Alienation in children

The phenomenon of what is often referred to as parental alienation is a spectrum problem of induced defensive splitting in a child that, typically, occurs within the context of a divorce or family separation and which causes the child to pathologically
align with one of their parents, rendering them vulnerable to that parent’s intra-psychic conflicts and defences.


The pathological alignment to one parent will typically cause the child to reject the other and blame for the estrangement is projected onto the rejected parent, either by the aligned parent or, more problematically, by the child, themselves. This blame, when it is levelled by children, is often vehement and will be accompanied by justifications that range from the trivial or implausible to much more serious accusations of abuse or harm.


The Family Separation Clinic is at the forefront of developing an understanding of children's alienation; how it arises, how it affects children and how to free children from the psychological splitting that is at the root of it. We also collaborate with specialists from around the world in the fields of mental health, law and academia so that our practice is informed by the latest research and developments.


We offer a range of services including helping you to understand and manage difficult behaviours in a child who is begin to show signs of rejecting you, helping you to build strategies to bring about change, undertaking family assessments and proposing treatment routes for court.


Find out more about psychological splitting and the alienated child [PDF]:

Personal consultation

The Family Separation Clinic is a world leader in understanding alienation reactions in children; how it arises, how it affects children and how to free children from its grip. Our personal consultations focus on exploring and analysing the particular issues you may be facing and beginning to look at the best approaches for dealing with them. We will also begin helping you to think about building strategies for change.


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The Family Separation Clinic is able to carry out expert assessment and recommendation for treatment in cases where children are rejecting a relationship with one of their parents. In some cases, we may also be able to deliver treatment, once the court has agreed it. Instruction in the courts of England and Wales must be made under FPR Part 25 rules. Please note that the Clinic does not carry out psychological assessments.


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