New Ways for Families is a new intervention designed to avert or mitigate high conflict situations during separation or divorce. It is valuable when a family is restructuring in the midst of the divorce process or at any point post divorce.It has been proven effective in diverting many families from litigation and the court system.

New Ways is designed to provide parents and their children with skills for resilience during this time of significant change in the family before making big decisions. The skills developed during the counseling help parents arrive at decisions, resolve their differences, and strengthen their abilities to co-parent. New Ways is about finding balance and keeping the focus on moving forward. New Ways involves four basic steps:

New Ways involves four basic steps



The process begins with the signing of a retainer agreement to participate in New Ways by mutual consent of both parents and/or getting a court order to participate in New Ways.



Each of the parents are assigned to their own individual counselor with whom they will complete three to five (number of sessions determined by counselor) counseling sessions separately during which they will:

(A) Prepare a behavioral declaration for the other parent consisting of a list of

  • parenting concerns
  • parenting strengths
  • parenting plan requests

(B) Participate in individual counseling sessions in which specific communication and co-parenting skills are taught, modeled, and practiced (i.e. workbook exercises, role-playing, coaching, etc.)

The focus will be on developing:

  • flexible thinking
  • managed emotions
  • moderate behaviors

An optional joint session with both parents focused on learning from both parents, being creative problem solvers and preparing for the Parent-Child Counseling portion.



The children will be seen for two sessions with each parent separately. There will also be one session jointly with both parents if possible.

The parents assisted by the counselor will teach their children the skills to develop better resilience.  They will also demonstrate their newly acquired skills in listening to their children’s concerns regarding the separation/divorce.



This optional step is a way for families to continue to be supported in using effective communication, making ongoing decisions regarding the family’s future, and in the implementation of the parenting plan. Extra charges will most likely be incurred at this step.


By teaching skills and coaching for more effective participation in:
• Negotiations/decision making
• Mediation
• Collaborative Law
• Parenting Coordination

 With a High-Conflict client:
• Provides a structure for high-conflict personality clients (who need a lot of structure)
• Reduces complaining phone calls to family lawyers by [High Conflict Personality] HCP clients
• Provides standards and skills which family law attorneys can remind clients to use

With a non-HCP (reasonable) client:
• New Ways provides methods for reasonable clients to cope with an HCP other parent, including:
• How to respond to hostile emails
• How to focus on making proposals, rather than discussing the past of becoming extreme
• How to manage their own emotions, rather than getting emotionally hooked by the other
• How to communicate with their children while protecting them from the other parent

• At no time do the parents need to be in the same room or speak directly to each other
• The Parent-Child Counselor is always present with the children and each parent
• A parenting plan can be developed which involves no contact between the parents

With alleged abusive parent:
• Parent focuses on own all-or-nothing thinking, unmanaged emotions, and extreme behaviors
• Counselor is not an advocate for or against client; focuses on educating client about consequences
• Parent is encouraged to accept treatment rather than focus on fighting in court
• Parent does exercises in workbook, focusing on the future and the benefit of learning new skills

With alleged victim:
• Parent focuses on lowering expectations that other parent will change
• Counselor does not take position for or against client: focuses on educating the client about abuse
• Parent is encouraged to learn assertive skills, to focus on own choices and set boundaries
• Parent does exercises in workbook, focusing on the future and the benefit of learning new skills

With alleged alienating parent:
• Parent is expected to discuss positive qualities of the other parent and positive history with child
• Counselor does not take position for or against client, focuses on educating about consequences
• Parent must teach child that all-or-nothing solutions are not appropriate
• Parent must practice managing emotions, since alienating emotions are contagious

With alleged victim of alienation:
• Parent focuses on own behavior which may reinforce alienation, even if not causing it
• Parent is encouraged to learn assertive sills, rather than expressing anger or giving up
• Parent learns methods of managing relationship with the child and other parent with flexibility


Each family’s situation is different. Please contact us to discuss the details of our program, including which model is most appropriate for your situation. Your lawyer or mediator is also welcome to contact us for more specific information.

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