The International Academy of Practice with Alienated Children Conference is being held in Acre in Israel on JUne 14/15 2022. Kindly hosted by the Western Galilee College in Acre, the Conference is also supported by Haifa University. Bringing together clinicians and practitioners from all over the world, the conference is the first gathering of this group, which is dedicated to building best practice with alienated children.
The focus of the work of the Academy is alienated children and all of the presentations at the conference, are configured around the lived experience of the alienated child. The full programme is published here. Approaching this work from a focus on the alienated child’s experience means that we are considering the child as subject of their own lived experience, rather than the object of a parental dispute. This moves away from the idea that a child’s rejection is caused by high conflict between parents and acknowledges that what might look like conflict to the outside world, is actually the struggle with internal conflicts in one parent and the response to that in the other. The child in these circumstances, is recognised as being reactive to the internal conflicts of one of their parents, adapting behaviours and developing defences in the face of that. Using a psychoanalytic model of understanding, clinicians are enabled to understand what is happening for the child and are able to build a treatment route which is tailored to their needs. Interventions are based upon structural therapy, recognising the child as being the homeostatic maintainer in the family system. Structural shifts in the family system, designed to relieve the child of the burden of that role, are the starting points for intervention. A child protection model, in which children are protected from the harmful dynamics which have pushed them into the role in the first place, underpins therapeutic intervention.
This conference brings together many voices to consider the different ways that the problem of a child’s rejection is understood and worked with. Headline speakers are highly experienced practitioner Ben Garber PhD from the USA and well known author and clinician Barbara Fidler PhD from Canada.
Benjamin D. Garber, Ph.D.
Dr. Garber is a New Hampshire licensed psychologist, parenting coordinator, expert consultant to family law matters across North America, speaker and author. He is also a former Guardian ad litem. Dr. Garber has advanced degrees in psycholinguistics, developmental and clinical child psychology from the University of Michigan and The Pennsylvania State University. He completed an internship in clinical child and family psychology at the Institute of Living in Hartford, Connecticut. He is co-founder of the Parenting Coordination Association of New Hampshire, winner of the March of Dimes “Distinction in Media Excellence” award, and an acclaimed educator and author in numerous areas of child and family development and family law.
Barbara Jo Fidler, Ph.D., C.Psych., Acc.FM.
Dr Fidler is a clinical developmental psychologist. She has worked with high conflict separating/divorcing families conducting assessments, professional consultations, expert testimony, mediation, arbitration, therapy and parenting coordination for over 30 years. Dr. Fidler provides training to judges, lawyers and mental health professionals and has presented at numerous conferences. She is co-author of four books: Child Custody Assessments (2008), Challenging Issues in Child Custody Disputes (2008), Best Practice Guide: Responding to Emotional Harm & Parent-Child Contact Problems in High Conflict Separation (2013), and Children Who Resist Post-Separation Parental Contact: A Differential Approach for Legal and Mental Health Professionals (2012).
Whilst Dr Garber and Dr Fidler approach the problem of a child’s rejection from the perspective of what they term ‘resist/refuse’ dynamics, our conversations together and understanding of each other’s work, demonstrate the rich tapestry of skill and knowledge which comes from listening to each other and sharing depth understanding of clinical and forensic work.
The work of raising public consciousness of the problems facing children who suffer from induced psychological splitting after divorce and separation, will continue via IAPAC alongside development of this model of work and resources to support it. The conference is attracting a lot of attention, with bookings gaining pace from social workers, psychtherapists, psychologists and psychiatrists, alongside attorneys and judges.
The International Academy of Practice with Alienated Children conference is on JUne 14/15, streaming live from Acre in Israel and will be recorded and available for a period of time after the conference ends.
Family Separation Clinic News
Courses for Parents
Holding up A Healthy Mirror
FSC is now focused upon developing training and resources for parents and practitioners who work with them with investment funding from Sweden for which we are extremely grateful.
This phase of work includes our Holding up a Healthy Mirror (HUAHM) course for parents, which has been delivered to sixty parents so far and is being delivered to a further 25 currently. The Holding up a Healthy Mirror Course is followed by Higher Level Understanding, the second course for this, which is only for those who have already completed HUAHM, begins on May 23rd.
The next Holding up a Healthy Mirror Course begins on July 1st for four weeks and bookings will be open for this shortly.
Therapeutic Parent Practice
A six week course for those who have completed both HUAHM and Higher Level Understanding, begins in September. This course, which is entitled Therapeutic Parent Practice develops coaching skills for those wishing to develop a therapeutic parenting approach to helping others.
