Essential Knowledge for All Rejected Parents

This week I have once again been up and down the land working with families where alienation strikes. I have worked with severe cases of alienation this week and hybrid cases. In both situations the child rejects the parent and the end result is the same. Treating it however is not the same in both situations and anyone who tries to do that will soon find the problem either gets worse or the intervention backfires.  Here’s why.

A pure and severe case of alienation has particular significators. These are the pointers which your expert in parental alienation will look for in differentiating your case. If a case is pure and severe we are looking for the following (these are just a few examples).

  • Fixed and determined campaign of hatred which is shared and upheld by the aligned parent.
  • False allegations of abuse of any kind which begin with a narrative from the parent that the other parent is harmful to the child and which are picked up by the child and elaborated upon, often dramatically.
  • A pattern of trauma re-enactment (thank you Doc C) in which the aligned parent places the self as the rescuer of the child from imagined harm done by the perpetrator who is the rejected parent.
  • Phobic like reactions, refusal to speak about a parent, refusal to countenance even looking at a photograph of a parent.
  • Involvement in the adult affairs of the family and the aligned parent and a strong a highly defensive support of the aligned parent.
  • Anger which is disproportionate to what is being asked of the child by the rejected parent (to see them) and by professionals working with the family.
  • A  portrayal by a parent that the child is acting of their own free will and making ‘choices’ based on justifiable reasons for rejection.
  • An inability in the child to move from a fixed and fused relationship with an aligned parent when being questioned about possible alternative explanations or outcomes.

In a pure and severe case of alienation the child will not have been the subject of cross projection of blame, will not have struggled long on the transition bridge and will have been in a fixed and unchanging position for many months if not years.  The aligned parent is likely to treat the professionals as being intrusive, damaging and dangerous to the child and is likely to find many reasons why the professional should not be working on the case.  In pure and severe cases there is an underlying unrelenting drive for control which cannot be stopped without the removal of the child from the aligned parent. In these cases removal ensures that the alienation reaction disappears. This is because the alienation reaction is only in place in relationship with the alienating parent. Removal ensures that the energy/behaviours/coercion/fear/covert commands disappear and the child is freed.

A hybrid case is very different in its presentation. In these cases the following is likely to be true, this is what we look for when we differentiate the case.

  • The child withdrew after some time of being able to move back and forth between parents.
  • The parents however were in conflict in some way during that period
  • Both parents project active dislike and blame towards each other
  • The child describes a ‘trigger’ event which caused their withdrawal, this is often something which gave the child the excuse that they needed to give up trying to relate to both parents.
  • The trigger event was often preceded by a period of time in which the child complained to one or both parents about the other (the child is attempting to use adaptive mechanisms of switching allegiances to cope with the sense of being in the enemy camp).
  • One parent took the opportunity of upholding complaints about the parent and expanded those in the child’s mind, moving to support them in their rejection of the other parent.
  • The child showed attempts to stay in some kind of contact before giving up completely and entering into a completely rejecting state. Prior to the withdrawal they may have made phone calls to the parent they are rejecting out of the blue or may have switched between showing a lot of love and then a lot of hatred.

In such cases the aligned parent will make a big thing of supporting the child, they may say things like ‘I made him go for too long and didn’t listen, now I am listening.’  They may also be very afraid of the child’s powerful emotional statements in which there can be a threat that if the child is not allowed to stay in control they will be rejected next.

Treatment routes differ for each category depending on the age of the child.  In pure and severe cases children of all ages can and should be removed from the alienating parent using the following steps.

  1. Assessment of parents
  2. Assessment of the reaction in the child
  3. Planned intervention which removes the child either to foster care or straight to the rejected parent.
  4. Therapeutic support to the child to support reconfiguration of split thinking and prevent counter rejection.
  5. Support to the previously rejected parent to strengthen understanding and capacity to help the child.
  6. Supervision and management of the relationship with the previously alienating parent and the offer of educational reconfiguration of behaviours (if there is the capacity to utilise this).

In a hybrid case removal will not work to the same effect should the rejected parent be unable to show insight into the behaviours which have caused cross projection of blame.  If this is seen, removal is not used in these cases because of the risk of the child maintaining an independent rejecting position due to their witnessing of behaviours on both sides of the transition bridge. This risk is highest in children aged between 8 and 14.  Strong court management for compulsion of behavioural change is the choice of intervention in these circumstances. Therapeutic intervention alongside court ordered therapeutic time spent with the rejected parent in a tightly controlled programme which holds the core purpose of the work as being the confrontation of the child and the aligned parent with the reality of the other parent is recommended.

