What is Success in Treating Parental Alienation?

“Reunification of alienated children means that they move from the psychologically split state of mind to an integration quickly. This translates into normal warm responding to the parent who has hitherto been rejected. Thus, the person who is able to recognise whether reunification has worked is the targeted parent, not the ‘expert.’ In some cases of parental alienation in the UK, targets parents are told that their child is recovered in situations where the child is still in the position of deciding whether and when they will see a parent. This is not recovery, this is something else and it is usually seen in situations where the people who consider themselves to be ‘experts’ in this field are making decisions about parents and children from a place where they regard both parents as being active contributors to the problem.”

Karen Woodall

This week I have been starting the process of codifying the principles of practice in working with alienated children and their families for the development of training programmes. As part of this work I have been sifting back through the cases where I have achieved rapid reunification of children with the parent they have rejected.  What has always been clear to me as I do this work, is that it is not therapy in the traditional sense, in that the actual reunification work is not achieved through talking or through regular meetings in the therapist’s office.  Reunification work is done actively, largely in situations where children are shifted swiftly through psychological change.  Successful reunification means that the child is freed from the alienation reaction and changes from lacking in perspective as a cause of the psychologically split state of mind, to an integrated perspective in which they are able to…

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