It has been another busy week at the Family Separation Clinic where we continue to deliver services for families affected by parental alienation. This week I have been once again working with children affected by the problem, as well as thinking about new projects coming up which will keep us busy long into the new decade.
In the coming months our new book will be published, we will launch Parental Alienation Direct as a self help site for everyone affected by parental alienation, and we will be travelling to Prague with colleagues from 14 other EU countries, for the launch of the European Association of Parental Alienation Practitioners.
On July 8th, I will be speaking at the Children’s Mental Health Centre conference ‘Too Much Pain’ where the groundbreaking film about adverse childhood experiences – Resilience – will be shown. I cannot tell you how excited I am to see this film and to share with an audience concerned with children’s mental health, my understanding and experience of the devastation caused by parental alienation. Climbing this mountain of understanding has been a project like no other, sharing the view close to the top is rapidly showing me how many more mountains there are left to climb in this range.
Working so closely with children can make me forget that the damage which is caused by parental alienation is not readily seen by others. It can also make me forget that not everyone shares my understanding and experience of this harm. It can also make me forget that what I have worked hard to understand and work with, is still challenged in terms of its reality by some. Confronting this, (as I do when some oaf in Scotland pronounces that parental alienation does not exist), I am always amazed at how opposed some people can actually be. I am equally amazed to discover, as I did this week, that someone is so hostile towards me that they have taken the trouble to compile a thousand page document of my writing and turned it into a searchable database for those who wish to know my thoughts on Gingerbread, Liz Trinder, Feminism and more. Whilst there is no need to wonder what drives this obsession, given my clear articulation of the problems these particular subjects cause in the lives of children, the fact that out there are people who are so opposed to what I do that they would bother to do this AND construct their own potted imaginary history of my work to go with it, is a little out there. I am reminded again that the children that I work with are influenced by parents who are often extremely unwell. And that the negative transference which is drawn when one is carving out new routes which go against the current status quo, is very strong indeed.
Drawing negative transference from unwell parents is one thing, drawing negative transference from other practitioners is something entirely different and yet even those who work with separated families every day, project negative beliefs onto the work that I do. As I find myself surrounded by the love me/hate me dynamic (an often used search term for this blog is ‘I hate Karen Woodall’), I realise that whilst I am busy at the source of the problem for children, all around me is an absolute war zone of conflicting opinions and feelings. The psychologically split state in the child is mirrored at an adult level by parents and at a metal level by professionals. Those who ‘get it’ love the work that I do, those who do not, hate it. Working in these concentric circles of psychological schisms and divisions can be somewhat unnerving at times.
In all this week then, I have realised that the raising to consciousness of the problem of parental alienation, is a long term task and that whilst we have had some real strides forward, the opposition remains and the project is really only just beginning. As I begin the next phase of our work, starting with a series of launches of completed projects, I am looking ahead to the next round of consciousness raising with some excitement. Next year we have something very big planned (more news of that in the coming weeks) and my work to understand and make visible the damage that parental alienation does to children will move at a much faster pace. Joining with others working in this field, we will shine an ever brighter light into the darkest places and show the world the harm that is being done to children, which is hidden under the prejudice and blinkered views of those who should be serving children and families better than they are now.
No doubt we will continue to be dogged by the obsessed, the opposed and the general oddballs who occupy this divided landscape, but we will plough on regardless.
If that someone who created that database would like to put their obsession to better use however, I could seriously use a good archivist!