Ask the experts: creating a network of alienation aware parents and professionals

I have been up early and working on our new website again today. This time on our ‘ask the expert’ section which will start off with advice you can access directly and develop into guest spots for people we like who are expert in the field of parental alienation. Top of our list is Brian Ludmer, who co-wrote the brilliant book The High Conflict Custody Battle with Amy Baker and Michael Bone, we love this book and the chapter written by Brian who has written widely on the issue and who is hugely skilled as an attorny, in understanding and developing strategies for managing parental alienation. I am delighted that he will join us as our new website launches soon.

But back to our ‘ask the expert’ section which will offer guest spots by people who work in the field of PA in the UK as well as across the world.  In the time since we opened the Family Separation Clinic in London, we have built a wide network of people with whom we have worked who really ‘get’ what is going on in parental alienation. We will be inviting some of them to write guest blogs for you and then asking them to answer your questions. We have Barristers, Solicitors, Family Court Practitioners  and Counsellors, Mediators and Social Workers .  We also have parents themselves, both alienated and alientating and finally we have young people who were affected by alienation when they were children, who we helped back then and  who have now recovered. Young people who want to help alienated and alienating parents to understand what it is really like to suffer this horrible problem.

I can hear you asking how do we get the alienating parent to participate in this. More on this specific element later, for now though remember this. Parental alienation is a problem with a human face. Alienating parents are not monsters, they are people. Whilst alienation of your child is a monstrous act, turning the whole group of people called alienating parents into monsters, simply removes the humanity from the equation and mirrors the alienation reaction in the child.

We work with alienating parents, who are human beings in all of their frailty and whilst it may be surprising, those who recover and who help to change their child’s perspective, also want to help other people.  Parents who were once aligned with their children and even those engaged in alienation, will also write for our new site, giving us a unique opportunity to open dialogue across the divide.

Our ask the expert section starts with the top ten things to ask anyone who tells you that they work with parental alienation.  Here they are.

1. How many children have you been successful in reuniting with their parent in the past five years?

2. How many times have you been cross examined in a case concerning parental alienation in the past five years?

3. Can you provide citation references to the case you have worked in, how many of those cases are published cases?

4. What is the single most important element to address in helping any parent to deal with parental alienation in the court process?

5. When would you consider therapy may be possible in a case of alienation?

6. What differentiation protocols do you use to help you to decide how to treat alienation?

7. What route would you take to reuniting a child with a parent after five years of rejecting behaviour in the child?

8. Which other professionals would you regard as essential in treating a case of parental alienation?

9. Who can I speak to who you have helped in the past five years?

10. How much will you charge me to do this work and what guarantee will you give me that it will be money well spent?

On our new site we will be advising you of the best answers to expect to all of these questions and more. We want to help you to spend wisely, make the right choices and get the best outcomes for your children. Experts we trust, who we know bring good outcomes will be clearly highlighted and we will always be clear about the information and advice we are giving you and what you can expect to achieve from it.  For too long, too many people have made too much money out of promising outcomes that are then not delivered. We want to make you not only alienation aware but alienation expert aware so that you do not have to succumb to the lofty pronouncements of people who charge much but deliver little.

We will also have a section for recommendations from parents themselves so please, when we launch, get ready to write and send us information about people who have helped you. This is our chance to create a network of alienation aware parents and professionals that other people can learn from.

From now on, I will personally be dedicating a lot of my time to making sure that this network gets off the ground and works hard for you. I invite all of you, parents and professionals to join us as we create what is, for me, a real route to making change for children and families affected by parental alienation happen in the here and now.  Putting power into your hands is our goal. Making the UK and beyond alienation aware and capable of tackling the problem at source is how we will achieve it.  Not long to go now until lift off. Looking forward to joining with all of you soon.

Our ask the expert section will offer guest blogs, advice, Q&A sessions and more. Our new site (name to be revealed shortly) is built and we are getting ready to launch.

Most of the information on the site will be free of charge but there will be a cost to join the forums and our webinars and to download some of the larger items such as podcasts.  We aim however to give you as much as we can for as low a cost as possible, helping you to help yourself without having to mortgage your house and your life to pay expert fees.  Where you do need experts we will provide a trusted expert section on the site with testimonials from parents themselves.

Welcome to the world of the empowered parent.

18 comments

  1. Ako · September 30, 2015

    Dear Karen, I see you have gone a long way and put a lot of effort and knowledge in helping children and adults in divorce. The problem in Croatia, which we do not know how to address is that parental alienation is completely denied, and all such cases are dealt with as child abuse by the alienated parent. After a couple of years, when it becomes obvious that there was no abuse, they all say they have to respect the child’s right, listen to the child, etc. and can do nothing because the “fact that abuse has not been proved does not mean there was no abuse”. So, what happens is that mental health professionals mostly support the alienated child in rejecting the parent, which is a poor service.

