Parental Alienation Study Group Conference 2018 before we get ready to welcome practitioners and parents to the EAPAP conference 2018 in central London.
The EAPAP conference is starting to look like a real game changer in terms of the European wide interest it is attracting and the focus from practitioners attending on working together to form a standardised understand and approach to working with parental alienation. As I work through the development of this I increasingly realise that I am going back to basics and working in the space which originally drew me into the field of parental alienation. I am working in the space post separation, with children of all ages, who struggled to survive the pain and suffering of the post separation landscape.
It is here where I know that change must be made because it is here where the people who have power to make change, are still influenced away from what is really needed, towards the distorted belief that putting children first means burdening them with decisions. In my conversation with the wise and learned judge from Belgium, I understood again that the problem in this work is not that judges do not understand but that family services fail to translate the reality of article 12 of the UNRC into its true meaning. So much work to do in this field, so many people keen to come together to make real change. Finally though we have some traction, so much so that being part of the EAPAP conference is a must for anyone with an interest in working differently with children of divorce and separation. With psychologists, psychotherapists and psychiatrists, Judges and court workers, social workers and other ancillary staff from fourteen different countries, we welcome each person who wishes to take this step towards supporting a better future for children across Europe.
To end my review of the landscape I work in today, I want to share with you some words from the poem which will open and close our Somerset retreat this week. This poem, for me, demonstrates all that we seek to do for families. It illustrates the difference between seeing alienated parents as the problem (as far too many practitioners tend to do) and as healthy people who have suffered but who do everything they possibly can to stay there waiting for their children.
The barren wasteland of the post divorce and separation landscape is something we are populating with love and kindness of heart. For all children and families around the world, for everyone who has suffered from the lack of support and for the generations of children still to come.
With all of our love, today, tomorrow and always.