Skills before decisions.

New Ways for Families®

New Ways for Families® is an exciting new short-term method for handling the growing problem of high-conflict families in our divorce courts and out of court. It focuses on strengthening personal skills (4 Big Skills) before making long-term decisions.

By learning small skills in small steps, parents will learn to better communicate, manage their emotions, and make decisions that are in the best interest of their child. 


The Four Big Skills include:

  1. flexible thinking (including how to make and reasonably respond to proposals),

  2. managed emotions (including giving themselves encouraging statements),

  3. moderate behaviors (including writing emails that are brief, informative, friendly and firm, or “BIFF”) and

  4. checking themselves (rather than blaming others).

    It is designed to save courts time, save parents money, and to protect children as their families re-organize in new ways after a separation or divorce, for married or never-married parents. 

This interdisciplinary approach requires the cooperation and coordination of all professionals in reinforcing the use of these skills in all decision-making, in and out of court. It is based on both parents learning the same skills at the same time, with different counselors, coaches or online. Then, the parents are more able to cooperate in making joint decisions and teaching their children the same skills.

It is designed with most high-conflict cases in mind, including domestic violence, child abuse and alienation cases. The parents never have to be together, but our research shows that by learning the same skills their children show reduced signs of stress and learn skills they can use for life. 

Who it’s for:

This method is for all family law professionals involved with decision-making, especially:

  • lawyers

  • counselors

  • mediators

  • judges  

5 Models:

New Ways for Families® is offered in five models to meet the needs of parents and professionals in all types of family law settings, including:

1. Counseling (Individual Parent Counseling & Individual Parent-Child Counseling)

2. Online 12-Session Course for Parents + 4-Session Course for Parents & Kids
(with or without coaching)

3. Pre-Mediation Coaching

4. Decision Skills Class

5. Collaborative Divorce

Licensing Requirements:

A 2-day training is required for counselors who wish to use the method in court-referred or private cases. There are specialized recorded Webinars for the Decisions Skills Class instructors and Pre-Mediation Coaching.  

Materials are included with the training, including:

- a workbook for each model, which guides the process of learning the skills 

- a guidebook that teaches the full method and its variations to professionals

 -a manual for each model


Order our Professional Guidebook:

The New Ways for Families Professional Guidebook is for mental health professionals (counselors) who want to learn more about New Ways for Families or use the method with their clients. Also helpful for judges, lawyers, mediators and collaborative divorce professionals.

It is designed to be used with the New Ways for Families Basic 6-hour Training, available on DVD, and either the Parent Workbook, Collaborative Parent Workbook, Decision Skills Class Workbook/Manual, or the Pre-Mediation Coaching Workbook.


New Ways for Families is a trademark of William A. Eddy exclusively licensed to High Conflict Institute, LLC.