Lecture at the Institute of Public Health Education in Zagreb – Central Europe

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


3 thoughts on “Lecture at the Institute of Public Health Education in Zagreb – Central Europe

  1. Whenever I had encounted obloquy and objection to my work, I heed and take heart from the life and times
    of the esteemed late Dr Ignaz Semmelweis and note that there are deeply encrusted patterns of resistance in
    the collective psyche. Grist for the mill; everyone plays their role.

    Strength, health and joy to all in Continental Europe.


  2. Hi Karen,
    Thank you for the link to your public lecture. I listened to it with great interest. You and Nick did well to condense this complex issue into a 2-hour lecture. The Graph on Bernet et al study, depicting the pysch splitting in alienated children compared to other cohorts was visually compelling. Nick, discussed the various personality disorders often encountered in this issue and he mentioned in particular that paranoid traits/personality were high in rates in alienating parents in a particular Switzerland study. Could you link the citation to that study?

    Great work on increasing international collaboration!


    1. Thank you , I am so glad that progress is being made and I am sure that a more enlightened approach to child care following separation will become the norm eventually. But what advice can you give to us in the here and now, when every day is an agony of waking and facing another day when our precious children are locked away from us , but even worse the knowledge that they will be suffering emotional pain.
      We cannot approach children’s Services because they will not have the understanding nor expertise that you have. The Courts are cumbersome, slow, not fit for purpose for an issue like PA. It will be some years before the reforms that you are hoping for are put into practice. So what can we do?
      Do we take the law into our own hands and approach the house where they live with their very strange mother and cause a scene? Maybe that is what we should have done in the first place, instead we took the civilised , reasonable route not wanting the children to feel that they were in a tug of war situation; and look where it has got us. We have allowed their mother to fill their minds with all of her savage thoughts and feelings uninterrupted by any rational decent thoughts and feelings from us. We cannot just sit and wait until the Law catches up by then they will have completely lost their childhood.
      I am not ranting at you personally. Should I go to Social media, or start a campaign in the newspapers? We are told that we should always report it if we suspect that a child is being abused, I know my three grandchildren are being abused, so who do I report it to?
      Any comments from you would be helpful,
      We are very grateful for all of the information we have gleaned from your blogs and the Book.
      Regards Eileen Cocker


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