1st Edition

High-Conflict Parenting Post-Separation The Making and Breaking of Family Ties

By Eia Asen, Emma Morris Copyright 2020
    166 Pages
    by Routledge

    166 Pages
    by Routledge

    High-Conflict Parenting Post-Separation: The Making and Breaking of Family Ties describes an innovative approach for families where children are caught up in their parents’ acrimonious relationship - before, during and after formal legal proceedings have been initiated and concluded.

    This first book in a brand-new series by researchers and clinicians at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families (AFNCCF) outlines a model of therapeutic work which involves children, their parents and the wider family and social network. The aim is to protect children from conflict between their parents and thus enable them to have healthy relationships across both ‘sides’ of their family network.

    High-Conflict Parenting Post-Separation is written for professionals who work with high-conflict families – be that psychologists, psychiatrists, child and adult psychotherapists, family therapists, social workers, children’s guardians and legal professionals including solicitors and mediators, as well as students and trainees in all these different disciplines. The book should also be of considerable interest for parents who struggle with post-separation issues that involve their children.

    Introduction  01. High-Conflict Parenting: The Family Context  02. FamilyTies: Conceptual Framework and Evaluation  03. Legal Frameworks and Planning the Work  04. Assessing Children  05. Assessing Parents  06. Therapeutic Assessment of Family Relationships and Planning Interventions  07. Re-establishing and Sustaining Contact  08. Ensuring Safe and Reflective Practice  09. Early Interventions – Avoiding Litigation and Court


    Prof Dr Eia Asen, MD, FRCPsych, is a consultant child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist who has worked for 40 years in the NHS. For many years he was the clinical director of the Marlborough Family Service, a systemically oriented child, adolescent and family mental health service based in the centre of London. Since 2013 he has been working as a psychiatrist and family therapist at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families and he also holds the position of Visiting Professor at University College London. He has published ten books and many scientific papers and frequently teaches in Europe, the USA and Asia.

    Dr Emma Morris, DClinPsy, is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist who worked at the Marlborough Family Service with Prof. Asen before for ten years before moving to the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families in 2014. In her current role as Senior Clinician for the Specialist Trauma and Maltreatment Service at the Center she leads on several projects including a busy clinical service for contact and residence cases. She has published research in peer-reviewed journals and regularly provides teaching and consultation in academic and professional settings both in the UK and Europe.

    "This book is a great read. It is an essential text for all professionals who want to develop and hone their therapeutic skills with high conflict couples and their wider families. The framework is always child centred, and the parents' ability to think about the welfare of their children despite their ongoing hostility to one another, is the subject of many thoughtful examples. The text combines sound research-based knowledge and precise focussed applications with a lightness of touch that retains the readers curiosity and interest. The combination of the rigour that is required by working with the Family Court and the playfulness that keeps children and families engaged in the process of change is in balance throughout. It is a book to read as a whole in a couple of sittings and then re-read chapter by chapter to take on board the complexity that underlies the apparently straightforward advice and recommendations."

    - Gill Gorell Barnes, Consultant Family Therapist and former Expert Witness to the Family Court

    "Asen and Morris write with the clarity born of deep experience. Their book contains as good an analysis as I have seen of the predicament of children caught in acrimonious family breakdowns and they propose a convincing new framework for diagnosis and treatment in cases where contact has stopped. Moving beyond conventional labels, the authors offer a more hopeful prospect for families and they offer professionals, lawyers included, a solid understanding of the psychological forces at work in these extraordinarily difficult and painful cases."

    - Lord Justice Peter Jackson

    "This is a much-needed book by two inspired authors with rich clinical experience writing in an extraordinarily engaging way. It is an essential read for all clinicians because parenting invariably involves conflict, and its understanding and resolution is clearest and most readily appreciated in the instances beautifully described in this volume. It is the best available guide for dealing with the most complex situations in family work, which will support and guide all of us who have the task of helping families work-through differences in the management of children in the context of relationships under stress. I cannot imagine a clinician working with families or individuals who would not find a great deal in this book that they can use in their daily practice."

    - Professor Peter Fonagy, Head of the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, UCL, and Chief Executive of the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families