It should be noted that differentiating a case is the province of professionals with skill and knowledge and prior experience, preferably those who have had hands on training with experienced practitioners as well as those with a number of cases to make comparisons between.  Hybrid cases, in our experience at the Clinic, can shift into the pure and severe category should the rejected parent show demonstrable change and the aligned parent then maintains their hold on the child and deepens the allegations and efforts to project blame. These are dynamic situations in which the closer you are able to get to the family as a practitioner the better your skills in knowing what the child needs to liberate them fully. In our view, it is only possible to gain these skills through direct work with families.

If we see this dynamic at the Clinic we do not hesitate to change our approach to match the need of the child. The liberation of the child from the horrible experience of being captured by a parent’s psychological reactions is our major goal. Providing longer term support to ensure that the child remains free is our next core focus.

All of these scenarios come under the heading of parental alienation. Both treatment routes focus upon ensuring that the child sees the parent they are rejecting, both compel behavioural change using the court.  Neither uses open ended family or any other kind of open ended therapy as part of the intervention.

Essential knowledge for any parent in the UK is derived by asking the expert the following questions (answers below)

a)Is there ever a situation where you would not recommend removing a child from the alienating parent either in the short, mid or long term if it is seen to be pure and severe?

b) How many children have you recommended should be moved to live with the rejected parent?

c)When and how should family therapy be used when intervening in a case of parental alienation?

The answers to the above questions are

a) No

b) at least one preferably more 

 c) It should only be used as part of a planned intervention which is court managed and which is delivered as part of a process of ensuring that time is spent with the rejected parent.

Any expert who is not able to answer those questions in this manner is not an expert in parental alientation but something else.

An express warning to anyone who is told by an expert that family therapy should be used in their case where it is pure and severe (ie all or most of  the indicators in the pure and severe category are seen) should be absolutely avoided.  Therapy for alienated children and their aligned or alienating parent is absolutely contraindicated in pure and severe cases of alienation and is, in fact, in many cases, placing the children at risk of heightened abuse by tightening the double bind that the children are in. In a pure and severe case of alienation children need an intervention which liberates them fast not family therapy.

An additional warning. Researching the subject of alienation does not make anyone an expert in working with it, it simply means having a body of knowledge about the subject. There is absolutely no substitute whatsoever when you are choosing your alienation expert, for direct hands on experience. Particularly experience in creating the circumstances in which children are liberated from the reaction.  As an expert practitioner, if you have witnessed that and you are skilled and confident in your assessment protocols, intervening in a case is about freeing children from abuse.  It gives confidence in prognosis and it prevents flabby thinking and too much caution which causes delay and harm to children. What families affected by alienation need are skilled, confident and experienced practitioners who intervene, free the child and then provide the post intervention care that prevents the problem from returning.

After Easter,  I will announce a new partnership through which we will deliver a new programme of intervention for pure and severe cases of alienation. Watch this space.

 

 

 

 

25 comments

  1. Pingback: Essential Knowledge for All Rejected Parents | AdVader's Blog
  2. Linda Turner · March 23, 2016

    Reblogged this on Parental Alienation- UNCOVERED.

    Like

  3. Nigel Miles · March 23, 2016

    Sent a copy of this blog to our Directorate of Education and Children Services for him and his colleagues to act with responsibility for the better interests of all our children..

    Like

    • Ros masson · March 23, 2016

      I hope so Nigel … as there is way too much of this happening

      Like

  4. HowieDennison · March 23, 2016

    Karen, I deeply appreciate finally learning what exactly people are talking about when they refer to hybrid cases. I mean, I could sort of have some idea of what people were talking about by reading Fidler and Bala page 38 “Children who resist post separation parental contact”, but your post really helps me to understand.

    However, in reading your post, neither the description of pure alienation nor the description of a hybrid case rings true to me. Granted, I know my personal situation best, but I have talked to many, many alienated parents. However, I don’t think this hybrid model is quite right. I might then tend to agree with Doug Darnell who says “although some cases are hybrids, the assertion that most cases are hybrids (meaning a mix of alienation and estrangement) is not supported by the clinical literature”.

