Today marks the beginning of a major phase of change in which many of the leading authorities in the world are coming together to create change for abused children of divorce and separation all over the world.
Divorce and separation of families is an issue which has been too long ignored in the world in terms of the harm that it does to children. And as a result we have generations of children who have suffered through the divorce of their parents without receiving any assistance whatsoever.
I have worked with children of divorce and separation for twenty five years, both in private practice and with the UK government, seeking always to raise the issue of how divorce impacts upon children and how to minimise the risk to them. As part of that work I have focused upon addressing the dis-proportionate power of the women’s rights movement and showing how the impact of divorce upon children has nothing to do with the personal rights of a mother or father and everything to do with preserving relational ties and through that children’s mental health and wellbeing.
I left working for the UK government in 2013 when I watched the powerful women’s rights lobby destroy the efforts to reform services to separating families in order to re-concentrate a focus upon the good mother/bad father narrative. I recognised that if we kept on focusing upon this split thinking approach, all we would achieve would be more of the same. The impact on children of divorce does not belong in the parental rights argument but in children’s mental health. This is where I have been working for the past five years.
In doing so I have come to work exclusively with alienated children, those who are so badly damaged by the parental divorce that they have entered into psychological splitting. And in doing so I have witnessed, at all stages in children’s lives, the extreme harm this does to them. As part of this witnessing I have been driven back to the need to raise awareness and consciousness around the world, of the need for intervention and help for these children and their families. It is this witnessing which underpins the writing of this blog and it is this injustice, in the lack of support to these children and families which has driven the work that I do with the world experts in the field of parental alienation. Parental alienation is the extreme end of the abuse that children of divorce and separation suffer, largely in silence.
Today the silence is broken. Today we begin the new phase of work to bring to consciousness the harm that children of divorce and separation suffer. Today, the work and the witnessing begins to bear fruit in the outside world as I join colleagues from around the world in Sweden for the PASGNordic conference and then in London for the European Association of Parental Alienation Practitioners Conference next week.
This joining together of research, practice and policy, with leading people around the world, reminds me of how communities really work together. For when the very best of each contributor is brought to the project, the creation of something new is powerful, swift and made so much easier. Underneath the coming together of people all over the world who want to create change for future generations, is a groundswell of interest from the wider communities who can make this change happen around the world.
Already EAPAP has been inundated with enquiries about how people can join, help and build the new way of thinking and working with children who are captured in suffering in the midst of parental divorce. Already it feels as if this is an idea which people have been waiting to happen. As we move forward with our colleagues in PASG, we will draw upon the best evidence, the best research and the best practice from around the world, to bring to life a transparent, straightforward and effective way of treating a child’s rejection, which puts the recovery of the child of all of their relational ties, firmly at the centre of everything we do.
And where we do that we will work to preserve the relational ties in both directions of the family, because we know that to treat psychological splitting, we must avoid counter rejection and ensure that a child is protected from ongoing pressures which cause the split state of mind to recur.
Parental alienation is child abuse. Children in divorce and separation are at risk of becoming alienated because of the lack of understanding of their behaviours and the lack of appropriate help to prevent alienation from occurring. For six decades now we have ignored the plight of abused children of divorce and separation in Europe and around the world.
Today, with one movement and many hands, we break the silence and pledge that we will change the world for these children and their families for good.
There is no going back now.
The PASGNordic Conference is being live streamed from tomorrow. You can register for streaming here.
The EAPAP Conference 2018 is in London on August 30/31st – You can still buy tickets and see the full programme here