The Lighthouse Project: Differentiation Skills for Rejected Parents

My whole focus in the work that I do is to find routes to recovery for alienated children and their families.  In doing so I work with many serious clinicians around the world who, like me, work directly with alienated children and families and so understand them at the deepest level.

This is not research, this is direct clinical practice and it is vital in the ongoing process of developing the scientific field of induced psychological splitting in children after divorce and family separation.

When we work with families we undertake thirty hours or so of assessment and differentiation. In our intensive structured programmes, we observe a family over many weeks and sometimes months to determine the reason why a child has become psychologically split and treat it.  In doing so, we do not wait to reconnect the child to the parent they have rejected, we do this at the start of our work under clinical conditions.  We know that this is the way to ensure that the child has the strongest chance of recovering from the split state of mind.  Doing it this way means that everything that follows is focused on reorganising the family dynamics to prevent it from happening again.

Differentiation requires us to understand, within every single one of the concentric circles around the family, what the pressures upon the child are and where they are coming from.  As we do so, we also have to understand what the risks to the rejected parent are of any proposed treatment route and whether or not they can withstand what is being asked of them in order to recover their child. Additionally, we also have to assess what the risk is to ourselves in this setting, whether or not other professionals are going to pull in a different direction and whether or not there are people involved who may deliberately or otherwise seek to undermine what we are doing.

This is a field which is criss crossed with lack of understanding, powerful personal belief systems and imbalances of power.  Being in this space is dangerous for anyone, it is a particularly dangerous for the child.

Differentiation is an essential skill too for rejected parents because depending upon who you listen to, you will be told that you are either the child’s best hope or the cause of your child’s rejection and everything in between.  Critical thinking skills are essential to possess, sharpen and protect when you are a rejected parent because just because someone says they are expert, does not make it so.

No stranger to being harangued on the internet, I have no intention of haranguing anyone in this field but I won’t stand by and watch risk of harm silently.  There is a right way to do this work, there are principles and protocols which when applied demonstrate results. And all of those require the strong protective framework of the family court.

Let me be clear here, not everyone decides to go to court in a case of alienation.  I work with parents who have decided not to do so and I am no less supportive of them than I am of those who do decide to go down the court route. I also supervise practitioners around the world who are working in very different legal systems and in doing so find that interventions have to be adapted to ensure that they will find footholds to gain traction in a case.  Each case is different, each requires careful analysis and doing what is right for the child and rejected parent will need to make decisions based upon all of the evidence in their lived experience. As practitioners we must take every small part of each case into account and that requires high levels of differentiation skill.  Rejected parents must be no less careful.

I also work with adult children who were alienated, have recovered and are still in need of therapy.  I understand from this angle, the very serious life long damage which is done by inducing a child to raise the defence of psychological splitting in their younger years.

When I give advice therefore, I do so from the perspective of my experience and expertise in assisting families to heal.  I do so from the vantage point of understanding this problem from the inside out.  I value all of my colleagues with similar experience.

As a rejected parent you are vulnerable and one of the first things we do at the Clinic is to educate families to understand the dynamics in parental alienation at the deepest level. In our coaching of parents who do not go to court, we assess from their perspective and identify the issues which are causing the most pressure, we teach critical thinking skills and how to build strategies for long term survival.

In our family therapy work, with adults and their families, we undertake a combination of psycho-genealogy and transpersonal therapeutic input and we work with families  for days and weeks at a time to resolve in real time the broken hierarchy and enmeshments that have cause the child to utilise psychological splitting.  We teach these families to think critically and to differentiate between what is helpful and what is harmful out there.  We believe that this is an important part of healing for rejected parents.

Rejected parents need to understand what the road ahead looks like and they need to be able to access support that truly helps.  Most of all they need to be held and supported and encouraged in a bond of trust that does not break.  They need protection whilst they develop strength and skill to stay the course for their children.  What they learn must be founded in evidence of outcomes.

Just as a cancer patient would not go to an auxiliary nurse for treatment (though they may go there for some elements of their care), we do not expect rejected parents to rely upon lay people for guidance and advice.  Parents helping parents is a wonderful thing, but it is also risky when it comes to parents and lay people claiming expertise. Helping rejected parents to avoid unnecessary risk is our project.

Differentiation skills for rejected parents are vital to obtain – here is your top ten critical thinking questions which will assist you to differentiate between what helps and what hinders.

  1. How do I know this is parental alienation (or not).
  2. What qualifications and experience do experts in this field have to have?
  3. What do I want from the person who is advising me?
  4. How do I decide whether I should go to court (or not).
  5. What are the questions I need to ask?
  6. Who am I listening to and taking advice from?
  7. Can they refer me to people they have helped to recover their children and can I speak to those people?*
  8. What can I expect from someone who says they can help me?
  9. What is an assessment and differentiation process?
  10. What are the known treatment routes for parental alienation?

Being rejected by your child makes you incredibly vulnerable, protecting yourself first, like putting on your oxygen mask is an essential piece of advice for everyone.

This is currently an unmanaged field and it is not yet regulated, meaning that people can show off shiny credentials but have very little in the way of skills to help you.

Keep your critical thinking skills sharp,

question everything and everyone, including me.

* Anyone with whom we work at the Family Separation Clinic can request and receive the contact details of parents we have worked with and can speak to those people directly. We also have adult children we have helped who are will to share their experience.  These people have all successfully recovered their relationships and have healed the psychologically split state of mind.

