I have just been reviewing some of the content for the third European Association of Parental Alienation Practitioners Conference which takes place online this week. Rich in clinical material, this conference shifts gear in terms of addressing relational trauma in divorce and separation and offers a comprehensive toolbox for anyone working with the problem of a child’s outright rejection of a parent.
Also included in the three day programme, is a workshop for parents with myself and Nick, which is entitled Building the Road Home for your Alienated Child. I have just put the finishing touches to it and am pleased to say it is packed full of guidance and information about how to understand what is happening, how to develop an alienation aware mindset and how to utilise therapeutic parenting skills to provide a safe base for your child to return to.
The conference has over four hundred registrants who really are in for a treat in terms of unpacking the problem we call parental alienation and examining the ways in which the dynamics seen converge in the here and now as alienation of a child. From power and control to trans-generational trauma transmission, from attachment disruption to reformulation of models of working with the issue, this conference, which has developed largely under the radar this year, is set to bring a new agenda into this space.
With speakers from thirteen different European Countries and a couple more from other countries, we have put together an exciting and information three day event which can be accessed in your own time if you cannot join in real time. If you are a parent and you would like to join us for day three or for the special seminar just for parents, again you will be able to access this in your own time if that is easier for you.
We are grateful to the Child Protection Centre of Zagreb for hosting this year’s conference and excited that this has brought together so many skilled clinicians who are leading the way in their own country in bringing this child protection issue to light. Against a backdrop of heavy backlash, in which ideological attempts to drag the issue back into the gender war and identify it as only something which is claimed as a false allegation by abusive fathers, we know that we must continue all efforts to keep the spotlight on the alienated child.
This issue, which is about the removal of the child’s right to an unconscious childhood by triangulation into adult issues, is deliberately mischaracterised by those who wish to portray it only as a domestic violence issue. Fortunately however, alienation of a child is recognised around the world for the harm that it does over the child’s lifetime. It is recognised in law in many countries, including in the UK where it is established in case law.
This is about protecting children of divorce and separation and about raising awareness of the multiplicity of dynamics which converge to create the alignment and rejection behaviours which are popularly known as parental alienation. When the focus is upon the child and not the rights of parents, our capacity to find routes to resolution for the child which protects their relationships with both parents increases. When the focus is upon the child, the need to avoid the blame and shame game is clear.
It is not possible to treat alienation of the self using routes that alienate the child from another part of the self. A complex trauma requires a complex response and this conference showcases much of the work being done to build the kind of interventions which lead to integration of fragmented internal and external experiences.
If you are a parent and you would like to join us for the seminar on Friday, or if you would like to join the conference in part or full, book here.