Holding up a healthy mirror: Becoming a therapeutic parent to alienated children

An online development course for alienated parents and their families with Karen Woodall Thursday 18 November 2021 Thursday 25 November 2021 Thursday 02 December 2021 Each session runs for two hours from 16:00 to 18:00 GMT £180 Inclusive of Tax LIMITED PLACES You can check your local start time here (just click the link andContinue reading “Holding up a healthy mirror: Becoming a therapeutic parent to alienated children”

My Child is Possessed: Alienation of Children in Divorce and Separation

The most common phrase I hear when working with alienated children and their families is ‘my child is possessed.’ Parents whose children are induced to use psychological splitting in divorce and separation, can be forgiven for thinking this when the behaviours of the child are observed. It is the case however, that the ‘possessed’ child,Continue reading “My Child is Possessed: Alienation of Children in Divorce and Separation”

Working with alienated children and their families: A structural therapy, evidence-based approach

Online Workshop for Practitioners With Karen Woodall 28 October 2021 (16:00 BST) 5 Hours Suitable for psychotherapists, social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists. About this workshop: Treating alienated children requires a deep knowledge of how to differentiate and tailor treatment routes to suit the unique needs of the child and family affected by the defence whichContinue reading “Working with alienated children and their families: A structural therapy, evidence-based approach”

Child Focused, Alienation Aware, Structural Therapy

I am back at the Clinic after a short break to rest and recharge, coming up is a big new phase of work at the Family Separation Clinic which includes the evaluation of the last decade of work completed. Early results from the first interviews with parents who received their children in residence transfer areContinue reading “Child Focused, Alienation Aware, Structural Therapy”

Fragmented reflections: How alienated children become trapped in the broken mirror

“the brain’s innate physical structure and two separate, specialized hemispheres facilitate left brain-right brain disconnection under conditions of threat. Capitalizing on the tendency of the left brain to remain positive, task-oriented, and logical under stress, these writers hypothesized that the disconnected left brain side of the personality stays focused on the tasks of daily living,Continue reading “Fragmented reflections: How alienated children become trapped in the broken mirror”

moving the family furniture: therapeutic treatment of alienation of children in divorce and separation

Whilst many people claim to understand the issue of alienation of children in divorce and separation, not many know how to treat it successfully. Many who say they treat the problem, use the approach of ‘trying it for themselves’ in the belief that they know better than others. As Steve Miller M.D says however, thisContinue reading “moving the family furniture: therapeutic treatment of alienation of children in divorce and separation”

structural and systemic Treatment of induced psychological splitting in children of divorce and separation

The core of what we are working with when children are induced to use psychological splitting in divorce and separation is, the alienation of the self from the self which begins with the child. This is a splitting pathology, in which the child is forced back into the paranoid/schizoid position identified by Klein as aContinue reading “structural and systemic Treatment of induced psychological splitting in children of divorce and separation”

Broken Mirrors: The underlying harms in alienation of children

Continuing on with the theme of underlying harms, this week I have been working with families affected by alienation of children, in which the core reason for removal from a parent is serious attachment disorder. Attachment disorder is one of the reasons why children are moved in residence transfer and it is worth explaining whatContinue reading “Broken Mirrors: The underlying harms in alienation of children”

Underlying Harm: What really happens when children are alienated in divorce and separation

I presented a webinar for a group of parents in the USA this weekend on induced psychological splitting and the harm it causes to children of divorce and separation. In my introduction, I explained that the label parental alienation is not useful when working therapeutically with families affected by a child’s outright rejection. This isContinue reading “Underlying Harm: What really happens when children are alienated in divorce and separation”

Underlying harms: The need for transparency in protection of children of divorce and separation

The paramountcy principle, which is enshrined in the Children Act in the UK, requires that the best interests of the child are held central to everything being considered in private and public family law cases. Many criticise the family courts for the secrecy which surrounds them and campaigns are underway to make what happens therein,Continue reading “Underlying harms: The need for transparency in protection of children of divorce and separation”

Unevenly Woven: The Emotional and Psychological Texture of Enmeshment between parents and children after divorce and separation

enmeshment n. a condition in which two or more people, typically family members, are involved in each other’s activities and personal relationships to an excessive degree, thus limiting or precluding healthy interaction and compromising individual autonomy and identity. (APA) The texture of something is most usually that which can be described by the touch (asContinue reading “Unevenly Woven: The Emotional and Psychological Texture of Enmeshment between parents and children after divorce and separation”

Underlying Harms: Child Protection and Alienation

Underlying Statistics Start of another week at the Family Separation Clinic and I am reviewing questions coming in from the hundred or so parents who signed up for the webinar I recorded this week. Fifty four of these parents were mothers whose children are hyper aligned with their father and who, in rejecting their mothers,Continue reading “Underlying Harms: Child Protection and Alienation”

COming HOme: A lighthouse Project Podcast on the recovery journey of the alienated child

In September, I will be delivering a very special podcast about the recovery journey of the alienated child. Joining me to illuminate this journey, is a parent of a child who is now of age, who was moved in residence transfer in the UK Family Courts. This parent and child are participating in the evaluationContinue reading “COming HOme: A lighthouse Project Podcast on the recovery journey of the alienated child”

