The work of the European Association of Parental Alienation Practitioners gathers pace this week the speaker list is being drawn up for the third EAPAP conference in Zagreb on June 15/16th 2020.
This conference will focus upon the impact of divorce and separation on children and the cause of the behaviours seen in parental alienation when a child resists or rejects a relationship with one of their parents.
At the conference held in London and chaired by Sir Paul Coleridge in 2018, internationally recognised standards of practice were introduced which outlined the necessity for practice standards in this emerging field. You can hear those practice standards by pressing the image below.
This week, Fran Wiley QC, leading barrister in the field in the UK, wrote about the continued need for standardised understanding of differentiation, diagnosis and intervention with families affected by parental alienation, you can read that article here.
It is clear from the legal side of things, in the UK at least, that there is growing clarity in how to deal with cases of alienation. From the mental health perspective however, the need to ensure that recognised standards of intervention are being used by practitioners around Europe remains a task which requires focused attention.
Which is the European Association of Parental Alienation Practitioners has been formed and why those experts who sit on the Board of EAPAP are drawn from experienced practitioners from around Europe. Together with Professor Gordana Flander and her team, the EAPAP Board is now preparing to expand the standards which govern best practice in this field of work from guidance to parents and practitioners on therapeutic interventions, to assessment processes and interventions.
The European Association now has a total of 17 membership countries in Europe and is beginning to work on training and supervision standards. With Croatia leading the way in Europe on prevention of alienation via its recent statement on prevention of alienation in divorce and separation, which was signed by 800 professionals in the region, moving upstream to tackle the problem before it even begins is a reality.
The statement, which was written up after the lecture we delivered in Zagreb in July this year, contains the following points –
4. One of the main parenting competencies in cases of divorced parenting is the capacity of parents to actively strengthen the relationship of the child with the other parent.
5. Alienation is a public health problem and should be approached from the position of protecting child’s health and rights.
6. Alienation can, but it does not have to arise from a high-conflict divorce. In most cases, real alienation comes with alienated parent’s minimal influence potential.
7. Exposure of the child to a chronic and long-lasting parental conflict with or without established alienating behavior of parents represents emotional neglect and sometimes emotional abuse of a child.
8. Alienating behavior (any behavior, active or passive, that disturbs the relationship of a child with another parent) and the inability to separate parental and partner’s role represent inappropriate emotional pressure on the child.
9. Inappropriate emotional pressure on the child represents the risk of emotional abuse of the child; in case it is continuous and/or intense and is not corrected under the influence of an expert, it is emotional abuse of the child.
10. Every citizen of the Republic of Croatia is obliged to report suspicion of emotional abuse of the child, to the Social Welfare Center in charge, if necessary, to the police, promptly and without delay, which can be done anonymously.
11. Every expert that works with children is legally obliged to report suspicion of emotional abuse of a child, to the Social Welfare Center in charge, if necessary, to the police, promptly and without delay.
12. Alienation is emotional abuse of a child, regardless of whether it is currently mild, moderate or serious.
13. The main sign of alienation in a child is psychological splitting, that is, lack of ambivalence towards parents.
You can read the statement in its entirety here.
In 2019, sixty new practitioners were trained by the Family Separation Clinic to EAPAP standards and in 2020 a further one hundred will take part in standardised training which is drawn from internationally recognised standards laid down by key researchers from around the world.
Combining research into the effects on children of parental alienation with the knowledge base on what works for these families, offers key principles and protocols which are recognised as effective in these families. Expanding upon those principles and protocols to utilise interventions known to be successful with people of all ages who suffer psychological splitting (the root cause of parental alienation), offers a new avenue to understanding and developing treatment routes for these families.
The commitment of EAPAP is to bring the standards of practice which are shown to work in the international literature to life across EU borders and to share and utilise knowledge, experience and skill in raising awareness of the harm that alienation does to children and families and how best they can be assisted.
In furthering this aim, the Newsletter of the European Association of Parental Alienation Practitioners will be published regularly, you can read the winter 2018 edition by pressing the image below and a new edition of Parental Alienation Europea will be published shortly.
News of how to sign up for the EAPAP newsletter can be found at www.eapap.eu
Family Separation Clinic Training Schedule 2020
We will be delivering the following training and conference presentations in 2020
Iceland – In discussion, details here shortly.
Republic of Ireland in conjunction with Irish practitioners – details here shortly.
Germany in conjunction with German practitioners – details here shortly.
Colorado– Reunification Training in Conjunction with Colorado University – details to be confirmed.
Durham. N.C. USA