    I might liken it to being lost in the dark. After readiing the 8 Gardner markers or Amy Baker’s 17 strategies, it is like someone turned on the light. After reading Foundations, it is like someone handed me a map, whre every page leaps out in vivid dejua all over again, where finally, I can understand why the various players did what they did and empathy can be completed and the inexplicable has become explained. But when I read these distinctions between Pure and Hybrid, I am just left with the feeling that the map maker is wrong.

    I could fill volumes with my thoughts, but will try just a few.

    1. I am not sure that “imaginary” is a good synonym for “delusion”. I am not sure how much time you have had to live with an alienator who also subscriber to various conspiracy theories like flat earth, aliens, etc. But like flat earth. It just won’t be imaginary. They will have a youtube video of a plan flying over Antarctica with a pilot talking about the horizon being “flat’ when looking out. They will have some complex trigonometry, with errors, where a discussion about the math will simply diverge in many directions without resolution. They will have a a youtube testimony from a “NASA whistleblower”. There will be some complicated claim about the shadow of an astronaut on the moon. But underneath it all, something deeply psychological is requiring the claim of flat earth. Delusions need not be “bizarre”. They just need to be resistant to change after reasonable counter-evidence is suggested.

    2. I don’t know if you have ever watched a beloved person decompensate into persecutory delusions under the stress of raising children, but it isn’t pleasant. It is maddeningly confusing and perplexing. Unless you are Dick Van Dyke auditioning for the Sound of Music, it is going to be frustrating. Nothing can ever be resolved. And if you are Dick Van Dyke, the MFTs are going to go berzerk claiming inauthenticity, etc. There is going to be some conflict, as people probe to see if they can avoid the inescapable conclusion that “something is really wrong here”. And if there is no conflict, the alienated parent is going to take a hit from Kelly and Johnston about being “passive”, and will be open to the charge of refusing to protect one’s children from abuse.

    3. If there is not “blame” at some level, the alienated parent is refusing to challenge the psychotic. The alienated parent has succumbed to DSM IV shared delusional disorder. (DSM V did not really get rid of it … they just said that it looks in all respects like regular delusional disorder).

    4. A “campaign of hatred” does not correspond to my experience. If someone is really, really confused and if they ascribe to Christian ideals, the aligned parent and family will kind of know that out-in-the-open hatred is tacky. That will be hidden. It will all be couched in terms of “if the other parent could just do their religious duty and change X, then we would do well”. Except for every X that is addressed, there will be a dozens more Ys that are cited. While the alienated parent is addressing X, Y, and Z, A, B, C, and Q (times one hundred), years will pass, counselors will change, and there will always be “just one more thing that the alienated parent could do”. And on anything and everything, the alienated parent will be censured for either doing it or not doing it. If the rejected parent stops doing X, weeks or months later, the complaint will come back that they are not doing X. The hatred can be quite subtle. Unprocessed. The alienator is not aware of it. It is just the inescapable conclusion left for why someone is driving the other parent out of a child’s life. Or maybe they will find something like saying “why can’t Dick van Dyke act like the Hulk”? Why can’t the person playing EZ listening Muzak on the radio play Shostakovitch with meaning? For thousands of years, kids of both types of musicians have felt connected to their parents.

    5. Similarly, a child need not be angry in rejecting a parent. Anger simply makes it truly obvious what is going on and threatens the evaluator a little bit. No, if someone has done a really good job of deluding themselves and their children, the child need not have “rock em sock em overt anger”. Neither “pity”. Just “that’s the way it is” and it is “tragic” that the rejected parent is so inadequate. Heck, the alienator will take the kids to counselors who will treat them for the hardship of having such an inadequate other parent. No “overt and plain” anger. But still, the buried anger in the child is there, but not leading to overt, simply bouts of it.

    And I could go on for hours, perhaps days, but no one will read it. Let me know if you want me to.

