2014 has seen major developments in the depth and breadth of social, legal and therapeutic engagement with parental alienation.
5 or 6 years ago, I would advise people to take care what they would say to their legal counsel and other practitioners about parental alienation because of the general lack of knowledge and how even mentioning ‘parental alienation’ could be used against a targeted or alienated parent. This is indeed the legal advice many alienated parents including me received!
Now, in 2014, I would say it is appropriate to raise the subject, to check out what your legal counsel and practitioners know about it and what interventions they are prepared to consider. It is also more now than ever before to present evidence, your observations and evidence of your children’s behaviour and the behaviour of the favoured or alienating parent in the context of parental alienation.
What has changed?
- Several social media groups supporting targeted or alienated parents have been established, collectively having more than 300 members.
- A national organisation has started up, Parental Alienation Australia and New Zealand to educate advocate and motivate about parental alienation.
- Practitioners including this author have travelled to the USA to participate in advanced training in parent-child reunification with a view to implementing such a programme in Australia.
- More and more legal and family law professionals (including family consultants) are familiar with parental alienation and are prepared to advocate for better interventions.
- Peak bodies such as the Australian Psychological Society (APS) are interested in professional development for their members. This author will be presenting at the APS Counselling Psychology conference in February 2015.
- Parental alienation has been discussed in the Australian federal parliament.
- Australian practitioners are members of the international Parental Alienation Study Group (PASG), comprising of over 200 academics researchers and practitioners in more than 32 countries. This author is the editor-in-chief of the PASG newsletter, ‘Parental Alienation International’.
- Parental alienation has been in the Australian news more than ever before.
This year more than ever we are seeing the synergy between grassroots activism, between alienated or targeted parents actively seeking change and with family law and its cohorts of practitioners, who are prepared to embrace the possibility of assessing and intervening with parental alienation.
It takes the interaction between these two dynamics to facilitate the necessary change in attitudes around parental alienation, that parental alienation is a particularly odious form of child abuse, a form of family violence and that it should be dealt with no differently to any other form of abuse and violence.
These changes are happening here in Australia at a time when other countries have already made parental alienation illegal and a crime of child abuse. Brazil and several states in Mexico have already enacted legislation along these lines. While opposition to parental alienation continues in other countries Australia is at the point of change.
Bring on 2015! May parents and children unite without interference, as they should!