Karen Woodall: A Trapped Mind

Karen Woodall

I wanted to share this blog because it is written by someone who clearly knows how alienation and cults are interwoven.  When I first began work as a psychotherapist one of my first clients was escaping a cult. I was interested in how EST, the cult which became The Forum worked and how Scientology managed to influence so many when it demanded such bizarre and dramatic behaviours from people. My interest in cults lead me eventually to working with parental alienation, itself a cult of the family mindset.  I like this blog and think anyone who is interested in the psychology of alienation will too.

Source: A Trapped Mind

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Karen Woodall: Residence Transfer as a Treatment Route For Parental Alienation: Not The Nuclear Option

Karen Woodall

I read this week that a transfer of residence is the ‘nuclear option’ for treatment of parental alienation in the UK .  The discussion arises from a public judgement in which the child concerned was sent to live with her father.  Whilst there is a significant wrangling about the decision, based on the argument that the child had been too damaged already to be helped by a change of residence, (the judge finding that a particularly unattractive argument put forward by the mother), the words at the end of the Judgement are clear, the child will go to live with her father today.

That reality, which could just as easily read, the child will go to live with her mother today, given that fathers alienate mothers too, is one which causes too many people to become uneasy when they contemplate it.  Which is why I guess, it is called by…

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When Alienation is solved it’s still a problem

the alienation experience

Dr Sue Whitcombe, counselling psychologist at Family Psychology Solutions, gives us this case scenario. It’s unusual because you’d think the problem’s been solved. But the solution has ushered in another problem, just as awful.

Dr Sue Whitcombe Dr Sue Whitcombe

Sue’s original title was: A question of competence? Mental health and protection from harm and abuse.  It’s such a strong case study that it’s worth publishing afresh here – with her permission. Please respond as well to Sue’s request to support the petition and the cause in Wales to ensure that professionals have to be more aware.

Our title here – When Alienation is solved it’s still a problem – underlines how Parental Alienation can be harmful even when you might think the Alienation has been solved. The young adult child, Jane, in this case has re-established a relationship with her previously Alienated parent. But the predicament is still so terrible that she presents as suicidal.  So: “What’s the problem now?!”

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Ms Baldwin and her ‘friends’ – Not good for the children

This is a follow-up to my earlier post discussing the Samantha Baldwin case from the perspective of parental alienation and emotional child abuse. An excellent background of the case can be found on the transparency project website here.

I wanted to revisit this after a couple of weeks to see how the media have reacted after she and the boys were found and to see if this has generated any positive debate for an obvious long-overdue discussion of the family law in the UK regarding conflicted parents.

I was shocked.

As far as I can tell the media have come up with two – yes in words – TWO serious stories about the case:

  • A piece from the well regarded parental alienation counsellor Karen Woodall in the Huffington Post here, and
  • A strange uninformed piece in the Sunday Telegraph written by somebody who appeared not the read the judge’s ruling. It was so off-the-mark that the transparency group actually commented on the piece within 24 hours, it can be found here. Sunday Telegraph article is not available online.

In addition, there have been a couple of good blog posts:

  • One from hoxstead research addressing the alleged type of abuse that took place. This piece can be found here.
  • An interesting and well-written piece from a supporter of Ms Baldwin. Where we actually share something in common – As soon as we mention family law etc. in the pub our friends’ eyes glaze over! Can be found here.


Then we come to the problem: A self-feeding frenzy between the tin-foil hat brigade and the active supporters of Ms Baldwin on #Justice4s. Let’s analyse these a little bit in detail.

There is a so-called ‘investigative journalist’ called Richard Carvath who is tweeting away making wild allegations of a wider abuse ring. Check him out yourself on @richardcarvath. Either he is tweeting, or someone called ‘OBO’ (probably stands for ‘On Behalf Of’ to increase the theatrics. He also has a wordpress site where he states:

much of Richard’s public online content (since about 2008) has related to pro bono journalistic assignments – typically featuring a Christian subject unlikely to be of interest to mainstream media and news agencies.  Taken as a whole, Richard’s online content has always been, and remains, very much the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of his operations.

Now my father was a photographer for a local paper, and I knew local journalists. They would kill and serve their grandmother up for breakfast for a good story and its byline because that was their way to Fleet Street – recognition. Real investigative journalists do not avoid bylines.

Now if that wasn’t enough, he has started to prance about in a forest somewhere making videos (as if he is ‘undercover’, or ‘hiding from the establishment’ or something).  Check them out here.

In public, he provides NO evidence solid or otherwise to back up his exceptionally wild claims.