    Like

    • karenwoodall · March 24, 2016

      The problem you have Howie is that you are looking for something that fits your own personal experience and for you Childress’s explanation does. For others however, there is a very different experience and the issue that you have is you cannot know those other cases. As someone who works with alienation daily, I and colleagues have the opportunity to compare and contrast, we also have the opportunity to witness treatment route successes and failures. You want hybrid cases to not exist because Childress/Gardener are much easier models to understand. Sadly, for me, Childress’s model is exactly the same in outcome as Gardener’s model, it replicates the splitting reaction in the child by encouraging people to think in absolutes about alienation. Alienation is a spectrum experience, it is not all the same and that is what it is absolutely essential to have differentiation routes as demonstrated by Bala and Fidler, both of whom are practitioners as well as researchers, as were Kelly and Johnstone and Friedlander and Walters. What I read in your post is drive to find meaning in your own personal experience and a framing of your understanding within that context. What I am writing about is much much wider than one experience, it is much wider than my own experience, it is much wider than ten experiences, it is based upon around 20 cases every year which gives us the chance to compare and contrast, in teams, working with psychologists, the small as well as big details which create the alienation reaction. As a practitioner I am likely to spend well over 30 hours with a family, in their homes, living their lives, in order to determine the reality before we determine the truth of the matter. When we do we deliver the treatment route and I remain with the family for upto six months if necessary on an arms length basis to ensure stability. That’s a lot of experience, it is not paper based, it is not about intellectual knowledge, it is hands on experience in which the assessment routes of Bala and Fidler make absolute sense and allow us to get as close as possible to the truth and make the changes we know need to happen, happen. As a parent you pick the theory/strategy that feels right to you because it echoes your own experience, as a pracititioner we need a wide range of tools in our toolbox because parental alienation is NOT just one trauma re-enactment presentation, that sits within a whole spectrum of significantors in the pure and severe category in my view. We treat the whole spectrum of alienation in children, so many of the cases that don’t fit pure and severe would, under the Childress model, be simply told that it is NOT alienation. What would we do with those people? Their kids are still rejecting, the outcome is the same. Would we tell those people they will have to go whistle because its not a problem or would we tell them they have caused it by contributing to it? Some of them contribute to it unwittingly, some get locked in combat, some realise what they are doing and change fast leaving the aligned parent to continue their behaviours – which then shift the whole dynamic into pure and severe. Parental Alienation is a dynamic issue which is about RELATTIONSHIPS – I cannot say that loud enough – it is about the relational world and people in the relational world can and do change. Where they can’t and don’t they are likely to be causing pure and severe alienation, where they can and do they are likely to be in a hybrid situation. Read back over some of the discussion on here, you will find people whose kids were in the hybrid category who used interventions as we advised and found things changed. I work with what works and Bala and Fidler, Friedlander and Walters and Kelly and Johnstone, for me, in the UK legislative system, works a treat. K

      Like

      • fionamccormick91@yahoo.co.uk · June 7, 2016

        I have No Contact what so ever with my children who I love very much for 21 years. I would Not have stopped them seeing the other side as he has done me. I was young,naive, and stupid when I tried Marriage. I do not Believe in it at all Now. However being a Mum was the Best thing I ever did. I have a strong maternal instinct and adore children. I have Now been Single for 30 years and miss my children every day.Fionamccormick91@yahoo.co.uk

        Like

  5. Cara · March 24, 2016

    Karen, in our case, my husband unwittingly got “locked in combat” while trying to counter the effects of alienation on his son and made the situation worse, but what really made it worse was the absolute ignorance on this matter of both family court (US) and mental health professionals. Court encourages “cross-projection of blame” and the therapists and judges all believed the parent who was the most convincing (her) and who had control over the narrative (again, her, with help from my stepson). If we had a therapist involved early on who could have guided the process as you do, with court support, it would have been much more clear whether or not the dynamic could be changed to support my stepson having a relationship with both parents. In the end, my husband dropped the rope in the “combat” as we could no longer financially or emotionally afford it, and the rejection by his son is now complete with no hope for change unless his ex changes or his son grows up and wants to reunite. Until the courts get on board with some basic understanding of this process, all the arguing over theory frankly does not make a bit of difference.

