Understanding the alienated child: a guide for parents and practitioners

Two Hour Webinar with Karen Woodall

The underlying issue seen in parental alienation is the defence of psychological splitting. This is a reflexive defence in a child which comes into play when the dynamics around the child are impossible for the child to cope with.


Induced psychological splitting causes the child to become alienated, first from their own sense of self and then from relationships in the external world. The results of this are denial and projection onto the parents of the split sense of self.


Understanding how children behave when they are psychologically splitting is important because it enables us to understand how to respond to them. What seem like strange behaviours are actually easy to recognise and respond to when the defence is recognised. Helping children to integrate the parts of the self which they have split off and denied is a key part of their recovery.


This session is suitable for parents and practitioners, and offers an introduction to understanding alienated children which will cover the dynamics that cause alienation, the different ways of conceptualising the problem, detailed analysis of the attachment disruption that the problem causes, and an introduction to how to respond effectively to that in parenting or practice with alienated children.