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Parental alienation in the UK

Parental Alienation

On the whole, I am not someone who finds the routine use of labels helpful. However, in the case of Parental Alienation, I strongly believe the failure to use this label in the UK has perpetuated a lack of understanding and helplessness in those that work in this area. This helplessness parallels the experience of the 54 mothers and fathers who took part in my recent research study. For these parents, the “Parental Alienation” label enabled them to begin to make sense of their experience through accessing the large volume of literature and, more limited, peer support available. Yet despite this understanding, their sense of powerlessness was exacerbated by their encounters with the courts, Cafcass, social care services and legal professionals.

In my clinical and consultancy work, I continue to hear from the majority of parents, and many solicitors, that raising parental alienation as a concept is a non-starter. In…

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