Finishing off, he also stood for parliament as the independent candidate for Salford and Eccles where his true nature was displayed for all to see: islamophobe and homophobe, as can be seen here. So this chap is genuinely not to be believed in my assessment. The veracity of his facts cannot be checked because he doesn’t provide any!

So why am I spending so much time on this man? Because he is one of the main sources quoted on the #justice4s site. Another source that I can briefly mention is a twitlonger text by a user called @BankerDidIt, whose tweets are protected, but his ‘about text’ quotes ‘#wwii Greatest Secret – must NEVER BE REVEALED. Churchill’, and the logo is decidedly anti-semitic – tin foil anyone?

This brings us on nicely to the facebook page, set up by friends of Ms Baldwin. The aim of this site is to bring ‘justice 4 sam’. Well as I see it justice has been served. Ms Baldwin has been found to have invoked the so-called nuclear option – allegations of child abuse without any basis in fact. The judge has even said that she drugged her own children to support these claims. Incredibly the supporters on the facebook page are just ignoring this and not only carrying on in their support (their call, and legitimate) but also repeating the allegations against the father, his family and friends (Not legitimate, libellous and abusive).

To reiterate, Ms Baldwin through her actions has caused the children to be alienated from their father in such a way as they (the children) actually believe the allegations. This is emotional abuse. She has done irreparable damage to her own children. What is happening now – her friends, with her sanction are continuing to publish libellous claims, ignoring completely what the Judge has found. These claims will also affect the children.


Ms Baldwin’s friends and supporters are continuing to post their allegations, even though they have been dismissed by the police and the courts. Ms Baldwin is obviously condoning this – this is continuing her emotional abuse of the children. Before Ms Baldwin absconded with her children these allegations were not nationwide, perhaps just with a circle of local friends. In any case they will not have been accessible by the children, people in the street were not pointing to the children and muttering stuff about their parents. Their friends at school probably knew nothing about this – they do now. With these allegations, the children can probably never have a normal life in the place they call home. Did you people think of that as you were posting these allegations? That it is tantamount to emotional abuse? Probably not. If anything the father has shown himself to be a better person than all of you for not dragging his children into this now very public fight and issuing only one statement. Ms Baldwin and her friends and supporters have weaponised the children and made it incredibly hard for the professionals to help them.

In Europe and the UK, we live in a democracy, where we entrust the law to professionals. If you don’t like the judgment, you apply for leave to appeal to a higher court – not ignore it and take it all into the public arena. Where would we be if everybody did this? A shoplifter stands up in front of the Judge and says “I do not agree with your verdict M’Lud” tweets his friends, and then simply leaves without any sanction.

This “I don’t agree with the judgement, therefore I will try to circumvent it” attitude is typical of parents (male and female) that abuse the law to keep the children away from non-residential parents. It is also how children become alienated because this gives the residential parent time to persuade the children to reject their other parent.  This is one of many areas where family law should be reformed. If there are no sanctions, then abusive parents will ignore the law, where is the incentive to obey?

If Ms Baldwin had any decency she would ask her supporters to remove the allegations, and just support her, and the laudable aim of reforming family law cases in the UK. The declared aims of the #justice4s march at the weekend are in the main for a reform of ‘Family Court Law’, and should be supported by anyone who has suffered at the hands of this opaque and antiquated system. But not as a vehicle to hold a public retrial of the Baldwin/Madge case and ‘overturn’ a legitimate judges’ ruling by proxy.

My hope that there would have been an informed debate leading perhaps to the conclusion that family law is in need of reform has so far not been realised. Just more despair for the poor children in this case.

The disturbing case of Samantha Baldwin

Many in the UK have been following the case of Samantha Baldwin and her two sons where she abducted her two sons after leaving a courtroom where custody was taken away from her and given to the court. The police looked for her for several days, up to 100 officers, as the judge stated that she was a potential danger to her children.

During this period the internet was very active in publicising several allegations against the father, his family and friends. Petitions were started, a go-give site was set up for her defence costs later. Libellous statements were the order of the day, and she was in the perception of many reading, a mother that was being unfairly hounded by justice.

After several days there was a tip-off from the public and she and the boys were found. She was arrested and subsequently bailed by the judge.

Yesterday the judge and the father issued separate statements (they can be read in full on the transparency site). The judge stated that he reached his judgement after 12 days of the hearing, 2000 pages of depositions and listening to 14 witnesses. He stated that the boys had been made to believe that the father had abused them, and that in order to support that claim she herself drugged the children to be able to prove the existence of those abuse enabling drugs in their system.

An objective view of the facts can be seen here:  transparency project

So why am I writing this, and what does it have to do with parental alienation?

