Special Guest Speaker

William Bernet, M.D.

Parental Alienation Studies Groupwww.pasg.info

William Bernet, M.D., is a forensic child psychiatrist, a professor emeritus at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee, United States. Dr. Bernet was the editor of Parental Alienation, DSM-5, and ICD-11 (2010). He was one of the editors of Parental Alienation: The Handbook for Mental Health and Legal Professionals (2013). Dr. Bernet is the president of the Parental Alienation Study Group and he welcomes new members to that organization.



Wilfrid v. Boch-Galhau, M. D. - DE

Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) Internationale Konferenzwww.pas-konferenz.de


Wilfrid von Boch-Galhau, M. D., is a psychiatrist and psychotherapist i. R., Würzburg, Germany, formerly a member of the interdisciplinary working group „Beratung bei Trennung und Scheidung“ [Counselling during separation and divorce], Würzburg, Germany, co-organiser of the 2002 international Parental Alienation Syndrome conference, Frankfurt/Main, Germany, member of the international Parental Alienation Study Group since it beginning; co-editor of Das Parental Alienation Syndrom: Eine interdisziplinäre Herausforderung für scheidungsbegleitende Berufe (The parental alienation Syndrome: An Interdisciplinary Challenge for Professionals Involved with Divorce), and author of Parental Alienation and parental Alienation/Disorder: A Serious Form of Psychological Abuse.



Tea Brezinšćak - HR

Child and Youth Protection Center of Zagrebwww.poliklinika-djeca.hr


Tea Brezinšćak is a psychologist, working at the Child and Youth Protection Center of Zagreb.



Anthony Cauchi - MT



Anthony Cauchi is working to build services on Malta.



Dr. Sietske Dijkstra - NL

Dijkstra Agencywww.sietske-dijkstra.com


Dr. Sietske Dijkstra is the principal investigator and director of the Dijkstra Agency in Utrecht, the Netherlands since 1998, as a practice-based researcher, a teacher of social professionals and a supervisor of candidates for the Master’s degree. She is a recognized authority on domestic violence, family safety, and she teaches on the consequences of complex divorce, child abuse, intergenerational trauma and more recently parental alienation. Since 2015 she is affiliated with the University of Applied Sciences (the HU) in Utrecht. Her dissertation (2000) explores how adults cope with child abuse and exposure to violence inflicted upon them in their childhood, and how such traumas affect their adult relationships with partners, children and members of the family of origin. She is the author of many articles for social professional journals and the author or editor of over a dozen books, the most recent of which is Seeking Home in a Strange Land: True Stories of the Changing Meaning of Home. She frequently presents at international conferences in Europe and America on topics related to her interests, and is a member of the American Philosophical Association.


Of the situation in the Netherlands, Sietske writes... 'Social professionals in the Netherlands are just beginning to develop a more clear awareness of parental alienation, including its prevalence, characteristics, and impact on parent-child relationships and future generations. This awareness is informed by experiential knowledge, but can be experiential biased. Countertransference is an important issue in these splitting dynamics. Often compelling negative long-term effects are observed in adults who discover that as children they were profoundly misled by one parent into rejecting the affection of the other parent—a form of profound cruelty that can persist for years. Social professionals have a thin knowledge base about this form of alienation of affection, which they could strengthen by re-examining their (hidden) assumptions and treatment in light of this often-overlooked feature of complex divorce. When they acknowledge the alienation, usually the harm has already been done for a long time. Further, their treatment skills could benefit from developing their abilities to relate more constructively to angry children of different age groups and interpret more accurately through them what they have to say. Unfortunately at present effective interventions are exceedingly rare, limited to a few brave professionals. A leading light in advancing the understanding and treatment is the Family Academy'



Prof. Dr. Gordana Buljan Flander - HR

Child and Youth Protection Center of Zagrebwww.poliklinika-djeca.hr


Prof. Dr. Sc. Gordana Buljan Flander, Director of Child Protection Center Zagreb, has spent thirty years of her careers on children. As a Pediatric Pediatrician at the Zagreb Children's Disease Hospital, she often met with abused and neglected children who did not have the necessary protection of adults. She was therefore one of the first to recognize this issue in Croatia in the early 90s and devoted her further work. She is the founder of the counseling line for abused and neglected children "Brave Phone" and the initiator of the establishment of the Child Protection Center of the City of Zagreb, recognized by the Council of Europe as a model of good practice and thus presented at the UN. Prof. Dr. Sc. Gordana Buljana Flander is a recipient of numerous awards for her work, including the award to the Polyclinic multidisciplinary team awarded by the International Association for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN) in 2008. Along with her professional work, she has been actively engaged in scientific work and has also published numerous scientific and professional papers at international conferences and publishes books, manuals and brochures for parents, children and experts.



