Therapeutic Parenting Listen and Learn Online Circle – 18th October 2022 at 19:00 UK Time

Facilitated by Karen Woodall

Coercive control is often considered to be a set of behaviours used by men to control women. It is however, also about any relationship in which a power asymmetry exists.* In situations where children align with a parent strongly and reject the other parent with contempt and disdain, the relationship with between the aligned parent may show signs of coercive control, particularly the dynamics of ‘identifcation with the aggressor’ or enmeshment in which the child’s own feelings are foreshadowed by parental internal conflicts and unresolved trauma.

Understanding how coercive control affects children in divorce and separation, helps rejected parents to build strategies to support children as well as articulate their plight to others who may also be able to assist.

This listen and learn circle will focus upon coercive control in circumstances where children align and reject parents and will examine the range of issues which are seen in families where this occurs. Looking at the way in which coercive control is commonly understood, the behavioural patterns of alienating fathers will be discussed, looking at how children are controlled by inter-psychic or covert strategies such as abandonment threat, will be reviewed in the context of how mothers alienate children.

Coercive control and the removal of children’s independent sense of self, forcing the child into the defence of splitting and thereby preventing a child from experiencing authenticity will be explored along with therapeutic parenting strategies to help the child to recover.

*Dijkstra, S. (2022). ‘I see a wall… then I cannot reach my son.’ Coercive control tactics by one parent alienate the child from the other, Journal of Gender-Based Violence (published online ahead of print 2022). Retrieved Oct 8, 2022, from

This is a bi monthly drop in group which can be attended regularly or just as a one-off. The circles will be facilitated by psychotherapist Karen Woodall until the Christmas period of this year. Each session will focus on a particular element of therapeutic parenting for children with attachment difficulties due to divorce and separation and will comprise of 45 minute input and then an hour and 15 minutes of group discussion. Participants can attend to listen and learn and to share and receive knowledge. The basic requirement is simply curiosity about helping alienated children.

The cost of each session is £40.00 (including sales tax).

Please note:

A link to the event will be emailed to you, separately. This may not be sent until a few hours before the session is due to begin. If you have not received the link, please check your spam folders. If you are still unable to find the email, please contact


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