Regulating Practice and Protecting Parents and Children

As we move into the Autumn months in the UK and Europe we are preparing for the next stage in our work to regulate practice in the field of parental alienation.  Our next meeting is in Strasbourg in November, where we will move onto the practical steps of opening membership of the European Association of Parental Alienation Practitioners.

The purpose of EAPAP is both to protect parents and children by providing them with the services which are designed to treat and heal the problem of parental alienation and to protect practitioners from the negative impacts of working in such a difficult therapeutic space.  The need for regulation is obvious.  This week alone I have been reading misleading claims from a group claiming to be the only practice delivering forensic assessments in parental alienation’ which is so manifestly untrue that Trading Standards have been notified.

This is not about whether or not I or anyone else agrees or disagrees with the manner in which individual services are delivered.  This is about clarity with the families we work with and transparency about the services being delivered.  There are several specialists who deliver forensic assessments in the UK in this area, none of which make the claims above.  To do so is therefore to mislead and prevent parents from being able to make informed choices.  This kind of false claim and lack of integrity is what EAPAP will work to prevent across Europe.

This same group who claim to be the only forensic assessors in the UK, also claim to be working to international standards on their website.  Which again is simply untrue.

International standards of practice were introduced at the EAPAP conference, which was attended by 18 of the international authorities in parental alienation, all of whom support and endorse the standards as set out by EAPAP.

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Websites which claim to the ‘the only…’ and which state that they are working to international standards of practice should be avoided in future unless they hold EAPAP membership.  EAPAP is endorsed by leading mental health and legal figures across Europe and will increasingly provide a safe framework of trusted service delivery for all families affected by parental alienation across Europe.

At our Strasbourg meeting we will be setting out the frameworks and completing the work which must be done to open up the membership to practitioners across Europe.  We already have almost 100 expressions of interest in membership including enough in the UK to ensure that parents and children can access a comprehensive network of services.

As we go forward in this field we will be working to expand those services in the UK and right across Europe so that there is a strong pool of skilled practitioners you can trust to work with you in the internationally recognised standards of practice which are curated and endorsed by EAPAP which is directly linked to the Parental Alienation Study Group, the worldwide group of experts in this field.


EAPAP NEWS

The EAPAP Steering group meets in Strasbourg in November.

EAPAP News and Website updates including slides and film clips are being worked on now and all conference participants will receive notification of these directly.

Membership of EAPAP will be open in the coming months, to register your interest in joining please email office@eapap.eu


FOR PARENTS

If you are considering an expert or expert services in your family case, please ensure that you seek evidence in the form of written or telephone references from anyone purporting to be expert in this field.  References should include evidence of successful intervention and successful intervention should always be that a child has been reunited with a parent within a twelve week period of work.

Psychologists and Psychiatrists who are acting as part 25 experts will be able to give you references to published cases in which their intervention has resulted in the resolution of a case.

Therapists who claim to be expert in the field should be able to give you references for you to follow up which show their successful intervention in a short period of time.

It is expressly contraindicated to offer therapy in a PA case where a parent has personality disorder.  All of the research evidence demonstrates this and internationally recognised standards of practice do not allow for this to happen.  EAPAP will provide alternative services which meet the needs of parents and children in these circumstances.

Any practitioner who is unhappy about you asking for such references or who uses your requests as evidence that you have somehow contributed to the problem of PA in your child is acting against internationally recognised standards of practice. This is the kind of misleading and damaging practice that EAPAP will seek to prevent.

Remember that you do not have to agree to any therapy or assessment which you are uncomfortable with and which makes you part of the problem.

If you are uncomfortable with the service you are receiving anywhere in Europe you can contact EAPAP at office@eapap.eu for advice and guidance.

7 Comments

    1. There is nothing here in Canada for parental alienation that I can find. The only program out west is apparently shut down according to the program manager. Is there any interventions in Canada that I am not aware of or even telephone internet interventions available??

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  1. Further to the following statement

    “Psychologists and Psychiatrists who are acting as part 25 experts will be able to give you references to published cases in which their intervention has resulted in the resolution of a case.”

    This is incorrect. In the UK very few family proceedings judgements are published. In particular, the majority of private family proceedings do not have published judgements. The majority of my colleagues who have submitted reports under Part 25, do not have published judgments. Darren Spooner who spoke recently at the EAPAP conference regarding 30 cases of parental alienation, has very few published judgements. Where there is a transcript of a private judgement, my understanding is that leave of the court is required to disclose this outside of proceedings.

    It is more likely that psychologists and psychiatrists may be able to furnish references from solicitors from whom they have taken instructions. However, the provision of such references is likely to be somewhat biased; it is unlikely that many practitioners would disclose judgements which are critical of them.

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    1. It is not incorrect to say that established experts in this field will have public judgments to refer to – experienced experts in this field such as Darren Spooner, were invited to present at the EAPAP conference on that basis. The number of judgments is irrelevant, the evidence of expertise is.

