© 2019 ACA Alienated Children's Advocates


Black & White image by Andreas Albert @CC BY-NC-SA 2.0



Understanding, assessment and intervention

for children and families

Saturday June 1st 2019

Midlands Hotel Portlaoise

120 EUR


Introduction to VIG and an introduction to the framework for micro-analysis of attuned and nonattuned interaction

Thursday 20th and Friday 21st June 2019

£450 + VAT



An evidence based educational alternative

for alienated child-parent relationships


Date and location

to be announced


Make your work with separated parents more accurate, impactful and effective. Up your game and attract more clients

Online training

Date to be announced



Parental Alienation: Understanding, assessment and intervention for children and families

This workshop is suitable for professionals who work with children and families, particularly those who work with the repercussions of family breakdown.  Psychologists, social workers and mental health professionals in particular will find this interactive CPD of benefit.


The aims of this workshop are:

1.    To provide a grounding in the theoretical models, global research, assessment protocols and evidence based interventions relevant to parental alienation
2.    To enable identification of risk factors and alienating behaviours in children, carers and families
3.    To consider differentiation between justifiable estrangement and parental alienation
4.    Formulation for parental alienation
5.    Intervention plans for alienation incorporating multi-disciplinary approaches


•    History of parental alienation.
•    Contemporary literature.
•    Current and past significant contributors to the field.
•    Definition of PA.
•    Differentiating PA from true estrangement
•    Pathological triangles, enmeshment and corrupted boundaries.
•    The alienated / targeted parent - Impact
•    The alienating / aligned parent – strategies used
•    The alienated child – clinical presentation & case studies
•    The voice of the child.
•    Counter intuitives for professionals
•    Evidence based assessments for PA
•    Interventions

Learning and teaching strategy:

This seminar will focus on the key theories of Parental Alienation. This learning will be augmented by group process and experiential exercises with facilitator guidance and input.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module learners will be able to:

1.    Explicate and deconstruct the development of parental alienation in Ireland and abroad.
2.    Critically compare and contrast a variety of alienating theoretical concepts.
3.    Integrate theory into professional practice.
4.    Synthesise a range of advanced and in depth skills and theoretical knowledge relevant to parental alienation informed practice.
5.    Construct, utilise and integrate visual presentations of relationships and contexts into client work appropriately and effectively.
6.    Formulate a clinical case in a coherent manner in an ethical reflexive manner with due attention to context of referral, descriptions of the presenting problem and engagement to date.

Further CPD Training is being planned for 2019.

If you would like to commission this training for your organisation, please contact us on brian@changes.ie



Family Bridges: An evidence based educational alternative for alienated child- parent relationships

Brian O'Sullivan is delighted to be bringing the only evidence based intervention program for alienated children - the family bridges program to Ireland later this year. If you are interested in participating in this training designed to enable and empower participants with the evidence based interventions to intervene effectively with alienated families simply register your interest below or contact me at brian@changes.ie

Children who reject a parent after divorce, refuse or resist contact with a parent or whose contact is characterised by extreme withdrawal or gross contempt present significant challenges to social, legal and mental health professionals. 

Where the estranged child – parent relationship is a result of poor or abusive parenting Courts and child protection agencies will rightly support a child’s avoidance of contact with that parent. 

However, when the degree of a child’s estrangement and hostility is not warranted and is disproportionate to the rejected parent’s behaviour, Courts and informed practitioners will often conclude that the child’s best interests are served by having contact with the rejected parent and repairing the damaged relationship between the child and rejected parent.

Many Courts may refer the children to therapy (without making changes to the existing contact orders) where, the intended goal may be to transform the child’s polarised views of his or her parents into more balanced and realistic views of each parent with the hope that the child will reconnect with the rejected parent (Warshak, 2018).

This approach may be labelled “re-unification therapy”. It is likely, helpful in mild to moderate cases of alienation where the favoured parent genuinely supports the repairing of the relationship between the child and rejected parent. 

However, where alienation has progressed to the severe end of the spectrum and where, the favoured parent does not genuinely support and foster the reunification with the rejected parent such re-unification therapy is likely to be unsuccessful. This dynamic simply allows children to continue with an expressed (rather than an ascertainable) wish to refuse contact with the rejected parent.

Children who have been permitted to regulate whether and under what circumstances they will spend time in each parent’s care develop a sense of empowerment in the re-unification space.

The children and their favoured parent will cooperate with the treatment once, the practitioner agrees that the child has valid reasons for rejecting a parent or never challenges the child’s negative views of the rejected parent. This cooperation quickly evaporates though when, the practitioner resolves that the status quo is untenable and believes the child should resume a positive relationship with the rejected parent.

Family bridges is an evidence based structured 4 day educational and experiential workshop in which the rejected parent and his / her child /ren participate together without the favoured parent whose contact with the child the Court will have suspended.

