When I first started my mental health nurse training several years ago I used to hate the lectures that aimed to teach us how important research is.
I found both the subject and the lectures boring, dull and at the time I didn’t really understand the importance of research. On reflection, I now realise that because I didn’t really understand research, I was fearful of it.
However my course was degree based. And as such I had to learn the importance of research and the importance of evidence based practice in order to write my much dreaded dissertation.
“Little did I know back then how valuable my eventual understanding of research and evidence based practice would be in battling parental alienation.”
I now understand the importance of research. To this day it continues to inform and underpin my clinical practice as a mental health nurse. However, little did I know back then how valuable my eventual understanding of research and evidence based practice would be in battling parental alienation.
Cafcass’ initial response to my particular case of parental alienation was to give my children time. However this is the complete opposite to all the available research and evidence based practice in terms of approaching parental alienation.
At the risk of sounding pompous and somwhat gradiose, I softly and appropriately challenge every single professional’s opinion that attempts to dismiss parental alienation. I am a thorn in the side of many professionals from both Cafcass and Children’s Social Services.
I do not overly challenge them in meetings. However I challenge them via emails, so everything is documented.
It was my presentation to Cafcass of evidence based practice that I highlighted they were not following, that resulted in them backtracking and re-working with my two older children.
It was my presentation to Cafcass of evidence based practice that I highlighted they were not following, that resulted in Cafcass undertaking a psychological assessment. This assessment subsequently confirmed my suspicions; that my ex presents with Cluster A personality traits.
These are just two examples of how I have used my understanding of research and evidence based practice to challenge the relevant authorities in terms of me battling the flawed family justice system.
However this also includes attempting to encourage, enable and support people to become more well-informed about parental alienation. We should not have to fight against parental alienation. However, until such a time that it becomes officially recognised and managed with the same severity as any other form of abuse we have to continue to fight it. We simply have no choice.
The following is a brief beginners guide to the reading and understanding of research articles. Particularly with regards to battling parental alienation:
- A research article might appear intimidating for some at first. Even thinking about reading a research article can be fearful itself for some. However, trust me, it is not as bad as it seems.
- Before you even start reading a paper or document, take a look at the authors and their institutional affiliations. Are they credible? Some institutions/authors are well-respected; others may appear to be legitimate research institutions but some may be driven by a certain agenda.
- My advice is to begin by reading the title, abstract and conclusions first, before deciding on whether to read the whole article.
- The Title: Like the title of a book which will attempt to attract a potential reader, the title of the article is the one thing which will attempt to attract a reader. A good title should fully inform the potential reader a great deal about the study to decide whether to go ahead and read it or not.
- The Abstract: This is the part of the article that should help the reader to determine whether he or she should be reading the entire article or not.
- The Introduction: The purpose of this is to provide the reader with a rationale for conducting the study.
- Materials and Methods: This section explains to the reader how the researh was carried out.
- Results of the study: In this section the researchers will give details about the data they have collected.
- Discussion: This is the most important part of the article. This is where the answers are answered.
- The Conclusion: Although I advised reading the conclusion at the beginning, it is prudent to read it again at the end to confirm whether what we had inferred initially is correct.
Different Types of Research Articles:
Literature Reviews Articles: Theses articles are basically a critical evaluation of studies of previously published research. For example in the case of parental alienation, a literature review will ultimately critically evaluate a number of previously published studies on parental alienation.
Case Studies: These will include reports of case materials of an individual, group, community, or an organization. For example, this could be the experiences and results of a number of alienated children going through psychological interventions and the subsequent results.
Quantitative Research Articles: The aim of these articles is to measure/quantify
variables for individual participants based on individual scores. For example, this could measure the number of people afflicted with mental health issues due to being children affected by parental alienation
Qualitative Research Article: The aim of this type of research is to focus on observing and understanding participants’ behaviors and attitudes. Researchers will then write a reports describing the phenomena under study. For example this would be presented as more of a narrative of peoples experiences of a given intervention to minimise the detrimental effects of parental alienation.
The above is by no means an exhaustive list of all the different types of aresearch articles. And I sincerely hope I have not scared anyone away from the topic of research!
My aim was to attempt to get across the importance of reading and informing ourselves as much as we can about parental alienation. And the importance of research and it’s relation to evidence based practice.
While I was writing this I was at the same time networking online with other alienated parents. We were discussing how, in the absence of any official recognition of parental alienation, as targeted parents we must play the system.
And this playing the system brings me to my conclusion of this post. From the above advice I am not by any means advising every single one of us attend every single meeting arguing at every opportunity with every professional about the injustice of parental alienation. My advice is simply this:
Arm yourselves with as much information as you can. Become confident in reading and understanding research articles. Learn the skill of picking out the most pertinent points.
Look for gaps and deficits in the services involved. And with the aid of information garnered from as much research as possible, point out where and when these services are not abiding by evidence based practice and appropriately challenge them.
In terms of your approach be as determined as the alienator. Agree to every single intervention offered. Agree to attend every single meeting. Agree to do whatever it will take for the services to see that you are co-operating as much as you can.
Over time, as saddening and as frustrating as it is, at some point the services will see the alienator for who they really are. And throughout this time inform yourself as much as you can about parental alienation.
Please do make full use of the Research Articles Page.
“No thief, however skillful, can rob one of knowledge, and that is why knowledge is the best and safest treasure to acquire.” L. Frank Baum, The Lost Princess of Oz.
I am an alienated parent of three. Part-time psychiatric nurse, part-time writer. I am also an online activist against parental alienation. I use my knowledge of mental health and lived experience of parental alienation to promote awareness of parental alienation.