Last year I delivered our Holding up a Healthy Mirror course to over three hundred parents from all around the world. What I discovered during delivery, is that the health, knowledge and willingness of rejected parents to take up the skills of mentalising and use them effectively, demonstrates that children with a healthy parent in the rejected position, do incredibly well on reconnection, rebuilding not only the relationship with a parent but integrating a sense of self.

When trained, parents can use therapeutic parenting skills on a continuous basis, moving back to ordinary parenting when the child is integrated and using therapeutic parenting skills again if the child becomes dysregulated and begins to show signs of splitting. This is a training which skills you to help your child (of whatever age) to reconnect and reintegrate an authentic sense of self.

As a result of delivery of this course last year, I received more reports of reconnection, rebuilding and return of children to normal relational space during Christmas 2022, than at any time in my work over the past decade. This helps me to understand more clearly, the power of this approach to helping parents to help their children as well as what is missing in the lives of children who align with one parent and reject the other. The work to develop resources to support parents, will continue at the Family Separation Clinic throughout 2023.

Holding up a Healthy Mirror – Begins Again March 14th 2023 at 8am GMT

About this course:

Children who hyper align with a parent and reject the other in divorce and separation are usually in the age group 8-14 years. This is because this age group is in a stage in which their sense of self and personality is under development and the ego is not strong enough to regulate the anxieties which are generated by the experience of attachment disruption in family separation.

What we know about children who experience these difficulties, is that they can be helped when one of their parents is able to understand their experience and in response, hold up a healthy mirror. When the holding of this mirror is consistent, the child who has suffered from induced psychological splitting which is demonstrated by aligning themselves with one parent and rejecting the other, can rebuild an integrated sense of self.

How it WorksRepair Reactive Splitting

In order to hold up a healthy mirror, the parent in the rejected position must first address the reactive splitting that they are likely to have suffered. Reactive splitting, which occurs when the child rejects, (often accompanied by false allegations), can cause a parent to feel natural reactions such as anger, bewilderment and shame. These feelings, which are normal in the circumstances, can become blocks and barriers to the child’s recovery as the parent refutes the allegations and shows the child their reactive feelings. In these circumstances, the child withdraws further, struggling with their own guilt and shame and begins to split off their feelings further.

Restoring health to rejected parents begins with an understanding of what has happened internally and how that has become entangled with the child’s own splitting reactions. When parents are able to map this splitting across the family system, their own reactive splitting can integrate and they can begin the work of developing the healthy mirror needed by the child.

Parents who have healed reactive splitting can then learn to apply the skills of therapeutic parenting. This is an approach to parenting children who are suffering from attachment disorder due to being emotionally and psychologically harmed. Alienated children with therapeutic parents, are shown in evaluation, to be able to recover quickly from the underlying harms which have caused their rejecting behaviours.

How it Works – Anchoring for Behavioural Change

When reactive splitting is healed, anchoring provides the parent with strategies for maintaining an integrated sense of self in the face of changing responses in the alienated child. It also builds skills and knowledge for understanding how the behaviours of the other parent will continue to impact upon the child over time. Working on the systemic premise that behavioural change in one, will bring behavioural changes in response by all the others, anchoring enables a parent to hold a steady line as the child shifts out of the split state of mind.

How it Works – PACE for Life

PACE, by Dan Hughes is a trauma informed parenting approach which enables anchored parents to provide opportunities for their child to reconnect using an attitude of mind and parenting which supports the child’s move out of the defensive position of splitting. This is a skill which is useful across the lifespan for all separated parents, it is effective for young children, teenagers, adults and older adults who experienced the divorce and separation of their parents. PACE principles are part of the process of becoming a therapeutic parent to alienated and formerly alienated children.

On this course you will learn:

  • What psychological splitting is, how it occurs and why
  • How to identify your own reactive splitting
  • How to integrate split thinking in a fractured landscape
  • How to build integrated thinking strategies
  • What to embrace and what to avoid when rebuilding health in the face of alienation
  • How to build the healthy mirror your child needs
  • Mentalisation strategies for mirroring health
  • The power and importance of consistent mirroring
  • How other parents have used integrated mirroring to bring their children back to health
  • Therapeutic parenting – an integrated skills set
  • Building a consistent communications strategy for recovering your children
  • Working with the counter intuitive approach necessary to enable alienated children to withdraw their projections
  • Staying healthy amidst the chaos caused by psychological splitting

How it Works – Therapeutic Parenting

Therapeutic parenting is a strategy which enables you to mentalise (feel, sense, understand at a deep level) what your child’s experience of divorce or separation is/was. Working from the child’s perspective, the missing pieces of parenting are put in place. Learning about boundaries and their importance, understanding how to withdraw focus from what the other parent is doing and why it is so essential for children and then putting in place the communications and interventions which draw the attachment relationship back into the child’s conscious experience, is what this course is all about. When this skillset is part of who you are, reconnection with your child and then focused repair and healing work can be done over time.

How it Helps – Testimonials from Christmas 2022

‘I did it, I wrote and she responded, we went from two years of no contact at all to meeting in town for lunch and then we went shopping. I am amazed, delighted, grateful and determined to keep using these skills to help her.’

A – Mum to daughter aged 20, alienated since 2020.

I don’t know how it works but it works, it has changed how I think of myself, I am no longer the targeted parent but a therapeutic parent, I am no longer defended, I am active and working to change the world for my children. I have seen them twice, both times for only an hour or so but that is like being given the keys to heaven after what we have been through.’

B Dad to two children aged 14 and 17, alienated for four years.

I’ve done this course and at the very least it had given me hope for the future and insight into what my 2/3 daughters are going through. It’s over 2 year since I’ve spoken with them but I’m working on Holding up a healthy mirror so they can find me and heal themselves. It’s really helped me find peace within myself and strength to keep moving forward.

M. Dad to two alienated daughters

This course changed everything for me, I used the template for writing emails and letters to my children, I learned about mentalising and why it matters and I finally recognised why I needed to do this work, not for myself but to help my children heal. They are back in my life now, I am using the skills all the time with them and I see the splitting and understanding how to parent them so that they can properly find their way back to their own real true selves’.

A. Mum to three formerly alienated children.

You have given me my children back, what a gift that is.’

G. Dad to two formerly alienated children.

This course will be delivered by Karen Woodall, it begins at 8am GMT (making it suitable for parents in Australia, New Zealand and Europe) and runs for two hours each week as follows.

  • 14 March 2023
  • 21 March 2023
  • 28 March 2023
  • 4 April 2023

Cost £180 .00 (£22 per hour of training).


  • 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).


Purchase of tickets to this course offers access to the recordings by all participants for up to one month.

This is the final live delivery of Holding up a Healthy Mirror, which will be transferred to watch on demand in the coming months.