The aetiology of a child’s rejection of a parent is determined by the child’s presentation, meaning that the root cause of a child’s rejection, is displayed as markers in the child’s behaviours. A child who is rejecting a parent because of something that a parent has done to them, will do so in an ambivalent pattern of behaviours. A child who is rejecting a parent because they are suffering from psychological splitting, in which the defence of alignment and rejection has been triggered in them, will shift from loving connectedness to contemptuous rejection with a lack of empathy for the parent they are rejecting.

In alienation, contempt and lack of empathy are coupled with idealisation and hyper alignment with the preferred parent. When this pattern of behaviour is seen, further investigation is necessary to determine the pressures upon the child which cause the defence of psychological splitting.

I read something recently which made me realise that there is a current attempt being made by ideological campaigners, to normalise the abusive behaviour which causes psychological splitting. It went something like this -‘who hasn’t bad mouthed the other parent and which family hasn’t seen children taking sides with one parent against the other.’ My response to this somewhat grim question, is that in healthy family systems, bad mouthing is recognised as harmful and in healthy family systems, children do not line up with one parent against the other because they are not pressured into doing so because unhealthy badmouthing behaviour is not the norm.

Children do not reject parents they love and who have not harmed them, unless they are being encouraged, permitted or otherwise influenced to do so. That influence can take many forms, some conscious, some unconscious but when children reject and display the markers of psychological splitting, seeing one parent as idealised and the other as demonised, it is because they are being exposed to unhealthy behaviours which put psychological pressure on them. And no matter how much that is dressed up as normal everyday behaviour, most families who make the crossing from together to apart, do not end up in a situation where a child becomes alienated. Anyone saying otherwise is revealing the reality of their own agenda which appears to me to be an attempt to legitimise child abuse.

Fortunately, despite the somewhat toxic two years which have just gone by in this field, the work of building clinical practice with alienated children around the world continues and this year, the inaugral conference of a highly experienced group of clinicians working together in the International Academy of Practice with Alienated Children, will be held at the Western College of Galillee in Acre in Israel on 14/15/16 June. The conference will be focused upon the theory and practice of working with alienated children and reunification and recovery of the alienated child.

Our speakers for this conference are prolific in the field of forensic and clinical work with children and families affected by alienation and I am delighted to announce them today.

Along with these two highly respected speakers, we have very experienced clinicians from Israel and several European countries as well as from the USA and Canada, creating a rich and diverse programme from a wide range of inter-connected fields such as attachment, therapeutic parenting, domestic abuse, memory processing and reunification and recovery work with traumatised children and families. This is a clinical conference which is designed to meet the diverse needs of practitioners who are experienced and who want to build upon their skill set as well as those who are just setting out in working in this field.

2022 is a year in which clinical practice with alienated children is our focus and when we will take a great stride forward in terms of education and provision of support and resources to practitioners and to parents. We take our work in this very difficult field very seriously and recognise that the challenges are many but the mission is clear –

To raise public awareness of the harms which are caused to children when they are exposed to behaviours which induce psychological splitting and to provide resources to prevent this harm and protect children, as well as assist them in recovery.

IAPAC 2022

Next week I will be announcing further details, as well as how to book for this conference, which will be hybrid in delivery with most speakers attending physically.

For all information, please keep checking back at IAPAC.