As we wind down to our vacation, I am already discussing with colleagues, new services coming through the Lighthouse Project to bring greater support for healing and strength to rejected parents around the world.
In recent days, I have supervised work in several countries around the world and have, through this work, built new connections with people who want to work with us to bring more information, education and support to parents and practitioners working with families affected by this problme.
I am super excited by these connections, which move the work I have done on this blog into a new, paradigm of self help and mutuality. From being a place where I have documented my journey across the wasteland of understanding and support to families affected by a child’s rejection after family separation, to a proactive space in which knowledge, education and healing can be shared with the wider world, this blog has become the change I wanted to see in the world.
I long ago left behind the idea that the state can change our lives. In the mid nineties, I began to realise that what the state gives, the state can take away and that awareness has never left me. From my younger years as a single parent, through to my older years as a grandmother, everything that I have done has been with that in mind. If we depend upon the state to provide what we need, we will be left wanting. If we want to feel secure and well in our own selves, dependency upon our own selves and our capacity to influence the world we live in is the way to go.
I have spent the past decade working in this highly complex, angry and often litigious field. I have watched over that decade as the issue of parental alienation has risen to consciousness and I have observed the way that the black and white thinking which permeates this field, is mirrored in services to support families as well as campaigns which attract hurt and angry people who mirror the very dynamics seen in families.
Having spent ten years delivering services to assist families, I have come to a place where I want to focus my next decade on developing the kinds of thinking and services which move away from this mirror of splitting towards a holistic way of thinking about relational trauma in family separation.
All of my work over the three decades I have been involved in the helping therapies, has come from a place of supporting children’s rights to an unconscious childhood, in which they can learn through playing and feel contained in a healthy hierarchy in which adults manage their safety. I do not subscribe to the idea of parental alienation being a psychiatric disorder in the child and I have never subscribed to the heroes and villains narrative which stalks this wasteland. Alienation in a child is a relational problem, it arises during times of significant psychological change in a child, when a child is potentially already vulnerable because of early developmental damage and where a parent is unwell or otherwise unable to provide the kind of parenting which holds the child in a safe container.
Neither have I ever subscribed to the idea that all you have to do is prove parental alienation in court and then remove the child. Having been in cases where I was clearly expected to be a hired gun, I have gained more than a couple of angry stalkers for refusing to say a child was alienated when actually the child was reacting to severe psychological control by the parent they were rejecting. I have never compromised my stance on working from the needs of the child. Back in 2012 we were severely attacked by the father’s rights groups for refusing to agree that 50/50 shared care is a panacea for all ills in family separation and that earned me some more enemies. But I didn’t budge from my stand point and I never will. Back then, I realised that this space is all about heroes and villains and whether you are one or the other really depends upon the standpoint view you are reacting from.
From there I have taken just about every negative projection it is possible to throw at me. Depending on which side of the fence you are on I am either an angel or a devil, a charlatan or a saviour, dangerous or a pioneer. In truth I am none of those things. I am someone who understands alienation and who has worked in a focused way to bring that understanding to the wider world via my work and my writing. That is my circle of influence. I have done that by focusing on what I can change, not what I can’t.
Which leads me back to circles of influence and the new and emerging plans for the Lighthouse Project, a phase of work which has brought others to work in this space to help us to grow our circle of influence further. To help you to understand what we mean by growing our circle of influence, here is a short piece which explains how to turn your influence from blaming and shaming to taking control over those things you can change.
From the autumn the Lighthouse Project will be developing to bring to parents and practitioners, positive services of support which enable you to expand your circle of influence and create change in your own life.
If you are one of those people who believes that changing the world starts with you, come and join us and change your own world first to grow your own circle of influence.
I will be back from September 10th when we will be getting ready for the EAPAP Conference online – Book Here to join us.
See you in the Autumn.