    Like

    • karenwoodall · March 24, 2016

      well yes I think you are right to say that to a certain degree, we absolutely need the courts to ‘get it’ but here is where I agree with Doc C (which is not a disrepectful way of addressing him by the way, it is affectionate in some ways and it helps me to keep him in my inner circle of people I trust who ‘get it’. One of the ways that alienation in families takes hold is the way in which people change the names and statuses of the people within the circle, this is then conveyed sub/unconsciously or deliberately to the children. We all do it, I sometimes find myself feeling very angry with the way that Doc C speaks about me but I change that in my inner self by making him softer by being affectionate. That way I don’t go up against him to defensively. One reader of my blog commented recently that I call him Doc C because I am diminishing him and his importance, this person has in my view turned the concept of what we are working with 180 degrees in the mind in order to be able to uphold the paradigm that fits the self. Doc C is an important figure in the landscape of alienation and one which I would not disrespect other than to challenge him when I do not feel that I agree with him.) Anyway back to your point and where I agree with Doc C. Until the court AND the mental health people get their knowledge and understanding right and linked in and working together, all cases, be they pure or hybrid will struggle. Therapists who are unskilled, untried and tested and fixed in their views about alienation in terms of thinking that family therapy will help, will only make things worse whichever the category. The difference that is made in an alienation case is when the practitioner understands it, is courageous enough to work counter intuitively and knows what to do next as the family unlocks itself from the fixed dynamic. You’ve got it right there in your comment – the therapist (facilitator/guide/ whoever) and the court, in tandem, fixes the problem by changing the power dynamic and stabilising the reactions of the adults. Within that you find the children have the space to move. This is about dynamic change, it is about relationships and how people create the problem or fix it – either together or alone if the alienating parent cannot or will not stop what they are doing. You wil have to bear with us practitioners in the arguments over theory as we go along unfortunately, here too is the relational world. The only way through this is discussion and debate. K

      Like

      • Cara · March 24, 2016

        Thank you for your reply. As it happens I am a child therapist and the manager of a clinic. My eyes were opened to the complete lack of knowledge of these dynamics possessed by all the therapists my husband worked with during this process; but the best I can do in my own work and in supervising my team is to help them at least do no further harm in these situations, because we find that without the court giving the parents a push, we can’t really address this situation in a meaningful way even if we do catch on to what is going on.

        I find your work very helpful and I appreciate it, as I do “Doc C’s”. I feel that our situation was a hybrid situation, and it just makes me sad and frustrated that no theory can be applied because of court ignorance, And I believe it needs to start with the court – they are the starting point for these families, and only when they refer to “alienation – aware” professionals (of which there are none in my community as far as I can tell) will the solutions be applied. Right now they allow the parents to choose the therapist, and I know well how that works out, from both sides of the desk. I envision a day when any case that involves a child refusing contact with a parent is dealt with by one specific clinic that works with the court and is full of therapists who are highly educated in alienation and how to treat it. Too late for us, but maybe helpful for others.

        Thank you again for your voice and your work.

        Like

      • karenwoodall · March 24, 2016

        I share your vision of a Clinic full of alienation aware practitioners, it is what we are doing in London, I would love to train others to develop the same in as many places as possible across the world. You are a child therapist, you have personal experience of the dynamic, a strong possibility for you to move into delivery of such work yourself, even if you cannot help your own right now, you can help others. Be the change we want to see in the world, for others if not ourselves, its how I have tried to live my life. There is no better practitioner than one who has been through the issue and healed from it….I guess it may be too soon now but not too late in the future to be part of the change we are pushing for.

        Like

  6. padrestevie · March 24, 2016

    I think Cara has hit the nail on the head. From personnal experience i know that the appointment of the right judge can be the turning point in these cases. Since 2003/4 the judges in the higher courts have been charting the methodology for lower courts to follow. However, 12 years later we are still seeing the higher courts frustration at the impermeability of the lower courts to the clear messages which have been sent out i.e in cases involving alienation / intractable hostility it is essential to have judicial continuity, a strict timetable managed robustly and experienced expert assistance. Unfortunately, by the time these cases get to the more switched on judges in the higher courts it is all too often too late.
    I realise how lucky i was to have a judge appointed who was up to speed. This shows that the awareness is increasing but for those struggling to salvage a relationship with their children it is not happening quickly enough.

    Like

  7. Cara · March 24, 2016

    Karen, that’s my hope in the future, to be part of the solution. You are right, I’m not ready, there is still too much sadness and anger, and still a chance of getting dragged through the family court wringer again. But I do try, for now, to at least not be part of the problem as a therapist, and to train my young therapists on the dynamics as well. We may not be able to treat it yet, but we can at least not make it worse (hopefully). In the future I look forward to getting more training and I hope by then the courts will have some idea of what is needed.

