With just one week to go until the International Academy of Practice with Alienated Children holds its first conference in Israel, we have well over a hundred practioners registered to attend in person and online, making this a powerful beginning for this small international group focused upon the wellbeing of alienated children.
The purpose of the Academy
The Purpose of the Academy is to develop, curate and promote clinical excellence in the treatment of children who become alienated as a result of family disharmony and dissolution.
The Academy conceptualises alienation in children as an alienation from the self as a consequence of defensive splitting.
We do not regard alienation to be a problem in the child but recognise it as a relational problem that creates an induced splitting defence in response to the inter and intra-psychic pressures experienced by the child in its attempt to maintain attachment unity after family separation.IAPAC 2022
Clinicians in IAPAC work from the perspective of the child and at all times the lived experience of the child is considered alongside the risk of harm. This model, conceptualises the harm done to the child as self alienation, what Janina Fisher describes as
Fragmentation of the Self is a consequence of an overload (single trauma, cummulative trauma). It is linked especially with childhood adversities. Temporarily or permanently early life stress increases the individual vulnerability of fragmentation of the Self.Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors – Janina Fisher 2016
Working with alienated children produces significant information about the way in which relational pressure causes the child to regresss to an infantile state of mind, in which splitting, a core primitive defence, relieves the child of an intolerable burden. This information enables a depth understanding of what the child experiences and how to work with the child to bring about successful outcomes. Working from the perspective that this is a relational trauma which causes reactive splitting in the parent who is being rejected, builds recognition that therapy with families where children reject a parent is about the implementation of boundaries and the amelioration of power dynamics.
Special Guest Speakers
Barbara Jo Fidler, Ph.D., C.Psych., Acc.FM.
Clinical Developmental Psychologist
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).
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.
The full programme can be accessed here
This conference is the first in a series of projects for the International Academy of Practice with Alienated Children and we are delighted with the interest shown and the continued drive of so many practitioners to do the right thing for abused children of divorce and separation.
Please note that I will be in Israel for two weeks from 11th June and will be reporting on the seminars and outputs from the conference over the two days 14/15th June.
On my return I will be focused upon our courses for parents – Holding up a Healthy Mirror and Higher Level Understanding – both of which have been attended by 100 plus parents so far. A new course for parents who have completed HUAHM and HLU, will begin in late September alongside a new Therapeutic Parenting Initiative which I will be focusing on from the Autumn.