Here we are in Israel after three days training with eighteen systemic family therapists. Over three days we have worked with the core principles and protocols of the Family Separation Clinic model of differentiation and intervention to bring systemic change to Israel in the identification, differentiation and treatment of families affected by parental alienation.
Israel already has everything it needs to achieve change for alienated children. With highly skilled dynamic practitioners and the powerful leadership of Inbal Baron who is experienced and skilled in attachment work, successful intervention with families is already underway.
Systemic Family Therapists are perfectly placed to intervene in families where alienation occurs, they already have the background skill and knowledge to do this work effectively. When this is coupled with the principles and protocols which match the needs of these families, change comes quickly.
The core principle of this work is not a tick box or check list, it is not a camp or a programme, it is not even something which necessarily needs to be written down. All the existing therapies in the world can be adapted to fit the needs of families affected by parental alienation when the person who is using them has made the cognitive shift inside.
And the cognitive shifts are are simple as this.
If we understand the family from within via our assessment and differentiation work we can see that in parental alienation the following is true –
This is not about the rejected parent, the rejection is a by-product of the dynamic not the cause.
This is about the relationship between the child and the parent to whom they are pathologically bound, that is where our focus should be in understanding the cause.
There is no need to fix the rejected parent, we may need to breathe life back into their parenting again but they are essentially good enough just the way they are.
There is a need to liberate the child from the power and control that the parent they are pathologically bound to holds.
When we understand the child’s route into the psychologically split state of mind, we understand how to build the treatment route which will lead them out of it.
Treatment is about constraining the behaviours of the alienating parent and making as much time and space available for the child to experience the parent they have been rejecting in an environment which enables the attachment relationship to do what it does – which is restore the living parent/child bond in the child’s felt sense (and at the same time allow it to come fully to consciousness in the rejected parent too).
When practitioners make those cognitive shifts, they recognise that they have all that they need in their toolbox ALREADY to deliver what families need.
Over three days we watched eighteen psychotherapists make those cognitive shifts and we watched the recognition of what we were teaching and the engagement with the power of that to change the lives of the children and families they work with.
In the last hour of our work together we worked with parallel processing, helping to map the strategic route to bringing systemic change in the wider understanding (legal, social and public awareness) of what is happening to alienated children and families in Israel and how to help them.
Resetting the hierarchy within and without, connecting already powerful psychotherapists to the reality that who they are and what they know, is the power they need to bring change.
It was a meeting of hearts and minds, another strong link in the chain of people who are creating a paradigm shift in the way that the world responds to the problem of parental alienation.
We said our goodbyes to this group having received as much as we gave. From our hearts to theirs. It will not be long before we return.
The EAPAP Board meets in Switzerland on July 31st – August 3rd. On the agenda will be the third EAPAP Conference for Practitioners which we plan to hold in Zagreb in 2020. Also on the agenda will be practice standards for working with alienated children and families. More news here soon.