      Success in this field means one thing only – the successful restoration of a relationship between parent and child and the healing of pathological splitting.

      It is not biased for solicitors or counsel, who have worked with a practitioner who has a proven track record of success, to give references. If a practitioner has successfully restored a relationship between a parent and a child in a case, then confirming that is not biased, it is evidence.

      Whether or not colleagues have submitted reports as part 25 experts previously is not the point. Simply submitting reports can be claimed by many, this is about practicing in the scientific field of parental alienation and being willing to offer parents transparent standards of practice which includes confirmation that if one says one is a parental alienation expert then that is based in reality, which is proven by the evidence.

      EAPAP is standardising the field of parental alienation practice using the internationally recognised research which is curated and endorsed by PASG – many of whose key figures presented at the EAPAP conference.

      Anyone working in this field can and should be prepared to be open about their track record in successful reunification work. Simply saying one does it is not enough.

      All practitioners who work in this space and who can demonstrate compliance with the internationally recognised standards of practice are invited to apply for membership.

      Thus parents will have a framework of protection which is directly linked to the internationally recognised scientific research and evidence based outcomes.

      And practitioners will be safely regulated with a commitment to working in the way that is proven to work rather than the current situation where many feel free to say they are reunification experts or consultants without any evidence to support that.

      Practitioners being unlikely to disclose judgments which are critical of them, implies a level of manipulation in others which, again, EAPAP will seek to regulate.

      This field is ridden with schisms because the lack of regulation enables practitioners to act without any reference to the established evidence based practice. Some practitioners who experience personal discomfort with those practices, seek to either bend the principles of established practice to fit their own level of comfort in delivery of services in this field or, seek to harm the work of those who are working in the internationally recognised standards.

      It is important to recognise that international standards of practice which were consistently set out over the two days at the EAPAP conference, are set down in research and endorsed by the world authorities in this field.

      EAPAP was set up specifically to protect practitioners from that kind of behaviour as well as to protect parents from misleading claims of expertise.

      Any psychologist or psychiatrist or other practitioner who is working to the EAPAP principles is welcome to apply for membership when it is open.

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      1. Thank you for posting my comment and responding.

        There are many succesful outcomes in parental alienation cases in the UK for which there has not been a published judgement. Published judgements are still rare in the majority of family court jurisdictions in the UK, despite the former President of the Family Division’s push for transparency. Mr Spooner’s work itself, presented at EAPAP, would suggest that there are vastly more successful outcomes than those for which there is a published judgement. Is your suggestion that published judgements are required as evidence of expertise in cases where parental alienation has been a factor? In which case, will membership of EAPAP only be open to those who have had such a published judgement? This would appear to be quite a small pool. Would a published judgement of a non-successful outcome be considered as evidence that a practitioner or a Part 25 expert does not have the necessary expertise?

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      2. The membership of EAPAP will be open to those who are committed to working with the principles of EAPAP.

        Those principles were set out in my presentation at the conference and they are curated in the document which was available at the conference. If you would like the document it can be sent to you as can all of the documentation as it becomes available.

        If practitioners commit to training and delivery of practice in the internationally recognised standards of practice the core of which feature a) the observation of the child with the rejection parent during assessment, b) the reintroduction of the child immediately to the rejected parent in an intervention, c) no provision of therapy where it is contraindicated (i.e.: where personality disorder is present), d) a treatment plan is made available prior to treatment e) the rejected parent, after differentiation, is recognised as core to the healing of the child’s pathologically split state of mind and is worked with in a co-therapy role, then they are welcome to join EAPAP.

        I am not saying in this post that practitioners in EAPAP will be required to have public judgment, what I am saying is that for now, to safeguard parents from interventions which claim to be expert, which have no evidence of success, parents can be reassured by a psychiatrist or psychologist having a public judgment in which they are named. Other ways of reassuring a parent are to give names of counsel or solicitors who are willing to confirm that an intervention has lead to a successful outcome, the successful outcome being the reunification of the child with the rejected parent.

        The purpose of EAPAP is to regulate this scientific field and to ensure that internationally curated standards of practice are known about and promoted as well as supported.

        If you or any other practitioner have successful outcomes in your practice, then you have the means by which you can evidence that, and therefore parents can be reassured by your willingness to give that evidence.

        Non successful interventions occur in this field and there are many such circumstances which are configured in such a case to bring this about. EAPAP recognises that the team doing the work is only as strong as the weakest link as Dr Cameron outlined in his presentation.

        EAPAP will also recognise the way in which practitioners become risk averse due to the fear of triangulation by a governing body. Which means that many practitioners will put parents through inappropriate treatment routes in order to remain safely protected themselves.

        In the same way, some practitioners claim success in treatment is a child seeing a parent for two hours on a Saturday, in circumstances where the child is clearly still in the psychologically split state of mind.

        EAPAP will promote the practices which are demonstrated to bring swift release from the pathologically split state of mind in as full and complete a way as possible. And will educate across Europe on all aspects of this work.

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