From Empathy to Apathy: The Bystander Effect Revisited

Parental Alienation

The bystander effect, the reduction in helping behavior in the presence of other people, has been explained predominantly by situational influences on decision making. Diverging from this view, we highlight recent evidence on the neural mechanisms and dispositional factors that determine apathy in bystanders. We put forward a new theoretical perspective that integrates emotional, motivational, and dispositional aspects. In the presence of other bystanders, personal distress is enhanced, and fixed action patterns of avoidance and freezing dominate. This new perspective suggests that bystander apathy results from a reflexive emotional reaction dependent on the personality of the bystander.

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Objects in the Rear View Mirror

Karen Woodall

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As I continue with my research alongside my therapeutic work with families, I am building a new approach to working with families affected by parental alienation which combines trans-generational psychotherapy with psycho-genealogy to provide a framework for understanding and working with the mind of the alienated child.

In doing this work what we aim for is to separate out the layers of generational influence and the artefacts which lied buried in the psyche of the family.

And then we examine the location of the family in space and time to understand further what influences drive the outcomes seen.

In doing so we widen our lens and stand back as far as we can to gain perspective.

Thus objects view through the rear view mirror, appear differently at different times.

It is worth using this approach to exhume some of the influences which affect us as we do this work.


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A theatre critic’s view of Parental Alienation

Another good post by Nick Child, – “A theatre critic’s view of Parental Alienation”

the alienation experience

For decades those who know the scourge of Parental Alienation have fought but failed to raise serious general awareness in a world that is more intent on ignoring it. Parental Alienation is a very serious reality. So that failure is strange and worrying. Experts have tried a number of earnest ways to spread the word. Could lightening up a bit engage the wide interest that Parental Alienation (PA) deserves?

What about  a dramatically different serious viewpoint: that of a theatre critic?

At face value

The original way to take PA seriously is the commonest among lay people and professionals. That is to take the performance deadly seriously: at face value. A child outrightly rejects a parent, energetically supported by the resident parent. Clear enough? Two against one, very convincing, there must be some really good reason for it. Family, friends, professionals, lawyers and judges mostly agree to evaporate the rejected…

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Cafcass, “No Shit Sherlock!”

On the 27th November 2017, Cafcass CEO Anthony Douglas published a post on the Cafcass blog entitled Alienation Rarely Exists in Isolation. In the interests of challenging authority I would like to rip this post of Douglas' apart to show how incompetent, ineffective and unaccountable both he and his organisation are. Lets be honest it does … Continue reading Cafcass, “No Shit Sherlock!”

Thomas Hobbes and the State of Nature

Back in the 17th Century, an English philosopher called Thomas Hobbes penned a tome called ‘Leviathan.’ A Leviathan is a mythical creature, made up of many smaller, less powerful creatures which, when combined, become this mighty ‘Leviathan’. Hobbes thought that, when man first dropped out of the trees, he would have been living in what Hobbes called the ‘State of … Continue reading Thomas Hobbes and the State of Nature

A Thought Experiment…

Imagine that, one evening, you are sitting comfortably in your living room, with your kids and your other half, just watching the TV.  Everyone’s been fed, and the choice of what to watch has, for once, been trouble-free. All of a sudden, there is an almighty BANG!  Five masked men burst through your front door, … Continue reading A Thought Experiment…

‘Parental Alienation’ – Who Benefits?

Expert Witnesses, Courts, Lawyers, Therapists and Coaches There is evidence to suggest that the people who profited most from the California Gold Rush were the guys who sold the equipment, and provided goods and services to the miners…not the miners themselves. I believe the same can be said of the ‘Parental Alienation’ trade. As with … Continue reading ‘Parental Alienation’ – Who Benefits?