Lena Hellblom Sjögren, fil.dr. leg.psykolog - SE

Avskilda Barnwww.avskildabarn.se


Lena Hellblom Sjögren has practiced as a school psychologist and as a teacher all levels in the educational system, and as a psychologist within a team helping families with brain damaged children. She is also a researcher and wrote a thesis n 1985 about the transformation of democracy within the Swedish labour movement after having worked with study circles in an iron area where the working places were shut down. When becoming a mother for two more children she took a post doctor course one year called "Interpretation methodology and witness psychology." After that, she has worked as an investigative psychologist in her one-woman company called Testimonia. Now for 25 years, she has made nearly 400 investigations, many of them as research reports, she has been in courts nearly all over Norway and Sweden and on all levels to answer about her findings. Many of the parents and children she has followed over many years. She has at the same time been trying to make professionals aware of the harm done to children when the child is separated from one - or both - parent/-s without just cause, and at the same time has had his or her thoughts reformed (PA) based on an implacable hostility.



Petra Van Den Hoeck - BE

Huis van Herenigingwww.huisvanhereniging.be


Petra Van Den Hoeck is an entrepreneur who has been concerned with parental alienation since 2008. She was until end 2015 a co-supervisor and moderator of a self-help group on Facebook (Parents Against Parental Alienation). As a result of the need to contribute positively to this social challenge, she has founded ‘House of Reunification.' Through self-study, she has studied the phenomenon of parental alienation and has contacted international specialists to find a solution for this harmful societal problem. This is an ongoing process. Petra is supporting families, practitioners and organisations dealing with parental alienation and lobbies government and official institutes.



Heleen Koppejan - NL

Psychologiepraktijk Hechtscheidenwww.hechtscheiden.com


Heleen Koppejan works a psychologist in her own practice, Psychologiepraktijk Hechtscheiden. She offers both therapy to families dealing with parental alienation, as well as education and training of other professionals wanting to learn how to recognize parental alienation, or in need of discussing high conflict divorce cases. In the practice she works with the principle that children have the right to love both parents freely. Heleen has been accepted as PhD. candidate at the University Utrecht where she will continue her research on the effects of the behaviour of parents on their children in high-conflict divorces.


Of the situation in the Netherlands, Heleen writes... 'Not all official institutions (like some child-care departments, or the NIP: the Dutch institute for psychologists) acknowledge the existence of PAS. Due to the fact that it is not included in the DSM-5, treatment of PAS cases are not compensated by the health insurances, which makes it hard (and expensive) for rejected parents to seek help. Although parental alienation is recognised in some courts, follow up of these cases is poor: judges and professionals involved find it hard to enforce the rulings. As many professionals working with divorced families are unaware of the influence of a PAS-inducing parent, their focus lies in offering training to restore mutual communication between parents. Or, in worse cases, courts or psychotherapists find that the child is served best when the rejected parent distances him or herself from the child. This is called The Royal Way (De Koninklijke Weg), based upon Dutch research by a researcher who claims that this solution is in the best interest of the child. As a result of a lacking intervention to PAS in the Netherlands, alienated children and their families remain untreated. So, much is yet to be done. Therefor the European Association of Parental Alienation Practitioners is a most welcome initiative and I am most grateful to be a member.'



Asenka Kramer - HR

Udruga Dijete-razvodwww.udruga-dijete-razvod.hr


Asenka Kramer is an English language and literature teacher and a cultural anthropologist from Zagreb, who is one of the founders and volunteers of NGO Association Child-divorce supporting alienated parents. She translated Warshak's Divorce Poison into Croatian (2008) and established blogs with relevant texts about parental alienation translated into Croatian to raise public awareness about that specific issue in Croatia.



