I am reaching out to introduce our organization Parental Alienation Anonymous (PA-A, www.pa-a.org) as a tool for you and your clients. PA-A is a fellowship offering free 12 step support group meetings online 12 times a week via zoom. We also offer foundational trainings in meditation, non-violent communication, family system theory, GRACE training and several other modalities to help people supplement their therapy.
PA-A is modeled on the Al-Anon Family Groups (70-year-old) recovery program and was adapted for folks struggling with parental alienation and estrangement. Parental alienation is an incredibly complex and nuanced pathology. Often the child/children are used as a surrogate to form an alliance against one parent. (We use these terms because they are useful in identifying who we are and yet we acknowledge that these words can be divisive at times as well. Some people might describe this same dynamic with other terms.)
My name is Lawrence Joss, and I am the director of Parental Alienation Anonymous. I am also an alienated father of three and daughters and two grandchildren. I have been navigating these waters for 16 years, so I have a plethora of first-hand experience.
Like other 12-step meetings, PA-A meetings are peer-to-peer. This shared leadership design ensures there is no hierarchy. PA-A meetings follow an intentionally designed format at every meeting to create safety and consistency. Folks get to share for 4 minutes maximum so that no one dominates the meeting and so that there is time for everyone to share if they choose. Each meeting has a unique topic and sharing is from the “I” perspective, so there is no cross talk.
PA-A has a clear framework of the 12 steps which helps folks to reground, take accountability for their lives, and start to address some of their habitual coping mechanisms and behaviors. PA-A is not a replacement for therapy! It is a important adjunct to support healthy living. PA-A groups are recovery based. They are a place of healing and although we share some of our stories together, the main focus is on our experience strength and hope to improve how we manage our difficult situations. We discuss resources, tools, and use of the 12 steps to take a closer look at our lives in order to reclaim them.
We have seen remarkable results over these two years. Members report that their participation in PA-A groups has enabled them to move from a place of heartbreak, suffering, shame, and isolation to a place of self-esteem, hope and more positive participation in life. Most of the folks that have reunited with their kids still attend meetings to support their continued growth and relationship building, because the pathology of parental alienation is not cured just because a family is reunited.
Interestingly, over the first year most of the parents who have been reunited were all in the early stages (1-12 months) of alienation, as opposed to longer term alienation. As we wrap up our second year we are seeing more folks reuniting and establishing some form of contact that have been alienated in the one plus year range. This is an area that could benefit from more attention and scholarly research. Most of these shifts can be directly related to new patterns of behavior for the parents. Please visit our facebook page to hear anonymous stories from our community.
Please feel free to use our resources if you think it could be useful to your clients. I welcome any feedback, objections, questions and or suggestions – we are always trying to improve our presentation and process.
I invite you to share with your professional colleagues and others any services or resources that would be beneficial to the folks we are supporting. I would appreciate learning about anyone who would like to be added to our resource list or anything that might be useful to add to our resource list.
If there is anything I can offer that might be useful to you or your clients, please let me know.
I have included a couple of basic links below about 12-step meetings and other related topics.
This link is an explanation of the basics of a 12 step PA support group meeting.https://parentalalienationanonymous.com/what-is-a-12-step-meeting/
This a PDF for therapists explaining the 12 step program of PA-A program. https://parentalalienationanonymous.com/open-source-pa-a-meeting-formats/pdfs-of-pa-a-brochures/
This is an example of a PA-A script the leader of the meeting reads. The scripts are consistent from meeting to meeting. https://parentalalienationanonymous.com/step-1-zoom-meeting/
Newcomers booklet links are posted at all meetings https://parentalalienationanonymous.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/PA-A-Newcomer-Booklet.pdf
All of our resources are open source so that anyone who finds them useful has access to them. Here is a link to the resource landing page.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. I look forward to connecting.
Lawrence Joss- Director