    Like

  8. Anonymous · March 24, 2016

    What you seem to be talking about is cases where alienation has become entrenched. You mentioned before that it can take up to 20 months for a child to become alienated from one of its’ parents.

    Clearly it would be far better if we could prevent alienation growing in the first place.

    It may be that people who love to indulge in alienation techniques learn and pass them
    on through the generations, the behaviours becoming a habit.

    Work needs to be done to prevent alienation becoming a habit and to arrest tendencies to split rather than reconcile and ameliorate.

    This is where a great mass of volunteers who have some understanding and/or experience of what it is like to be outcast can come together to form a body of expertise and knowledge to help parents offer resistance to alienation and promote good practice. They need a place to learn and share their successes. They need to qualify in recognition of their knowledge and achievement. They need to re-train and refresh on a regular basis and to unburden the grief shared with the target parent, so that they can help again.

    Why?

    Because most of us are traumatised at the point of separation and apparently oblivious to why we should be losing our children. We feel dis-empowered not only by our former partner’s actions but also the social and legal framework of society that we assumed might be there to understand and help us.

    There is a lot of good sound advice available (e.g. co-parenting with a toxic Ex by Amy Baker) but I feel it is poorly promoted. We tend to run to Court if we can afford it and that is not a good place to promote harmony. It’s function is to provide a platform to give reason why either party should wield the axe of destiny. It’s the embodiment of a power struggle and a stage where sores and grievances are embellished, where lies are perpetrated and causes take malevolent effect. Common-sense is over-ridden by the issues of individuals whose cause celebre is more important than the protection of meaningful and sensitive relationships. Characters are assassinated on the flimsy basis that your case is similar to someone else’s who suffered the same inflictions and restrictions that you are about to have delivered on you.

    All good healthy advice that purports to change things for the better does not come from individuals who insist that their former partner (alienator) is the one who must accept responsibility for change. It comes from those individuals who are prepared to look at themselves and change things that they control. These people (in this case myself) need help to take responsibility for such changes, help in the form of confidence building, self-esteem, knowledge, skill sets, strategy, courage, self-belief, etc. I need to know about solutions, have the courage to practice them and to make mistakes without cause for excessive self-recrimination.

    Perhaps I am deluding myself. Alienation is inevitable if the alienator is powerful enough. Family therapy certainly won’t help because the family worker is programmed to see that the children are fed, clothed, go to school…….the check list. The fact that the children are hating the absent parent and are dreading the next scheduled visit is beyond the scope of the family worker to understand nor remedy. If you are the target parent you may have very little contact with the family worker because you are rarely with the children anyway. I had to phone mine and she wouldn’t tell me anything. I suspect that had something to do with the confidentiality laws. Invariably the family support worker will be sitting in the kitchen having a cup of tea and seemingly not talking about the absent parent because that might be upsetting for the alienator and when they are upset the poor children get upset too!

    Without digressing too much onto other thorny issues I want to continue the theme which suggests training up willing volunteers to help identify pitfalls and bolster the immune systems of target parents against losing those precious parent/child relationships.

    Kind regards

    Like

    • karenwoodall · March 25, 2016

      I think preventative work is a fantastic idea and I would love to offer some input into that. The transitional difficulties that people see in their children is an excellent place to have input. One of the chapters in the new book is all about transitional difficulties so you will be able to use that. We additionally have other material we can help with K

      Like

      • Everythinghappensforareason · March 25, 2016

        Hi Karen, would you recommend “adult children of pas – Amy Baker” for parents of adult children who are looking to continue healing and better understand where possible future opportunities may lie? I’ve seen encouraging reviews but it isn’t a cheap book. My question also goes out to anyone who has read it

        Like

    • Cara · March 25, 2016

      In general, I see, even among mental health professionals, the tendency to believe completely what a child says about their absent parent and not challenge it. Few know, as Karen said, that the only reason a child rejects a parent is because of alienation, and that children actually try harder to bond with an abusive parent. They just jot down “dad is abusive” on their assessment sheet and make no effort to ascertain whether there is any truth to that. Any professionals who do catch on are summarily dismissed by the alienating parent; and there is always another naive one they can find to support them. Without someone mandating the right kind of treatment with the right kind of provider, alienating parents are free to sabotage any treatment, however well-intentioned. So there is rarely a chance for a mental health provider to help the targeted parent, at least under the current system in our area. I’ve worked with a few of these situations where the targeted parent was more than willing to make adjustments to their own way of managing the situation, but the alienating parent and the child still held all the power, so it really made little difference.