Reino Meinema - NL

Meinema Mediationwww.meinemamediation.nl


Reino Meinema is an experienced and specialized registry and family mediator at the Mediators Federation of the Netherlands (MfN). Her specialty is "Re-establishment of conflicts". She carries out between 80 - 100 mediation cases on an annual basis. As a specialized family mediator, she has developed the "Child Central" method in mediation. She works from her own practice, Meinema Mediation, in Friesland.



Mia Roje - HR

Child and Youth Protection Center of Zagrebwww.poliklinika-djeca.hr


Mia Roje is a psychologist, working at the Child and Youth Protection Center of Zagreb.



Ana Marija Španić - HR

Child and Youth Protection Center of Zagrebwww.poliklinika-djeca.hr


Ana Marija Španić, is a psychologist, working at the Child and Youth Protection Center of Zagreb.



Jan Storms, M.A. - NL



Jan Storms, M.A., is an expert in the field of consciousness. He guides people in recovering from the damage they have incurred in destructive relationships and trains professionals in recognizing and managing psychopathy. He has a background in Vedic science, the scientific and spiritual tradition of ancient India, and studied a number of classical and modern disciplines in the light of the foundations of knowledge. Jan Storms guides people in the development of consciousness, deepening their inner comfort, enhancing their abilities to delight in the joy of life. He offers knowledge to promote intelligent cultural development and to contribute to the evolution of collective consciousness. His book Destructieve Relaties op de Schop – Psychopathie Herkennen en Hanteren (“Turning Around Destructive Relationships – Recognizing and Handling Psychopathy”) helps people to recognize various types of psychopathy as well as how to deal with and protect themselves from it.



Andries van Tonder - IE

Alienated Persons Supportwww.aps.ie


Andries van Tonder, serves with Alienated Persons Support, Enfield, Ireland as an adolescent and adult PAS Child (Parental Alienation Sequela) therapist and as PA and PAS educator and campaigner. Although officially retired, Andries serves, as his health allows. He is presently researching 'sadistic alienation' and alienation after 'piranha relationships.'


Of the situation in the Republic of Ireland, Andries writes... 'At present, Ireland does not have any enactment in place specifically addressing parental alienation. The office of the Minister of Children indicated that ECAPA (Emotional Child Abuse by Parental Alienation) will be addressed in the Child Care Act that is under revision. The Guardianship of Infants Act was revised in 2015 to address enforcement of access orders and the adverse effects “on the relationship between the applicant and child caused by the denial..” This amendment is slowly filtering through to to legal profession and the courts. In some cases the past few months, An Garda Síochána, the Irish Police Force, accepted and investigated alleged offences of “Cruelty to children” and “Reckless endangerment of a child” in terms of Parental Alienation. No prosecution has followed as yet. Some offices of The Child and Family Agency, TUSLA, accepted reports of ECAPA and is addressing it as child abuse. Unfortunately more education is needed, specifically at management level.'



Olivier Vanhaelen - BE

Huis van Herenigingwww.huisvanhereniging.be


Olivier Vanhaelen is founding member of Huis van Hereniging (House of Reunification) that sets up interventions and support for alienated children and their families in Belgium. As an experience expert parental alienation, coach and entrepreneur Olivier is supporting families, practitioners and organisations dealing with parental alienation. As a member in different boards of directors and advisory boards of nonprofit parent organisations, Olivier also lobbies with government and official institutes.



Simona Vlădică Ph.D. - RU

Simona Maria Vladicawww.simonamariavladica.ro


Simona Vlădică Ph.D. is a representative of the Professional Body of Mediators at Bucharest Court of Appeal and is a member of the Faculty of Psychology, Ecological University of Bucharest. She is also the CEO of Health Media a media company specializing in health communication.



Erik van der Waal - NL



Erik van der Waal, a former business consultant, interim and change manager, works since 2010 from his own mediation, consultancy and training company HerVerbinden (Reconnect). Initiator of the 'Nederlands Expertisecentrum Hoog Conflict Scheidingen' (Dutch Expertisecenter High Conflict Divorces). He is a mediator, consultant, trainer and speaker specialised in high conflict divorce with various situations of parental alienation. Organises conferences, workshops and symposia. Co-founder of the Belgium initiative HuisvanHereniging. Over the years developing his own vision and approach to reconnect children with both of their parents/families, from personal and professional experience and study, combining many case studies and knowledge from other experts around the world and professional network.


