Anatomy of Alienation: Mapping the Unconscious in Unjustified Rejection

Karen Woodall

One of the biggest issues in cases of parental alienation is the manner in which the unconscious life of the family carries the secrets which cause the problem of alienation. In that sense, parental alienation can be regarded as being part of the anatomy of the family, carried forward by each generation as if it were a dormant infection.   Some, like Childress for example, like to call this phenomenon the ‘pathogen’, I prefer to think of it as an embedded secret which is handed down through the generations and which is activated in its power to alienate if the dynamics are right.  I have written about this many times over the years and you can read what I wrote in 2013 about trans-generational haunting  and in 2016

The idea that parental alienation is not something which is distinct and different to other familial dynamics is one which is promulgated…

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Walks in the Wasteland: The Experience of Children in Divorce and Separation

Karen Woodall

Just like all psychotherapists, what I do is inspired by my own life.   It is therefore no accident that I work with children who experience the divorce and separation of their parents.  My earliest memories are of my young cousin, traumatised from the divorce of his parents, having to be peeled away from his father to return back to this mother’s home. I can still hear the screaming pain of this little boy, who was too old to have the relief of unconsciousness of what was happening to him and too young to be able to articulate his feelings in words.  What I knew then and what I know now, is that divorce and separation is a devastating wasteland of the emotional and psychological life of the child.

For decades we have not been allowed to say that divorce and separation harm children, because to do so has been…

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