The judges statement details that the boys believe that the father abused them. Such cases can be found in details of cases involving parental alienation. My boys for instance believe things that never happened, never took place, or things that happened and were changed to give a completely different angle. Though I must state never at this absolutely awful level. But nevertheless, this is something I never could have believed years ago. We are literally talking here about ceaseless, relentless pressure on the children to believe something, so much so that life events can be ‘edited’. This is my clumsy way of expressing this of course – professionals can definitely articulate this better.

This is putting a face to parental alienation. It is abuse, purely and simply. It is unforgivable, and there is no way to explain this away with such weak statements as ‘Was in the best interests of the child’. In the Baldwin case the mother (and to be clear this could also have been a man doing this – what happened here is not gender specific) according to the judge’s statement believed she was doing the right thing for her children over the years – admirable, what a wonderful parent. But when everybody who is not emotionally involved (Judges, lawyers, child care professionals) believes you are wrong, and your only supporters are those that believe your story, and they have probably not reached your conclusions separately, then you are at fault and should seek help – look up Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

So young children do not change in this way from one day to the next, it is a process that takes several years.  This is one of the aspects of the case that disturbs me the most. In this case the mother has had several years to brainwash her children by playing the system. There is no other of describing this. She dragged this out through false allegations, and the consequent checking of the legitimacy of these allegations took time. The time of experts, legal professionals, social services, court appearances etc. etc. This is the problem. In the UK, as in Germany where I live playing the system gives you time – time to alienate the children against the other parent. Time to abuse your own children.


What is unfortunate is the fact that this whole debate is falling into the old trope of good mother/bad father. People are taking sides, and there are still some places on the internet where the mother has done no wrong. Instead of focussing on the real issue – how could it have come to this, and what can be done to protect our children and abused parents in the future. The family court system with its safeguards for the children is enabling these types of cases to happen. In my simple (in comparison) case it was really obvious from the start what was going on, but until you can prove it, it is simply supposition. If anything should have come out of this case, it should be a fundamental look at the processes being followed by the courts in cases such as this to reduce the time available to abusing parents. 

But the real victims here are the boys, it will take a long time before they can trust their father again. They have no trust at the moment in those two people they should trust implicitly – their parents. In addition, their names are all over the internet – forever. Unless they change their surnames every potential employer/friend/lover doing a simple background check will read this very personal story. These are the very real results of the abuse perpetrated here.



A quick check of the newspapers so far just shows a simple reporting of the judges’ statement, and one national newspaper (Independent) hasn’t even bothered to report it. Only one mainstream (Telegraph) reporter has gone a little further in his tweets (Martin Daubney).



© 2017 lost dad – all rights reserved

Family law: parental alienation

A very interesting article from the UK’s Law Gazette – for practising legal professionals.


The courts in England and Wales are slowly becoming exposed to a phenomenon known as ‘parental alienation’. In fact, it is being progressively recognised throughout the courts.

Which is excellent news. The article admits that “There is some way to go”. Judgements are now starting to be passed using the words ‘parental alienation’, albeit in higher courts.

There is obviously a need for trained professionals that can testify in the lower courts, that can recognise PA without the need for the non-residential parent to bankrupt himself in the process paying for expert reports. As I have mentioned before time is of the essence. The longer the PA abuse carries on the more damage there is to repair – by the time the case reaches the higher courts where PA is determined the consequences can be huge – potentially the removal of the child(ren) into the custody of the non-residential parent. The emotional damage to the child(ren) that could have been avoided is significant.

There is a long way to go, and there is no silver bullet. But official acknowledgement that it exists, and that there is a willingness to do something positive to stop it fills me with hope for the future.

I’ll finish with the end of a comment on the article, from a  professional in these matters:

Again, congratulations on your article and your recognition that this is a scourge to be stamped out, in the best interests of the children.

via Family law: parental alienation | Feature | Law Society Gazette

An Open Letter to Cafcass

A very thoughtful post here detailing the effects of parental alienation, and how (in the poster’s case) CAFCASS are not willing to help even though they acknowledge the problem exists, and who the instigator is.

This mirrors my case here in Germany quite closely, and social services Thinking of the children’s wellbeing, support the status quo, because anything else will ‘harm’ the children in their view.

Unfortunately, in all of these cases the harm has been done, and will be exacerbated in the future when the children become adults and realise what has happened.


Dear Cafcass, At time of writing I have not seen my three beautiful children for nine and a half months. Since separating, my ex and I have spent in excess of £10,000 between us on legal fees. My aim is to co-parent, my ex’s aim is to keep me away from my children. Immediately after […]

via An Open Letter to Cafcass — Peace Not Pas