Yesterday Nick and I were honoured to give a public lecture at the Institute of Public Health Education in Zagreb on our work with alienated children and their families as part of our partnership work with the Child and Youth Protection Centre of Zagreb.
In the audience were members of the Croatian Judiciary, Lawyers and Mental Health Practitioners, all of whom are interested in finding out more about the problem of parental alienation and how to intervene to help children and families in recovery.
This lecture was an important contribution to the development of the European Association of Parental Alienation Practitioners, which meets in Switzerland next month to agree practice standards for practitioners working with alienated children and their families and training for mental health and legal professionals seeking to work in this evolving field. Our key aim, along with our partners in Europe, is to develop a workforce capable of meeting the needs of this group of families who are affected by children’s traumatic splitting after divorce and separation.
Our colleagues in Zagreb are already shifting the work in this area into new places, particularly prevention of alienating behaviours in parents so that children never have to reach a place where traumatic splitting is their only option in the post separation landscape. In our collaboration we are finding new ways to work with families affected by parental alienation and in doing so we are bringing to consciousness the plight of children of divorce and separation everywhere.
During a question and answer session at the end of the lecture, Judge Lana Peto Kujundžić who has thirty years experience in judicial practice in the Municipal and County Court in Zagreb, as well as the Council for Youth of the Supreme Court of Republic of Croatia, told the audience that children should be protected from being questioned about their feelings about parents in the legal process. She went on to describe the innovative process by which children in sexual abuse cases are interviewed at the Child Protection Centre in Zagreb and how this is something which can be used with children who suffer traumatic splitting in divorce and separation. Judge Lana also told the audience that as professionals, we must be courageous and determined to help families affected by parental alienation.
Being able to share our knowledge and experience in Croatia and to continue our work with our partners at the Child and Youth Protection of Zagreb is very important to us. Yesterday, in discussions with colleagues from Serbia and Bosnia, we added more countries to the European Association of Parental Alienation Practitioners in readiness for the development of cross border practice standards and training to all professionals. Bringing assistance to emotionally and psychologically abused children of divorce and separation is our aim and our commitment at the lecture yesterday was to make this happen quickly.
The full lecture can be seen by following this link https://www.facebook.com/poliklinikazadjecuimladezagreb
The European Association of Parental Alienation Practitioners is developing practice standards for intervention with families affected by parental alienation alongside training to legal and mental health professionals who are seeking to work in this evolving field. Our focus is upon the impact on children in divorce and separation where the risk of traumatic splitting leads to pathological alignment with and rejection of parents which is known as parental alienation.
The European Association of Parental Alienation Practitioners was launched in Prague in 2017 and held its first conference in London in August 2018. A second conference will be held in 2020 in Central Europe, bringing together mental health practitioners with the Judiciary and legal professionals from around Europe to launch training and practice standards in this field for use around the world.
Readers please note: I have received several emails and messages concerning Dr Childress over recent days. I have been made aware of his continued campaign of denigration against me but do not intend to respond. I do not know why Dr Childress targets me and my work with children and families with such venom but whilst I am saddened that his behaviour encourages some parents to believe untrue things about me, it does not distract me from my work.
I am aware that some parents become upset when they feel that there is conflict between professionals. I am clear that I have absolutely no conflict with Dr Childress whatsoever. Whatever his motives for his campaign of denigration against me, I wish him well in his work and hope that he will eventually see the pointlessness of this kind of personal and professional attack. It has not stopped my work in the past and it will not stop it now.
Collaboration with colleagues is always far more productive and creative and powerful in the world and as we experienced yesterday in Zagreb, it brings unity and positive change in a world which is far too deeply fractured and wounded already.