Alienation from a clinical perspective was the topic of the second day of the 3rd European Conference with International Participation of EAPAP (European Association of Parental Alienation Practitioners), organized by the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center which will last by September 18, 2020 in the form of webinars with over 400 experts from around the world.

Alienation is a form of child emotional abuse, in which a child under the influence of one parent rejects the other parent and alienates from that parent (without that parent being an abuser or a bad parent), developing serious negative consequences for mental health and adjustment in a lifelong perspective. The aim of the conference is to harmonize the treatment of such cases in the entire child protection system, as well as to provide guidelines for much-needed therapeutic work with these children and families.

On the second day of the conference, during several lectures by experts from around the world, the necessity and respecting of alienation by the justice system and support for mental health professionals by the entire child protection system was emphasized.

Renowned experts from Israel (Inbal Kivenson Bar-On and doctor Benjamin Bailey) sharing experiences from Israel pointed out the importance of accepting the concept of alienation by the Supreme Court of a particular country as a key step towards establishing good practice. Experts from the UK (Karen Woodall), Malta (Claire Francica), and Israel (Benjamin Bailey), Switzerland (Marina Walter and doctor Thomas Demessence) agreed that mental health professionals during the treatment of alienation extremely important support of the entire system that responds in a timely and adequate manner, ie that continuous communication between all sectors is inevitable and necessary in finding adequate recommendations and solutions to protect the best interests of the child.

Karen Woodall, a world-renowned and well-known expert in the field of child alienation, emphasized that it is not only important to approach the union of the alienating parent and child from a therapeutic point of view, but also to change the structure of life.

Milica Pejović Milovančević, PhD, Head of the Clinic for Children and Youth at the Institute for Mental Health in Belgrade, spoke about the importance of recognizing a child’s psychological “split” as one of the most recognizable symptoms and concluded that “splitting is permanent in some cases and we cannot expect it to resolve on its own, it is the result of trauma that the child often cannot talk about”.

Psychiatrist of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center, Vlatka Boričević Maršanić, PhD – MD, speaking about the psychological consequences of alienation, concluded that the consequences for the mental health of alienated children are equal to the consequences of all other forms of abuse, such as emotional, sexual and physical abuse.

Psychiatrist from KBC “Sestara milosrdnica”, Danijel Crnković, PhD-MD, dealing with the topic of parental psychopathology, concluded that experts should not enter the role of observers when working with cases of alienation, because their role is to react actively and in a timely manner.

Jill Salberg, PhD, an associate professor, consultant and supervisor in the field of clinical psychology in the postdoctoral program in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis at New York University, emphasized the importance of understanding transgenerational transmission of trauma that can reflect on overall family dynamics and deepen in cases of alienation.

The first two days of the conference are dedicated to professionals working with children, and the third day is open to the public, especially as an education to interested parents. Find out more at https://www.eapapzagreb2020.com/program

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