Hyper Parental Alignment: Looking the right way at the problem of alienation of children in divorce and separation

Hyper alignment between children and parents after divorce and separation, is seen when a child is hyper (meaning excessively, as in hyper sensitive), aligned (meaning lined up with) one parent against the other. Hyper alignment which is accompanied by the child showing disdain and contempt for a parent, especially when that echoes the parent toContinue reading “Hyper Parental Alignment: Looking the right way at the problem of alienation of children in divorce and separation”

Alienation of Children in divorce and separation: A legacy of Transgenerational trauma

“Experience has taught us that we have only one enduring weapon in our struggle against mental illness: the emotional discovery and emotional acceptance of the truth in the individual and unique history of our childhood.” ― Alice Miller Working with alienated children and their families teaches me that what is popularly called parental alienation, isContinue reading “Alienation of Children in divorce and separation: A legacy of Transgenerational trauma”

The Challenges in treatment of children who are induced to use psychological splitting in divorce and separation

Working with children who suffer from induced psychological splitting after the divorce or separation of one of their parents, is a challenge in many ways. The issue of a child’s rejection of a parent is still one which is being hotly contested in campaign terms around the world and the use of ‘parental alienation theory’,Continue reading “The Challenges in treatment of children who are induced to use psychological splitting in divorce and separation”

A Spectrum Problem: The experience of induced psychological splitting in children of divorce and separation

splitting n. 1. in Kleinian analysis and Fairbairnian theory, a primitive defense mechanism used to protect oneself from conflict, in which objects provoking anxiety and ambivalence are dichotomized into extreme representations (part-objects) with either positive or negative qualities, resulting in polarized viewpoints that fluctuate in extremes of seeing the self or others as either allContinue reading “A Spectrum Problem: The experience of induced psychological splitting in children of divorce and separation”

Defending the Defenceless: Practice with Alienated Children

“If not consciously acknowledged and mourned, uncertainty about one’s descent can cause great anxiety and unrest, all the more so if, as in Alois’s case, it is linked with an ominous rumor that can neither be proven nor completely refuted” Alice Miller, For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of ViolenceContinue reading “Defending the Defenceless: Practice with Alienated Children”

Help For alienated Parents: Making the right choices

This short guidance is for anyone who wants to understand whether the webinars I am making will be useful in your case. I know that wise choices when you are in the most vulnerable of situations are often difficult to make and so, I am posting some guidance, in the form of questions, to enableContinue reading “Help For alienated Parents: Making the right choices”

Induced psychological splitting in divorce and separation: A depth approach to understanding and helping alienated children: A Zoom Seminar with karen woodall

Monday 28 June 202116:00 London time The event will also be available for 30 days after the live broadcast for you to view at a time that suits you. You can check your local start time here (just click the link and enter your city in the blue box): Time Zone Converter In this intensiveContinue reading “Induced psychological splitting in divorce and separation: A depth approach to understanding and helping alienated children: A Zoom Seminar with karen woodall”

Protecting children from alienation when you leave an abusive relationship

Following on from a couple of comments recently, I thought I would write a piece on leaving an abusive relationship when alienation of children is a risk. In our work with alienated parents, we are regularly presented with the problem of someone who managed to leave a relationship but at the same time, lost theirContinue reading “Protecting children from alienation when you leave an abusive relationship”

Understanding patterns of behaviours seen in cases of alienated children – the split debate of DA vs PA

I came across the trailer of a film which is badged as being about a father’s coercive control of a child. It is heralded by anti-parental alienation campaigners as being about domestic abuse of a child, when in fact it is a classic depiction of how children are alienated by a father. As I haveContinue reading “Understanding patterns of behaviours seen in cases of alienated children – the split debate of DA vs PA”

losing the labels: Evidencing Clinical practice with alienated children and families

The Family Separation Clinic will welcome university researchers next week as the evaluation of over a decade of work with alienated children and families gets underway. The Clinic has been active in court mandated interventions in the UK since 2009 and in recent years has extended its work to include Croatia, USA, Sweden, Hong Kong,Continue reading “losing the labels: Evidencing Clinical practice with alienated children and families”

Healing children and families affected by alienation after divorce and separation

The reason why parents mistreat their children has less to do with character and temperament that with the fact that they were mistreated themselves and not permitted to defend themselves. Alice Miller Whatever we call it, children who hyper align with one parent and reject the other after divorce and separation need our help. AsContinue reading “Healing children and families affected by alienation after divorce and separation”

Coercive control in cases of alienation of children in divorce and separation

Coercive control is defined in the UK, in section 76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015 as follows – Controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship (1)A person (A) commits an offence if— (a)A repeatedly or continuously engages in behaviour towards another person (B) that is controlling or coercive, (b)at the timeContinue reading “Coercive control in cases of alienation of children in divorce and separation”

Whose Life is it anyway: enmeshed relationships after divorce and separation

enmeshment n. a condition in which two or more people, typically family members, are involved in each other’s activities and personal relationships to an excessive degree, thus limiting or precluding healthy interaction and compromising individual autonomy and identity. APA definition One of the most common problems seen in post divorce relationships between parents and children,Continue reading “Whose Life is it anyway: enmeshed relationships after divorce and separation”

