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. (They use these terms because they are useful in identifying who they are and yet they acknowledge that these words can be divisive at times as well. Some people might describe this same dynamic with other terms.)
Lawrence Joss is the director of Parental Alienation Anonymous. He is also an alienated father of three daughters and two grandchildren. He has been navigating these waters for 16 years, and has a plethora of firsthand 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 an 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.
PA-A groups have seen remarkable results over these last 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 they wrap up their second year, they 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 their Facebook page to hear anonymous stories from their community.
Please feel free to use their resources if you think it could be useful to your clients. Lawrence welcomes any feedback, objections, questions and or suggestions and is always trying to improve their presentation and process.
You are invited to share with your professional colleagues and others any services or resources that would be beneficial to the folks they are supporting. He would appreciate learning about anyone who would like to be added to their resource list or anything that might be useful to add to their resource list.