We are living in the most extraordinary times when all normal rules of living are suspended. Shopping again yesterday, I felt the triggers of fear and anxiety washing over me as I was faced with empty shelves. No matter how calm we try to stay, no matter how we think this through, our biological survival systems are being triggered and we are frightened of not running with the herd.
We need those toilet rolls. Not because Covid19 gives us stomach upsets but because we are being forced into catastrophic thinking where the worst case scenario overwhelms rational behaviour. If others are buying bales of toilet rolls either they know something that we don’t, or they are being sensible and we are not is how we are forced to think. Either way, fear is contagious and when there is a threat to our survival coming, this is the kind of behaviour which is triggered first.
On Sunday I wrote about Covid19 and your alienated child. Today I am writing about Covid19 and you, me, us. This is a threat like non we have faced before and it is no longer coming toward us, it is amongst us. Now is the time for us all to allow this wave of fear and contagion to transform us into something else. Now is the time for us to give birth to the altruism within us all. Now is the time for love.
Since I wrote on Sunday about Covid19 and your alienated child I have received messages from around the world to say that it is true, children are being motivated to reach out and check on their parents. This is of course not universally given, but it is a pattern of behaviour which confirms for us that love never dies. I have even heard reports that parents who have kept their children away from their other parent for many years are making changes in their behaviours. In these extraordinary times, normal rules do not apply and now is the time we will see what we are all made of.
Transmogrifying the fear which has caused the panic buying, into mutual aid and support is already happening around the world. Reports of neighbourhood groups being set up to check on elderly people and shopping being dropped off for those in self isolation are growing. For those whose children are isolated from them through alienation, now is the time to come together to build new ways of helping each other and new ways of signalling to children that their parents are still there and still loving them.
At our Therapeutic Parenting workshop on Saturday we discussed the power of listening circles, where parents can drop in and hear how others were reunited with their children and the issues they face in recovery. Feedback from the workshop tells us that it is those stories coupled with advice and information which make the most difference. From the workshop on Saturday will come a WhatsApp listening circle run by parents themselves.A prototype we will build upon. Small routes of support, costing nothing but the time of those interested, are emerging from a meeting of experience.
It is those routes, of self help and support, which will come from this extraordinary times in our lives. Across all of life, our interdependence will be made clear to us. We cannot survive this without working together and we will make the whole world a better place when we do.
During this time, when all travel is cancelled and we are forced to remain at home, we will be working on our new book and therapeutic parenting course. Alongside this, we will be supporting parents to set up a new way of interacting with each other which is based upon therapeutic parenting principles for helping alienated children in recovery.
The time for mutual support is here and this will be our focus. During a time when children will be anxious, fearful and in need of the parent they have been forced to reject, our work will be to help those parents stay strong and keep signalling that they are still here.
Love in extraordinary times. It is the only thing which will see us through.
EAPAP 2020: Announcement coming soon.
In the light of the global crisis of Covid19, the organising committee for the EAPAP2020 conference is currently working to reschedule the dates. We want to keep everyone well and healthy and safe and so we will work to ensure that the conference is held at a later date which is being agreed this week.
Heading towards four hundred practitioners have already booked to attend the conference, which demonstrates its significance in the world. We are committed to holding this and to bringing together some of the most experienced clinicians working with alienation, to reformulate our understanding of how to treat this problem.