When child abuse looks like love: protecting children from psychological and emotional harm

The task to demonstrate that a child who is rejecting a parent outright is displaying symptoms of hyper-alignment with the parent they are clinging to, continues. This parent is often referred to by campaigners as the protective parent, when in reality they are anything but protective. The problem for many professionals and, for the outsideContinue reading “When child abuse looks like love: protecting children from psychological and emotional harm”

Alienation of children in divorce and separation: An undeniable suffering around the world

On March 26 2009, I wrote my first blog. It was Mother’s Day and I wrote for alienated mothers around the world and my understanding of their hidden suffering. Since then, I have written thousands of words about the undeniable pain experienced by families affected by alienation of children. The wordpress stats which were presentedContinue reading “Alienation of children in divorce and separation: An undeniable suffering around the world”

harming the child: induced psychological splitting after divorce and separation

For many decades now, divorce and separation have been treated as an everyday occurence, something that happens to many families and something that should be traversed as if it is part of life. Working as I do, with children affected by divorce and separation, I see that far from being a simple life transition, divorceContinue reading “harming the child: induced psychological splitting after divorce and separation”

Containing the uncontainable when children reject a parent after divorce and separation

The past few weeks in family politics in the UK, has demonstrated the way in which uncontainable emotional and psychological material, dominates the space in which children become alienated from a parent. Watching this, I am reminded that what we are doing when we are working with children who have been induced to use psychologicalContinue reading “Containing the uncontainable when children reject a parent after divorce and separation”

transgenerational trauma in the form of alienation of children and the epigenetic legacy

Today in the House of Lords, Baroness Meyer withdrew her Amendment to the Domestic Abuse Bill after a lengthy and considered debate about the issue of alienation of children in divorce and separation. My experiencing of listening to this was that at last, the seriousness of alienation of children after divorce and separation, is beingContinue reading “transgenerational trauma in the form of alienation of children and the epigenetic legacy”

The alienation of mothers: shame, blame and the reconfiguration game

There is a current strategy to convince alienated mothers that they are really suffering from coercive control and that they are being conned into believing that they are alienated. The problem with this argument, is that it only focuses upon the experience of the mothers themselves, it ignores completely, what is happening to the child.Continue reading “The alienation of mothers: shame, blame and the reconfiguration game”

Fabricated or induced illness in cases of alienation of children: A serious form of child abuse

This is the second in a series of articles which examine the underlying mental health issues which are seen in cases of alienation of children in divorce and separation. I began working in this field over ten years ago, a time period when the issue of alienation of children has become increasingly understood in theContinue reading “Fabricated or induced illness in cases of alienation of children: A serious form of child abuse”

Encapsulated Delusional Disorder and Alienation of children in divorce and separation

APA Definition of Delusional Disorder delusional disorder in DSM–IV–TR, any one of a group of psychotic disorders with the essential feature of one or more nonbizarre delusions that persist for at least 1 month but are not due to schizophrenia. The delusions are nonbizarre in that they feature situations that could conceivably occur in realContinue reading “Encapsulated Delusional Disorder and Alienation of children in divorce and separation”

Working with the language of parts in helping alienated children to heal

Inner Child Work We are all still children inside our adult selves and some of our behaviours in the here and now come from our experiences of being children in relationship to adults. One of the important things you must remember when your child returns to you is that they need you to remain inContinue reading “Working with the language of parts in helping alienated children to heal”

What do we mean by alienation of children in divorce and separation?

What do we mean by alienation? Much discussion about alienationof children in divorce and separation, is around what one parent is doing to the other. Alienation means many things, we consider that it means that a child’s right to an unfolding sense of self which is sovereign and unique to them, has been colonised byContinue reading “What do we mean by alienation of children in divorce and separation?”

Therapeutic Parenting for alienated children: A Zoom seminar with karen woodall

Therapeutic Parenting for Alienated Children – What it is, why it matters, how it helps – 24th March 2021 What is Therapeutic Parenting? Therapeutic parenting is a high nurture, attuned style of parenting which assists children who have suffered early developmental trauma, to build healthy attachments. Why does it matter for alienated children? Alienated childrenContinue reading “Therapeutic Parenting for alienated children: A Zoom seminar with karen woodall”

Constrain, protect and then treat: Child protection in intervention with alienated children and families

Working with other clinicians allows me to formulate new way of educating others about how to approach cases of a child being induced to use psychological splitting in divorce and separation. Lately we have been discussing how to help social workers, people we often work with in teams, to understand the concept of alienation usingContinue reading “Constrain, protect and then treat: Child protection in intervention with alienated children and families”

the asymmetrical power balance in families where children reject a parent

The asymmetry of power over the child, in families where children reject a parent outright, is one of the dynamics we pay close attention to in assessment, differentiation and treatment. Asymmetrical power dynamics exist, where one person holds power over another and the subordinate person cannot have access to balancing power. In separating families, powerContinue reading “the asymmetrical power balance in families where children reject a parent”