NEWS 10 July 2019
In July, Karen and Nick Woodall spent three days working with colleagues at the Child and Youth Protection Centre of Zagreb. Two of the three days offered additional education and training for psychologists and psychotherapists already working with parental alienation at the Centre, as well as introducing a number of invited professionals from elsewhere in Croatia and Serbia, to the methods used at the Family Separation Clinic. Some of the work centred around group supervision of cases provided by attendees.
On the third day of their visit, Karen and Nick delivered a two hour lecture to an audience comprised of around 200 judges, lawyers, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and others from around Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Slovenia, at the Teaching Institute of Public Health in Zagreb. The lecture was jointly hosted by the Child Protection Centre and the Croatian Association of Judges for Youth, Family Judges and Experts for Children and Youth. It was introduced by Dr Gordana Buljan Flander and Judge Lana Peto Kujundžić and, because the lecture was so over-subscribed, it was also live streamed to a separate room in the Institute, as well as on the internet. The Child and Youth Protection Centre reported that:
‘the lecture ,,Understanding and working with children and families affected by parental alienation: hearing the authentic voice of the child and intervening to help recovery“ was organised by Child and Youth Protection Center of Zagreb and Association of Judges for Youth, Family Judges and Experts for Children and Youth. The lecturers were Karen and Nick Woodall, internationally recognized authorities in area of alienation, partners in Family Separation Clinic in London, who, engaged in daily close cooperation with social welfare, health and justice systems, work on the issue of alienation. The lecture was viewed in person, at the Andrija Štampar Teaching Institute of Public Health and via live stream video on Center’s Facebook and Youtube channel, by more than 2,500 experts of different profiles, as well as interested people.’
Karen and Nick highlighted the need to recognise parental alienation as a child protection issue and explained how the child’s defensive psychological splitting in the face of a threat within their attachment relationships can cause lasting damage to the child, even after they have been reunited with a previously rejected parent. As a result of the lecture, the Centre has published a draft document entitled Experts protecting children from emotional abuse in divorce: Establishing good practice in Croatia.
During the visit, Nick Woodall appeared, alongside the Centre’s Mia Roje Đapić, on Croatian television’s main morning news programme discussing the physical and emotional abuse of children.