Of the situation in the Netherlands, Erik writes... 'In the Netherlands, awareness of parental alienation (oudervervreemding / ouderverstoting) in situations of high conflict divorce is growing and increasingly seen as a form of psychological child abuse. However basic and in-depth knowledge about the dynamics and various treats of this issue among workers in the legal and mental (children's) health and protection community is still reason for great concern. As a result bold interventions, both legal as in child protection practice, to prevent greater psychological and emotional harm to children in severe cases is still to be implemented. Still a lot remains to be done in The Netherlands at different levels to improve social general mentality in taking psychological (child) abuse more serious.'



Karen Woodall - UK

Family Separation Clinicwww.familyseparationclinic.com


Karen Woodall is the lead therapist at the Family Separation Clinic and is a specialist in working with high conflict divorce and separation and its impact on children. She is a psychotherapist with over twenty years experience in working with parents and children affected by family separation. Karen is an internationally recognised expert on children’s post-separation rejecting behaviours and the phenomenon of the alienated child. She is also an author and blogger and regularly writes for the Huffington Post on issues that affect the family. Karen was previously the Director at the Centre for Separated Families, a national charity that worked with the whole family in order to bring about better outcomes for children. She is Currently working on a doctoral thesis on parental alienation and has co-authored Understanding Parental Alienation (Charles C Thomas, 2017) and The Guide for Separated Parents (Piatkus, 2007) with her colleague, Nick Woodall.



Nick Woodall - UK

Family Separation Clinicwww.familyseparationclinic.com


Nick has worked with families experiencing divorce or separation since 1999 and co-founded the Family Separation Clinic in 2010, having previously worked on family policy at the Centre for Separated Families. He specialises in working directly with separating families in order to enable the whole family to manage change in ways that provide the best outcomes for children and has worked with parental alienation for a number of years. Nick is a psychotherapist and is currently completing an MA in psychodynamic, psychoanalytic and relational psychoanalytic Counselling at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is also a therapeutic mediator, accredited by the School of Psychotherapy & Counselling Psychology, Regents University. Nick has worked on family separation policy and service design for the UK Government and is the co-author of Understanding Parental Alienation (Charles C Thomas, 2017) and The Guide for Separated Parents (Piatkus, 2007) with his colleague, Karen Woodall.


Of the situation in the United Kingdom, Nick writes... "The problem of parental alienation is increasingly recognised by courts in the UK. So much so that, in 2010, a High Court judge ruled that "the concept of alienation as a feature of some high conflict parental disputes may today be regarded as mainstream." In spite of this, many of the services that sit around the courts lack the skills and training to respond effectively. There is also a problem with court advisors recommending family therapy as a means of restoring the child's relationship with a rejected parent. The Family Separation Clinic has led the way in developing and delivering effective intervention routes that are based on the international research and, working with key legal professionals, has begun to build a an evidence base to demonstrate how successful outcomes for children can be achieved through a combination of legal and therapeutic interventions. The Clinic continues to advocate for such interventions as being best practice."



Matej Zaplotnik - SI

Independent Practitionerwebsite


Matej Zaplotnik is a private practitioner on the field of parental alienation. He is accumulating and developing knowledge about parental alienation, he is educating social workers, judges, prosecutors and other professionals, he is writing privat (not yet court ordered) expert opinions, he has counselling for families etc. In July he will be attending the teaching seminar for the Family Bridges trainers (reunification program).


Of the situation in Slovenia, Matej writes... 'I gave a 90 minutes presentation in April 2017 about the Parental alienation for 240 judges, prosecutors and criminalists. In the courts the term parental alienation was not well known until that date. Many court ordered experts name Parental Alienation as quasi science. None experts knows pretty much about the appropriate diagnosis and interventions in alienating families. Actually there are no systematic interventions. The system is mostly supported by women (social workers, family judges etc.), which are mostly preferring other women in divorcing disputes. The law already allows many interventions, which are based on parental alienation science, but there is little or no »preventive security points« in the law, that will disable inappropriate interventions and court orders.'