The program has two primary goals First, to prepare the children to cooperate with court orders that require them to live with a parent whom they have rejected while having no contact with the favoured parent for a period of time.

Secondly, to improve the quality of the parent child relationship with the rejected parent. This jump starts the recovery of a positive child parent relationship by teaching improved communication and conflict management skills, teaches children critical thinking skills, how they (children) can resist outside pressures that leads them to act against their judgement, fostering the maintenance of balanced, realistic and compassionate views of both parents.

Warshak (2018) study was based on 83 children, 40 boys and 43 girls where, more than half were older than 14 years and 19 were older than 16 years. There were 52 rejected parents in the study where, 37% were rejected mothers from 52 families in total. The children and adolescents had been rejecting the parent for an average of 3-4 years. Typically, the Judges and Guardians ad Litem had described each of the 83 cases as “the worst case of parental alienation” or “the most severely alienated child” they had seen in their careers.

The 83 severely alienated participants were enrolled on the program after the Courts had placed the children in the day to day control of the rejected parent. The children’s contact refusal dropped from 85% (pre family bridges) to 6% (post family bridges). Depending on the outcome measure used between 75% and 96% of the children overcame their alienation.

Warshak. R. (2018) Reclaiming Parent – Child Relationships: Outcomes of Family Bridges with Alienated Children, Journal of Divorce and Remarriage

 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10502556.2018.1529505 accessed 10/2/19

Please contact us on brian@changes.ie


Video Interaction Guidance (VIG)

A 2 day training led by:

  • Monika Celebi, National VIG Supervisor

  • Rebecca Carr-Hopkins, VIG Supervisor


Thursday 20th and Friday 21st June 2019, 9-5pmm in Dublin (venue to be confirmed)

£450 + VAT

What is the course: The course will provide an introduction to VIG, it’s theoretical origins and an introduction to the framework for micro-analysis of attuned and nonattuned interaction, based on the work of developmental psychologist Colwyn Trevarthen. VIG is a relatively new intervention approach in the UK and Ireland.

Edited video clips of ‘better than usual’ communication are used as the basis of reflective dialogue about how to develop the relationship further. It helps parents become more sensitive and attend to their child’s emotional needs regardless of the age of the child.

Who is it for: Professionals who work with parents & carers who want better relationships with their children. It is also relevant for staff who work with children and young people. VIG has been used by a wide range of staff including educational and clinical psychologist, social workers, CAMHS workers, health visitors, speech and language therapists, teachers in early years and special education settings. The ratio of trainers to participants will be roughly 1:5, to allow close support to the small group skills based practice sessions that participants will engage in on both days.

For more information and booking :



This sixteen week course will make your work more accurate, impactful and effective. Your clients will get more of the results they want. You’ll up your game and attract more clients from referrals.

Focus on children


Created from the ground up with children’s and young adult’s wellbeing at its core, this training will provide you with tools and strategies to help you work with their parents so that the next generation can grow up healthily.

There is one fact that is always true: no child will naturally reject a fit parent. This undeniable fact is what unites all professionals working in this area.

What you’ll get

During this training, you'll learn key aspects and insights into working with parents who have separated. Parental Alienation brings to the surface many aspects that, if not properly addressed, can cause much suffering and trauma to children, their families and even to you as a professional. 


You'll learn strategies to provide a better service to parents who don't get along, develop language that will help support your message, help parents hold their child's best interest first and you'll be able to hold a holistic view in the healing path for your clients in a time where they need you the most. 

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Children are the ones who suffer the most when their parents separate. The well researched impact of the separation on children is heartbreaking. We hold as an intention to protect them from this impact.

Given the increasing number of separations and divorces worldwide, this is a global problem that needs to be addressed so that the next generation can grow up healthily and free of trauma. Healthier adults make more conscious decisions. If their mental health has been affected, we are prolonging many of the daily decisions we make everyday that are causing this epidemic to spread. 

About Us

And now a little about us. We developed this course in partnership with Next step Integral.

It aims to help children to have their brightest future by growing up with the healthier version of both parents and their families and provide a safe space that holds the children’s interest first and foremost.


We are committed to reform current support systems and create new ways to help parents minimise the strain in their relationships by providing guidance for those who are considering or going through a separation when there are children involved.

We address the global human rights and mental health phenomenon called Parental Alienation by providing awareness, training and coaching to professionals and parents.

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Structure of training

The training will be 16 weeks long. Every 2 weeks we have a live recorded session that will be posted on the training page for a few days after the session.

In the weeks in between training, there will be group online meetings.

A Facebook group will be provided so we can all talk and support each other.


There will be individual and group practices in between sessions. These will be provided in the session plan and will be uploaded to the training page for easy access.


When your training is finished, you’ll be invited to another Facebook group where all professionals who completed this course will be present to continue the learning and discussions around this phenomenon.

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