Parental Alienation and Promoting Positive Father Involvement (United Kingdom)

Parental Alienation and Promoting Positive Father Involvement (United Kingdom)


This session explores the challenge of promoting positive father involvement where parental alienation (PAS), parental gate keeping or historic domestic violence is evident. This provides a space for exploration of practice issues when working with families caught in cycles of domestic violence and abuse.

The seminar elicits the empirical research of the Cowans work in promoting positive father involvement from the University of Berkeley, California. This includes Kevin’s experience of facilitating group work as a Group Leader for Tavistock Relationships (TR) also inspired by the Cowan’s research. His work has focused on couples post separation and divorce and him aiding their communication as part of co parenting.

These issues are also explored with teenage fathers for which Kevin produced the award-winning documentary and video resource ‘Unheard Voices’ which explores the experiences of young fathers in Hackney, east London in the United Kingdom. This seminar acts as a knowledge exchange of practice in areas of couple conflict, domestic violence and abuse and high-level contact disputes over children.

Learning Objectives

1. Exploration of current research and practice regarding father engagement initiatives in parenting, couple conflict and violence prevention work with fathers.

2. To explore the unreliability of children’s ascertainable wishes and feelings as part of family law proceedings where Parental Alienation exists as recorded by expert witnesses.

3. To contextualize the refusal or resistance of children to engage in contact with a parent or carer post separation as part of (PAS) and the implications for Social Work practice.

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