The European Association of Parental Alienation Practitioners is a new membership body for practitioners in Europe working with high conflict families after divorce and separation and those affected by parental alienation. The first international conference is being held in London on August 30/31st 2018 and features worldwide experts Amy J L Baker, Steve Miller and Linda Gottlieb along with European experts Professor Gordana Flander, Dr Simona Vladicka alongside members of the European Judiciary. The conference is chaired by Sir Paul Coleridge, former High Court Judge who truly understands the nature of parental alienation cases. The conference will also hear from Professor Emeritus William Bernet who is the head of the worldwide Parental Alienation Study Group.
This conference offers a deep immersion in the key principles of managing cases of parental alienation, most notably the interlocking relationship between the mental health and the legal system. For anyone with an interest in working in this field or anyone dealing with cases in which a child is rejecting a parent without justification, the learning outcomes from this conference will be invaluable.
In unpacking the ways in which parental alienation presents in families, the conference will enable learning about differentiation and intervention. In hearing how cases of children’s refusal are heard by the Judiciary in different EU countries, the capacity for understanding the ways in which the problem of parental alienation is influenced by the legal and social welfare systems surrounding the family, is increased. This allows for enhanced understanding and perspective in these difficult cases. Take away learning in the form of step wise management of complex alienation cases, will be delivered through case study presentations and panel debate.
There has been a mushrooming of people who profess expertise in this field in the UK and Europe recently, this is to be welcomed where the expertise is in line with international evidence of what works. What works in cases of parental alienation is however, very different to what traditional therapy looks like and EAPAP will provide for practitioners, training in those international standards of practice which are rooted in the evidence. Provision of such standards, which are currently being examined and curated by the Family Separation Clinic for the Parental Alienation Study Group, will properly regulate interventions with families affected by parental alienation. This will provide for parents a set of transparent standards against which any practitioner claiming expertise can be measured. A simple example of this is the reality that in parental alienation assessments, it is not possible for any practitioner to give a view on the whole dynamics within a family unless the child is clinically observed with the rejected parent. Many assessments are currently completed without this inclusion of clinical observation and this simple omission, which in itself is an opportunity for immediate intervention by a practitioner, can add weeks, months and even years to the length of time the rejected parent waits to be reunited with their child. Given that all mental health practitioners should be aware of the capacity to ask the court for direction that the child is clinically observed with the rejected parent, this simple standard of practice could readily be codified as within the realm of acceptable practice for anyone who calls themselves a parental alienation expert. These are the principles of practice which EAPAP will govern and educate others upon. These are the standards which will, in time, provide protection for all parents affected by this problem. The conference will unpack these principles and offer case examples of the power of such simple shifts in practice.
There has been an increasing drive to raise public consciousness about parental alienation in the last twelve months in Europe. This has been achieved by parents working together to raise awareness of the harm done to families by the lack of services which are fit for purpose in this field. This work is to be welcomed by practitioners in the field, because it is this which provides the platform upon which there can be a properly configured and monitored response to the problem. In Wales recently, the work of the National Association of Alienated Parents, has drawn the attention of AMs in the Welsh Senned, resulting in a marvellous awareness raising you tube video, which in itself features an educational video which is being used to educate schools, social workers and others who touch the lives of alienated children and their families. When parents groups are led by people with experience in both supporting parents and the legal expertise necessary to offer guidance which is rooted in the international evidence, there is a strong protection for parents. In the light of the cobbled together report which was commissioned by CAFCASS Cymru, which I wrote about recently the work of NAAP in public consciousness raising is a powerful antidote to fake news and efforts to control the PA space in Wales.
with less than ten weeks now to go to the EAPAP conference we are starting to generate interest in the media in both the gathering of experts in London and the way in which the conference will offer experts the opportunity for dialogue and learning from parents affected by the problem. In providing a panel of family voices, the conference will properly represent the experience of alienated parents and grandparents as well as wider family and friends. This direct line from those who suffer the problem to those with the power to create change in this space is a vital component which brings purpose to the work being done. This conference is not a talking shop, it is a place in which action and response to the problem of parental alienation is being generated for immediate implementation.
We welcome all who are interested to join us in central London on August 30/31st, ticket sales are brisk, showing us that this issue is high on the agenda of both the legal and mental health professionals around Europe. We are looking forward to a jam packed two days of learning and shared discussion, which will open many different routes around Europe to education and provision of high quality services to families.
Tickets for professionals can be purchased here
Tickets for parents will be on sale from June 30 2018, check back at EAPAP or here for details.
We have a handful of tickets left for our workshop for parents in central London on July 14 2018. Book here if you would like to attend.