Smoke Without Fire: The Challenges of Identifying and Working With Parental Alienation - a TAP Talk by Dr Sue Witcombe
Braving the first real chilly evening of the season on 18 November, a large number of TAP members and guests attended a presentation by Dr Sue Whitcombe entitled `Smoke Without Fire: The Challenges of Identifying and Working With Parental Alienation`. Sue is a Chartered Psychologist registered with the Health & Care Professions Council and principal psychologist at Family Psychology Solutions, which offers specialist services for families and children. Sue also teaches at Teesside University.
Sue was introduced by TAP Council member Andrew Wilcox, who surprised the meeting with the amazing fact that this was the Two Hundred and Fiftieth Talk in the history of TAP, adding the exciting news that TAP’s Conference will be held in the Spring on 18 March 2017.
The meeting heard that Parental Alienation is defined as an unjustified rejection of a parent, where there was previously a normal loving relationship or an intentional or unintentional action by a parent to turn a child against a non-resident parent. It was explained that over time the child becomes hostile and abusive in a campaign of denigration, which can include physically resisting contact and rebuffing phone calls, letters, emails and gifts. These actions are usually accompanied with expressions of hatred which often cumulate in the rejection of the non-resident parent.
Outlining what help is available in cases of Parental Alienation, Sue spoke of the Interventions which can be employed in the form of Therapeutic modalities and strategies. These can include Family systems approach, Structural and strategic family therapy, Brief solution focused therapy, Narrative therapy, CBT, Parent-child interactive therapy and Psychoeducation.
Sue's presentation can be viewed by clicking on the link HERE and further information can be downloaded HERE. A list of useful resources can be downloaded HERE.
Following the vote of thanks, tea and coffee was served, which gave the audience an opportunity to talk over Dr Whitcombe’s excellent presentation and catch up with old friends and colleagues.
The next talk is on January 20th 2017 when Dr Damian McCann presents `Exploring the dilemmas of disclosure in 'coming out' in family and couple relationships and in therapy`. This talk will examine developments in thinking about ‘coming out’ with particular reference to gender and sexual diversities. All are very welcome.
On June 17, an enthusiastic audience welcomed Mark Conway who presented his absorbing and informative talk entitled `An Introduction to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service` (Specialist CAMHS). Mark is a Schools Link Pilot Manager and Specialist CAMHS Clinician and he explained the work of the service, which offers an assessment and treatment service for children and young people experiencing moderate to severe mental health difficulties.
Interacting with the audience, Mark offered many opportunities for the meeting to speculate at facts and figures relating to mental health in the UK, before surprising many with the actual statistics.
His own speciality lies with Eating Disorders and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The service consists of a range of teams and specialist functions and has three main bases – Wells, Yeovil and Taunton and provides many services, including: Assessment and diagnosis, care planning, therapeutic treatments and therapies and medication advice and prescribing.
As a multi-disciplinary service CAMHS draws on a large raft of expertise including: psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses, support workers, occupational therapists, psychological therapists including family therapists and art therapists, primary mental health link workers, and specialist substance misuse workers.
In a setting where we have seen one in ten children and young people aged five to sixteen suffering from a diagnosable mental health disorder the audience heard how referrals to CAMHS increased by 25% in four years. These referrals may be made by a wide range of professionals including Health Visitors, Midwives, GPs, School Nurses, Counsellors and Therapists including the majority of the audience attending the talk.
Mark punctuated his talk with anonymous anecdotal patient accounts which emphasised the importance of the work of CAMHS. A warm round of applause followed the vote of thanks given by TAP council member Ian Stevenson.
Mark has kindly provided a link to his presentation HERE, to CAMHS eligibility criteria HERE and 'What makes a good CAMHS referral' HERE
The next talk will be on the 16th September at the Friends Meeting House, when Nick Turner talks on Sex Addiction and Porn. All are Welcome.
David Trott Tap Council Member
It is that time of year again (where does the time go?) when we ask members of TAP to pay their renewal fee. Over the years we have got to know hundreds of members from different fields coming from across the South West; most, but certainly not all, being therapists across all different modalities. We have also welcomed many who were simply interested in the mind and in the nature of being human. TAP has much to offer anybody with an enquiring mind.
The membership year runs from 1st April to 31st March, so this is a great time of year to get the full benefit of those opportunities TAP offers. As a member you get free entry into all our monthly TAP Talks for example, a discount on the cost of our annual conference (this year taking place on 21st May, see our Annual Conference page) and a place in our membership directory. Members can circulate details of their own courses and workshops to the TAP contact list, and get a 10% discount in Brendon Books in Bath Place, Taunton. A new benefit for 2016/17 will be launched in the next few weeks - a 'Members Only' area on this website, where exclusive content (featuring recordings of TAP Talks and presentations) will be available. We also have a Facebook and twitter feed (@TAP_ings) where you can keep abreast of developments and news and post about your own work.
So why not join? At £28 it is a bargain (if you were to attend all the Talks for example, and the Conference, you could save over £60) and you would also have the opportunity to network with peers, hear from speakers at the top of their field and gain CPD at the same time.
You can download the membership form HERE, and find out more on our 'Join TAP' page.
We look forward to meeting you!