Therapeutic Parenting Workshop for Rejected and Receiving Parents

14th March – Bloomsbury (10-5pm)

Our therapeutic parenting workshop aims to build your critical thinking skills. Held in Central London, our workshops are intensive and packed full of strategies for parents who are rejected or who have received (or may be receiving) their children in residence transfer cases.

Therapeutic parenting is powerful when it is used by rejected parents and it is an essential tool in assisting alienated children to integrate the split state of mind.

Our courses aim to skill you with critical thinking skills and confidence in empathic parenting to ensure that you understand the route that your child needs to take to heal the impact of parental alienation.

We have ten places left.

Book here.


  1. Your posts are so detailed and informative. I have gone back and read most of the older ones. Is there anything in your book that isn’t covered in your posts? If so I will order your book.

    Thanks for your work.


    1. Hi gary, the book is really a detailed handbook for parents which is logically set out and guides you through. The blog is a hotch potch of my thoughts as I do this work so not as linear and not as detailed as the book. Hope that helps. K


  2. I have been separated from my 12 year old son since September with the alienation process starting about a year prior. I have had almost no contact with him since September, but we will begin family therapy next month. Would this workshop be appropriate for me? Or would it be more beneficial to wait until we’re further along in the therapy process?


  3. Hi, Thank you so much for your blogs. Can you pls point me to some parents in the US who have recovered their children? I’m in California. Thank you.

    Carl Macchia ________________________________


  4. I have found no help, solution, path forward after becoming alienated due to the fact that my child lives with a covert narcissist that does everything in his power to make sure she’s never going to have a chance at reestablishing a relationship. The courts are no use against a wealthy litigious alienator…after 6 years I’m done hoping for justice. My daughter’s therapists won’t speak to me and only believe what the alienator and my child say so I’m completely shut out. Where’s the hope with a situation like this? I never see advice that can be utilized when the other parent is a full-fledged Narc that refuses any semblance of co-parenting and now cooperation after having taken full custody.


    1. I sympathize with your situation and can relate. The strategy I adopted to help me cope was to play a long game, if you know what I mean. Anything I did my x used against me so my strategy became one that took the wind out of her sails, I did nothing wrong. It is slowly paying off with my peace of mind and today I got my third email from my 16 year old daughter. Progress is slow but it is progress. My x is a first class narcissist. She has a masters degree in social work and specilasies in working with troubled kids, believe it or not. She teaches at NTNU in Trondheim Norway and is presently working on her PHD. Oh what a tangled web we weave. Good luck.


  5. Genna, you’re asking questions I’d like to know the answers to.
    (quote: I never see advice that can be utilized when the other parent is a full-fledged Narc that refuses any semblance of co-parenting and now cooperation after having taken full custody.)

    I now believe that my husband was somewhere on the narcissist scale but I believe there was absolutely nothing I could have done. He would conjour a blazing row anywhere out of anything if he felt like it or felt he’d been slighted at some point… it didn’t have to be a recent perceived slight, it could go back days. We once walked my daughter’s dog and had lunch at the café. It was lovely and we were both happy (or so I thought). It was also very cold and icy so her dog had worn his coat all the way there and I put it on again to walk home. My husband started asking one of his (what he insisted were his ‘just being curious’) questions which was ‘why have you put his coat on’. I TRIED to avert what I knew was coming by saying ‘it’s cold’ (he insisted on straight answers only) but that wasn’t good enough. Whatever I said to try to avert what I knew would come next he ranted that I was a liar and could never tell the truth. Not giving him any answer was as bad. Upshot was, we walked home in silence and another happy walk/meal out was ruined. Of course he’d make sure that daughter knew I’d been ‘awkward AGAIN’ as soon as he saw her. (Poor daddy) I stopped going on holiday with him and my daughter seven years before I left them because I thought it would make everything better for all three of us – it didn’t. it made him ramp up the alienation even more.

    How on earth could anyone help me find a way out of that without my leaving and losing my daughter to him I have no idea!

    PS Hope all goes brilliantly in Iceland Karen!


    1. Willow, the example about your daughters dog just shows to me are very disturbed man. He came to you already very disturbed and his reactions are not even relevant to the present. You where just the unfortunate one to cop his already very disturbed thought processes and past traumas. I know what you think now after I said that “how did I marry someone just so unhealthy but he would have hid it well and you would have been exposed to his bizzare side slowly until his bizarre reactions became the norm and you found yourself contorting yourself to bend to his bizarre expectations until one day as you said you couldn’t do it anymore because it become so out of this world that even you can no longer deny just how disturbed he is and has become. Now you are faced with save yourself but loose your child.


  6. Hey Freud?!
    I always like reading your posts because I can relate (smiley face emoji)
    Your last sentence absolutely said it all but boy, the absolute sheer frustration and agony of it all knew no bounds! Truth is, the more I learn now about “narcissists” the more I’m convinced he was one and therefore NOTHING could ever have changed. The peace without him is something I bask in every day.

    I believe my husband was the way he was through childhood trauma. He told me after we married and his mother attempted suicide that, as a young boy, he had often returned from school and found her with her head in the gas oven; in the closed garage with the car engine running; on the floor with pill bottles and alcohol next to her. Each attempt left her near death until she finally jumped off a 30 storey building while she was on holiday in Spain with her friends a year after we married…. I wrote a piece on Nick Child’s site but ……………………

    I feel very, very sorry for the little boy that he was but NOT for the man he became. A very damaged man.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s