Bookings for Therapeutic Parent Practice opens in June.
Evaluation of the Work of FSC over a Decade
The evaluation of the work of the Family Separation Clinic is delayed slightly due to a change of team undertaking the interviews. There are three groups being interviewed, parents whose children were moved to live with them in residence transfer, children over the age of eighteen who were moved in residence transfer and parents who received input from the FSC coaching and guidance service. The core focus of the evaluation however, is the experience of children over the age of eighteen who were moved in residence transfer, as it is this group which provides a unique insight into the impact of this intervention. The model of work which is used by FSC, which is based in structural therapy and informed by psychoanalytic understanding, will be fully evaluated an articulated within this evaluation.
News from the evaluation team will be posted here and on the website of the Family Separation Clinic regularly.
Instructing the Family Separation Clinic
The Clinic is fully booked for all instructions until October 2022. We continue to only accept instructions from the Central Family Court or the High Court of England and Wales. We also accept instructions from the High Court in Hong Kong and in the Republic of Ireland. To enquire about instructing the Clinic please see here
Fundraising Seminar – The Power of the Rejected Parent to Help and Heal
The response to this seminar has been wonderful and we are grateful to everyone who has taken time to join and sponsor Nick on his climb of Mount Toubkal in support of the work of the Salvation Army to prevent homelessness and modern slavery. PLEASE REMEMBER, if you are sponsoring Nick, to follow the instructions below carefully to get your link to the seminar.
I have just recorded a podcast for the seminar with two children who were severely alienated and moved to live with their father six years ago. Entitled ‘When Two World Collide’ this podcast is a must for anyone who wants to learn about alienated children’s lived experience and the power of the rejected parent to help and heal.
Online Seminar -26.5.2022 @ 17:00 UK Time
In this seminar Karen Woodall will share her understanding of the power that rejected parents hold in assisting their children to recover from induced psychological splitting, the underlying problem which is seen when children align with one parent and reject the other after divorce and separation.
Psychological splitting is a primitive defence mechanism, which arises in some children of divorce and separation and which causes them to align strongly with one parent and reject the other. The onset of psychological splitting in a child of divorce, often heralds a period of time in which the whole family is affected by the impact of the child’s split state of mind and can be confusing and terrifying, especially if it is accompanied by allegations of abuse against the rejected parent.
Working from a base of successful interventions with families affected by this behaviour in a child, Karen Woodall will introduce you to the testimony of a parent and his now adult child, who were reunited by the work of the Family Separation Clinic six years ago. The testimony of this parent and child provide compelling evidence of the power of rejected parents when they are enabled to provide therapeutic healing care for their children.
Discussing the need for consistent routine and understanding of the rhythm of healing for alienated children, this parent and child offer hope for all parents who are forced into the position of being rejected, due to a child being induced to use psychological splitting as a defence.
What you will learn
How alienation happens to children and why
Why parents are rejected when children use psychological splitting as a defence
What happens when children resolve the psychologically split state of mind
How therapeutic parenting can help alienated children
What happens to alienated children when they reunite with the rejected parent
26 May 2022, 17:00 – 19:00 UK time
Find your local time here (just enter your home city in the blue box): https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html?iso=20220526T160000&p1=136
Attendance by minimum donation of £15.00.
The Power of the Rejected Parent to Help and Heal seminar will contribute to Nick Woodall’s fundraising efforts and help raise money for the Salvation Army’s vital work with homeless people and the victims of human trafficking. You can find out more about the Salvation Army’s work, and Nick’s climb of Mount Toubkal, here: https://express.adobe.com/page/FQ0qvk0UaW701/
To access this workshop, please use the link below –
1. make a minimum donation of £15.00 (please consider donating more, if you are able)
2. ensure that you include your name (or alias, if you would rather remain anonymous) alongside your donation
3. email info[at]familyseparationclinic.co.uk with details of your name (or alias) and the amount you donated.
We will then send you a link for the seminar (please remember to check your junk folders).
Please note: 100% of your donation will go directly to the Salvation Army. However, donations are made through the JustGiving website. JustGiving offer this service free to charities but ask donors for a contribution to their running costs; this defaults to 15%. You do not need to accept this amount and, if you prefer, can change to a lower contribution or even £0.00.
Please consider adding Gift Aid. Donating through Gift Aid means the Salvation Army can claim an extra 25p for every £1 you give and it will not cost you a penny extra.
Thank you so much for your support!