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    • karenwoodall · September 30, 2015

      Hi Ako, You are in the place that the UK was in some years ago and in fact the place that some parents find themselves in still in the UK as the acceptance of PA is not universal across our country, courts and family services. You may be interested to join our new European Network which we are currently bringing to life alongside our self help site. We have colleagues from Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark,Germany and Italy so far, all coming together to look at cross border protocols and sharing best practice. I can send you information about that, it is in the early stages but with combined interest it will soon be a reality. The idea is to discuss not only practice with families but policy and how to bring awareness culturally and into family services as well as the courts. Let me know if you are interested. Kind Regards Karen

      Like

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  3. padrestevie · September 30, 2015

    Hi Karen
    This is such an important post for anyone faced with alienation. It is absolutely ESSENTIAL to ensure that, at a time when you are possibly undergoing one of the worst experiences in your lifetime, you recruit people who are at least aware of the issues and sympathetic to your problems and your aspirations. It is amazing how many are not.
    I’m not exaggerating when i say that you are entering shark infested waters where bottom feeders abound. The questions Karen gives, and other questions like them, will help to ensure that you do not fall prey to unscrupulous predators.

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  4. Howie Dennison · September 30, 2015

    Where will this web site be? At http://www.familyseparationclinic.co.uk/ ??

    Like

    • karenwoodall · September 30, 2015

      No it will an independent site but run by the Clinic, I will be launching it from this site so you will get directions to it. This site will continue but will largely be a place where I talk about the politics of separation and related issues. It will be linked to the new site and the new site will be linked to the Family Separation Clinic (which continues to be the place from where we deliver all of our court based and other services). Launch details very soon. K

      Like

  5. Glen Keating · September 30, 2015

    Hi. I am in Canada. Will this also be here in this country?
    Thanks.

    Like

    • karenwoodall · September 30, 2015

      It will Glen and we will make the site as relevant as possible to the issues you face in Canada too. K

      Like

  6. Anonymous · September 30, 2015

    This is a brilliant idea, to have reliable expertise on hand.

    However there are many components that need to be in place to bring about successful outcomes.

    My friend was in Court last week, and only just, because I thought he might not make it; he was so depressed by the Cafcass report written by an Officer acting as Guardian ad litem for the children. Father is now but a thin and pale figure of a man.

    The Report

    There were several items of note that I thought showed the controlling parent was doing just that. It was obvious mother did not want the father to be in his children’s lives.

    1 She described herself as being anxious and fearful because she knew he was in the same town
    2 She described him as a stalker because he was in the area when all he was doing was trying to see his children
    3 The teenage son described his father as a binge drinker and cannabis user when the father is not.
    4 There are descriptions of violence against the father made by the children which suggests he is a cruel and violent man.

    The Officer purports to be aware of the phenomenon, “parental alienation syndrome” but for reasons best known to herself prefers to accept the children’s version of events.

    I beg to differ. I know this man, his struggles and his nature. I have seen happy photos of him playing with his children. He speaks of them with great fondness. You can go to his facebook page and see them there. Only two years ago Social Services wrote a good report on him recommending his children spend nights with him. His house has the kid’s bedrooms and toys just like they left them………so very sad. He keeps on trying though he has no money and his health is failing.

    The Cafcass recommendations talk about a risk assessment of father being based on “denial of domestic violence and criminal history”. It is stated that regard has been given to the welfare checklist analysis based on the facts of the case.

    ………………………………….

    Of course this got me thinking about why the Cafcass Officer thought that anything she had written about in the report was based on fact. Even if it was fact it certainly hadn’t been proven.

    There are glaringly obvious signs of parental alienation in the Cafcass Officers report and yet the Cafcass Officer seems blissfully unaware, she may even have learned about parental alienation from a highly skilled practitioner; she certainly admitted to knowing about it.

    Could it be that the Cafcass Officer is taking the easy option because she knows how difficult it will be to alter the opinions of the parents?

    Does she think it may be too expensive to involve qualified expertise?

    Does she think the children really are better off living with one “good” parent whilst using the long arm of the law to keep the other parent away?

    Is she only pretending to understand parental alienation whilst sticking to social services dogma………i.e. “supposed best interests”….social care by committee.

    Was the actual report influenced by a committee back at HQ. comprising of the single parent brigade? (I suggest this with good advice because we had someone kept out of his children’s lives whose partner worked for Cafcass!).

