First encounters with an alienated child

Karen Woodall

Many professionals who have not ever encountered a child who is alienated find it difficult to know how to understand or respond to the phenomenon.  In this current climate of continuous elevation of a child’s voice in the process of family separation, professionals may well be meeting children who have, for quite some time before their encounter, been given all of the decision making power over their relationship with their other parent.  This process, of placing a child in charge of relationships, is one which is upheld by the increasing reliance in the UK on tools such as Wishes and Feelings reports.  When these tools are used indiscriminately and without any kind of analysis, professionals working with the alienated child are simply colluding with the alienation and entrenching an already serious problem of role corruption.

A child in a separated family should not be in control of the relationships that…

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