      Like

  9. Stepmom · March 26, 2016

    I still think a lot of confusion comes from understanding what would constitute behaviour that would make it a hybrid case vs a normal reaction to being involved in a pure case.
    The more I read, the more I think my case is pure. The targeted parent is in such a bind – powerless, terrified, angry, frustrated. They can’t show those emotions in court for fear of being labelled The Problem but concealing them just makes them worse.
    I find your lists and comparisons really helpful and would be immensely grateful for a comparison list between behaviours of a targeted hybrid parent (eg the withdrawing you mentioned a few articles ago) and a targeted pure parent.

    Like

  10. Pingback: Essential Knowledge for All Rejected Parents | ...
  11. Ako · March 28, 2016

    It seems the whole phenomenon has much to do with the positions withing the organisation of power. So, the main task of the court (aided by mental health professionals) should be withdrawing the power from power holders with the aim of restoring balanced relationships.

    Like

  12. Ako · March 28, 2016

    One more thing I forgot to mention. Parents, devastated by alienation, may appear bitter, nervous, edgy and unfit during the process, which they had never been before it started happening, presenting themselves as being worse than they had actually been in their relationship with their children, as compared with the alienating parent who acts all kind and nice since they have succeeded in their conscious or subconscious intentions. Is there danger of putting them into hybrid cases because of that? How can that be seen through, especially having in mind children who come up with all sorts of allegations for things which never happened but seem plausible since the rejected parent has changed to the worse exactly due to alienation.

    Like

    • karenwoodall · March 28, 2016

      No, there is no danger of putting parents demonstrating normal range behaviours relating to being alienated in that camp if you are an alienation aware professional. We calibrate behaviours based on the position the parent is in, the length of time they have been in it and the response to our input. That is why training, experience and above all co-working of cases as we do at the Clinic to ensure that we are always fully responding to each case without confirmation bias creeping in is what matters most in this work. Just as you wouldn’t put an auxillery nurse in charge of a heart transplant, you wouldn’t put your children’s lives and yours in the hands of a none alienation aware professional – defined as anyone who answers the questions we have shown in the wrong way. We have more detailed work in our handbook to help you to understand and to do the right thing and manage your case confidently. Self help is hugely important and combining that with alienation aware input from practitioners is what is most powerful in these cases. K

      Like

  13. Cordula Diel · April 13, 2016

    I am an alienated mother in Bonn, Germany. Any help in sight?

    Like

    • karenwoodall · April 13, 2016

      Anyone know of anything going on in Germany? I will ask on the PASG too Cordula. K

      Like

  14. lizarcher66 · May 8, 2016

    I am alienated from my two older sons now 19 and 17 years. I trained to be a psychotherapist to leave my marriage and without this knowledge I would have completely broken during the alienation. My eldest was recruited as proxy to control my youngest son. I have had my daughter now 11 resident with me. I have only just realised and come to terms with the fact that my solicitor advised that I do the right thing which I did in allowing regular and consistent contact for my daughter despite what I now see as the continuing abuse I received in the process and where myself and my daughter were enduring . My ex refused to park near the house so my son’s brought my daughter. We have endured numerous incidents of verbal abuse, having our house broken into and my daughter witnessing me being assaulted by my eldest. I was told that my sons then 12 and 14 were beyond the interest of the courts. And yet nothing was done to protect either of us. With healing and insight ( and a helpful session from Nick) I now manage contact on our terms to our boundaries as tightly as it needs to be to walk the delicate line between positive contact and protection from a father and two brothers who are active alienators. The family therapist was helpful to a level but so fluffy and ignorant of the dynamics to be useless. Thank you for my continuing knowledge and education in helping my management of my tightrope. My 11 year old has an emotional intelligence and depth to allow transitions. My knowledge gives me a sense of empowerment in holding and maintaining strong boundaries. Your centre is a lifeline should I hit crisis and potentially hope for the future when my boys return to have the professional support to heal.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s