    Just had one of those eureka moments. Father wrote a letter to his children which the Cafcass Officer was going to pass on. However she refused to do this because a section of it referred to father’s own ill health. Quite rightly I think she inferred that the children would not benefit from feeling guilty about their father’s poor health. However she did not offer to help the father reconstruct a better letter. This indicates to me that the Officer did not want the father to try and connect with his children in a healthy way……………the Cafcass Officer had a prejudiced agenda. Her report was simply going through the motions. Maybe she felt it was not her job; perhaps she thought helping the father construct a letter to his alienated children might prejudice the report?

    In this case it seems as though father is forever under the microscope of concern and mother gets away with it as if butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth. It is so hard to move away from the he said/she said scenarios which have nothing to do with the realities of parenting.

    Kind regards

    Of course I am giving this father as much help as I can but it is not an easy journey. It would be so much easier if we thought of separation in the context of building bridges rather than who is at fault (he said/she said)………….not easy

    Like

  7. daveyone1 · September 30, 2015

    Reblogged this on World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum..

    Like

  8. Kat · September 30, 2015

    Looking forward to this. Some of the most important help we’ve had has been from peer support from others going through the same. So I definitely think you are on to something very important here.

    Like

  9. Everythinghappensforareason · October 1, 2015

    Karen – Please don’t forget those parents, like me, who accepted fate was against them and had to “let go” for fear of making things worse. Our experiences are a valuable resource for the the worst elements of PA and we also need hope for how a happy ending might still be achieved when our adult children start looking to fill that void where we (the alienated parents) should always have been all along

    Like

    • karenwoodall · October 1, 2015

      Of course we won’t forget parents like you EHFR, the site is as much for you as it is for people going through the process now, we would love you to write for us too and we will be giving a lot of advice as well as case histories of children coming to find their parents when they have grown up. Everyone affected by the problem along the spectrum of time and severity is welcome to contribute, share, download, talk about and advise. We want to create a community of people who really ‘get’ the problems, how it happens, what it feels like and what we can do about it, what needs to change, we can change and what we can’t. This is for you too and we will never forget those parents who have had to stand back, they may not be able to contribute to children’s lives right now but they are essential in our work and your contributions are very very welcome. K

      Like

      • Everythinghappensforareason · October 1, 2015

        Thank you, Karen. I would also mention that I was the the son of an alienated father (who would run away to Canada when I was 7) back in the 60’s and despite the emotional damage it did to me and my “vow” it wouldn’t happen to my children that’s exactly what did happened. Despite suffering the effects of also being alienated from my children, by my ex-wife, my mother still cannot see (or accept) that she did the very same thing to my father all those years ago and there’s a connection where her grandchildren are concerned. What has been far more painful, though, has been the apathy of lawyers, social workers, very senior judges, etc when they were repeated told I am the product and victim of PA, myself……..that I was once that child and should therefore be listened to and taken more seriously in my plea. It was never about the damaged alienator/alienated or even, more importantly, the kids…..it was “all about them” and proved their unworthiness for such positions of influence and power. Whether we agree with him or not, the nation is currently obsessed with Jeremy Corbyn’s call for a new style of Politcs…….far more important and helpful would be a new and better style of supporting and protecting children (who are currently suffering a myriad of mental health-related problems like never before). Far too little attention is paid to the child of alienation who will one day become an alienator……..a little like the statistic that a child of abuse has a greater potential to be an abuser in adult life

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  10. PapaMissingKids · October 1, 2015

    /bold “We work with alienating parents, who are human beings in all of their frailty and whilst it may be surprising, those who recover and who help to change their child’s perspective, also want to help other people. Parents who were once aligned with their children and even those engaged in alienation, will also write for our new site, giving us a unique opportunity to open dialogue across the divide.”
    /unbold

    Every part of this upcoming website gets the juices flowing when I read about it….but this section is just too unique! More unique than unique! (you get my drift!) If parents who were once aligned are now level headed enough to contribute then this could lead to the holy grail! What a lovely thought!

    Just cannot wait for this to be up and running 🙂

    Like

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  12. Craig D Tresise · October 7, 2015

    Hi Karen, thank you for your Blog. It is great to see that someone has a finger on the pulse of Parental Alienation. I am a 52 year old Father who had a normal Father – Daughter relationship with my girls up until late last year. Whilst recovering from three Strokes in a Rehab facility I was told by my EX not to come home as they were all happier without me around. I have seen my daughters for three hours on one occasion since January this year and my EX has positioned herself as the saviour and me as the poor even rotten father. I live in Melbourne, Australia and have been unable to source any help or support. My lawyers are only interested in their pockets and a financial outcome. I need help to see my children. I am tired of everyone saying they will come back to me in time, they are teenagers and that I just have to wait. Well I don’t think I should have to wait. There were/are no issues of domestic violence of any kind during our marriage. Can you please let me know if there is anyone you know who could advocate for me. Thank you.

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