Induced psychological splitting in divorce and separation: A depth approach to understanding and helping alienated children: A Zoom Seminar with karen woodall

Monday 28 June 2021
16:00 London time

The event will also be available for 30 days after the live broadcast for you to view at a time that suits you.

You can check your local start time here (just click the link and enter your city in the blue box):

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In this intensive webinar, Karen Woodall will lead you through a depth understanding of what psychological splitting means and what it does to children who are induced to use it as a defence. Unpacking the psychologically split state of mind in children, demonstrates that behaviours which seem irrational on the surface, are actually a normal defensive response to a highly abnormal situation.

Children who become alienated are often sensitive and exceptionally bright children. They have often been parented prior to separation, in ways that have caused developmental trauma. Parents who are rejected, have often been unable to prevent that harm, either because of their own experience of trauma or because of the control that a parent has had over a child. When psychological splitting is understood, parents who are rejected, become more able to recognise the need to adapt their own parenting skills with children so that they can meet the needs of the child who has been drawn into the adult dynamics.

Learning to spot the signs of psychological splitting and to avoid the scenarios which may cause a child to enter into the defence without warning, helps parents to adapt their parenting to avoid unnecessary triggers which can lead to splitting. Like all defences, splitting can occur suddenly, in response to difficult and traumatic events or slowly, due to powerful dynamics which eventually exhaust and overwhelm the child’s capacity to relate to both parents. In either scenario, understanding the risk factors, the red flags and the progression of the problem, gives parents the skills to prevent alienation from escalating.

Detailing the framework which must be achieved in order to help the severely alienated child, the link between the legal and mental health management of serious cases of alienation, will be fully explained. Sharing her experience from working closely with alienated children over more than a decade, Karen will then lead you through the experience of psychological splitting from the child’s point of view, to help you to understand the steps you can take to ensure that the child receives the right input to assist them to recover.

This is a psychoanalytic approach to understanding and analysis and a therapeutic parenting approach to healing children affected by alienation which has been used inside and outside of the family court process around the world. This is a new way of thinking about the problem of alienation of children in divorce and separation, it offers skills for resolution with children who are on the mild to moderate spectrum of alienation reactions and detailed analysis of what is necessary to help children at the severe end. This approach is used currently at the Family Separation Clinic, with children and adults who were alienated as children, to release them from the bind which is caused by psychological splitting in families suffering from relational and trans generational trauma. It is used with adult children around the world and it demonstrates that the combination of understanding of psychological splitting with a therapeutic parenting skill set, provides for the child, the reassurance that it it safe to reconnect, even in some cases, after decades of rejection.

(This model of understanding and intervention with families, is currently being evaluated by a UK university, to illustrate the process being utilised and its success with families suffering from alienation of children after divorce and separation. Results from this will be available in 2022.)

Suitable for: Parents with and without contact with children both inside and outside of the family court process.

Practitioners: who wish to understand the problem of induced psychological splitting and how to assist alienated children.

Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes

Cost: £50

Book Here


  • This webinar will be held on Zoom.
  • To gain access, you must provide a valid email address along with your name and PayPal order reference number (you will receive this by email from PayPal after you have made payment).


  1. Just FYI, you might want to edit the first sentence in paragraph four, above, which currently reads: “Detailing the framework which must be achieved in order to help the severely alienated child, the link between the legal and mental health management of serious cases of will be fully explained”. Cheers


  2. You stated above: “This approach is used currently at the Family Separation Clinic, with children **AND ADULTS WHO WERE ALIENATED AS CHILDREN**, to release them from the bind which is caused by psychological splitting in families suffering from relational and trans generational trauma.”

    I would like to book for this seminar, but would first just like to confirm please that this seminar could be of help for my, and my adult son’s, particular situation: he is my youngest and most alienated child (there is another, older, slightly less severely alienated child) who is just turned 20, and has lived alone with the father in a *highly* enmeshed situation (parentification, adultification, even spousification) for most of 4+ years now.

    This now-adult child is still meeting the emotional needs of the father – an alcoholic, who could possibly be classified as a ‘druggie’ as well – and he aggressively ‘protects’ the father from me (the father, who clearly has a severe personality disorder, is the actual abuser, a very severe abuser, but plays the role of ‘fragile/abused victim’ and can’t be reasoned with. This behaviour is of course all closely connected to me finally separating from him because, ironically, of his abuse).

    It is a horrific situation – both the children were being alienated from me from the time they were very young, but unfortunately I did not understand then, when we were still together, exactly what was happening, did not recognise what it was I was seeing being played out before me. And my now-adult son, as recently as a few years ago, desperately wanted and needed help – and I tried so hard to find help, but I was let down time after time by ‘professionals’ who had no idea about parental alienation…. and so our sessions together only made things worse. I had made a promise to him that I would get help for both of us – and I FAILED! I know NOW what the problem is…. but he still does NOT know – and at this point he would walk out on me if I ever tried, even in the smallest way, to explain it to him. The bonding and enmeshment with the father is SO extreme, and very cult like, and has gone on for far too long. The father has a PhD, and is a lecturer – but our son, just a month or two into starting his A-levels, completely stopped attending school, and the father, who only gained his PhD in his 30’s, then said to me (after initially blaming me for him not going to school): ‘He doesn’t need to go to school – all he needs to do is take the exams at the end of the 2 years’ – I believe those words would be termed as ‘magical thinking’. (He changed his tune, by the way, when some weeks later the authorities contacted him about the son’s school absences, threatening him with a fine of up to £1000 if the son did not start attending school again. He then immediately turned on the son, angrily putting the blame on HIM not only for him not going to school, but also for ‘showing up his father’)

    Based on what I’ve described above, would you say that this seminar would be of help for me in my and my son’s specific situation? He badly needs help – he and his highly disordered father (who was infantilised as a child, by the way, by his severely mentally unwell mother) have become scarily pathologically enmeshed now. So it may be too late now. But until not too long ago, my son was clearly crying out for help. Unfortunately he cannot listen to ME anymore, as it has been too ingrained in him that I am the source of all his AND his father’s ‘woes’… But I believe that he is still able to listen to others, to ‘outsiders’. That has certainly been the case in the past – just unfortunately for him, in most cases so far, they were not the RIGHT ‘others’

    Thank you


    1. Yes Mel, this will help you, I am just going to write a short piece to publish to show how it will help everyone, please read it and then decide whether to book, I know that everyone in this situation is vulnerable and that making the right choices for where to get help is hugely important. K


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