by Karen Woodall and Nick Woodall
Published by Charles C Thomas, 2017.
Even though this book was published as recently as 2017, there are a number of things that, if we were wring it now, we would change; not least, the title. Whilst the term parental alienation is one that many potential readers may recognise and, to that extent, may help draw them to a source of useful information and help, it is also one that is loaded with cultural and ideological baggage that is, to my mind, very unhelpful. Equally, some of the content no longer matches my clinical and theoretical understanding of the dynamic being described. Putting these things aside, I hope and believe that the book still contains sound, practical information that will help you understand and navigate this complex problem.
'A highly valuable resource for parents, and a must-read book for every mental health professional, social worker or legal professional working with families in divorce.'
Professor Gordana Buljan Flander, Ph.D.
Director of Child and Youth Protection Center of Zagreb, Child protection consultant to UNICEF and Council of Europe expert
'Understanding Parental Alienation is unique... a balance of scholarship and practical, hands-on experience. The notion of parental alienation has been described in mental health literature since the 1940s. Nevertheless, the typical mental health or legal practitioner was not taught anything about parental alienation during the course of their professional education. Understanding Parental Alienation by Karen Woodall and Nick Woodall, may be their textbook and study guide as they learn about this serious mental condition and challenging legal situation.'
William Bernet M.D.
Professor Emeritus, Vanderbilt University and Distinguished Life Fellow, American Psychiatric Association
Understanding Parental Alienation is intended for parents who are living through a nightmare—the loss of their relationship with a child—which seems impossible to understand and extremely frustrating to turn around. This book, written by two leading experts in the field, provides a balance of theoretical background and practical hands-on information to guide both parents and practitioners through this devastating phenomenon. The authors’ many years of experience have shaped their understanding of the causes of parental alienation, the manifestations of this serious mental health condition, and interventions that are likely to be helpful in the short-term and the long-term. The book is written in a readable, engaging manner interspersed with interesting case vignettes. As well as introducing some new theoretical concepts, such as the transition bridge, and helping the reader to understand the unique dynamics of the child's rejection, perhaps the most original parts of the book focus on taking action to deal with the problem and strategies for healing. The authors provide practical advice on preparing for court including how to develop a chronology of events and how to prepare a written submission, even down to choosing a writing style that is most likely to be read by the judge. Specific guidance is also provided on how to help alienated children heal through reunification. Understanding Parental Alienation is a highly valuable resource for parents and a must-read book for every mental health professional, social worker or legal professional working with families in divorce.
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Understanding Parental Alienation is the book we have been waiting for. This exceptional, comprehensive work offers deep understanding of the devastating phenomenon, which has been fostering helplessness and hopelessness in parents, as well as practitioners for years. Most importantly, the authors make the step beyond by offering guidance on how to cope with parental alienation and take action, enabling parents and practitioners to work together in protecting the well-being of millions of children, who are being denied a loving parent. Having this in mind, the authors never succumb to the pitfall of failing to see the uniqueness of each child and family in parental alienation cases.
The path the authors suggest is revolutionary, challenging current approaches but, at the same time, firmly based in theory and practice. Page by page, the reader is drawn in by the authors` remarkable understanding of the phenomenon, arising from knowledge of recent theoretical advances, as well as years of experience working with children held captive by alienation.
The exceptional quality of this book about children, families and life lies in the profoundly human voice of these two leading experts in parental alienation. The authors speak openly, the authors speak boldly, but most of all, the authors speak from a point of empathy and compassion.
Professor Gordana Buljan Flander, Ph.D.
Director of Child and Youth Protection Center of Zagreb, Child protection consultant to UNICEF and Council of Europe expert.
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