Dating Denial

“He’s just no good for you!”

“But I love him!”

“She’s trouble, I’m telling you!”

“But I love her!”

This is the kind of friendly advice that many people get from their friends or family when they are involved with a potentially high-conflict partner. And these are the kinds of responses that many people give their friends and family.

Handling Parent-Child Sessions in New Ways for Families®

New Ways for Families teaches parents the Four Big Skills for life: Flexible Thinking, Managed Emotions, Moderate Behavior and Checking Yourself. When possible, parents then teach their children the same skills in three parent-child sessions each with the Parent-Child Counselor (PCC). This article explains the importance of having these sessions, some of the mechanics of how this works and an example.

Making Proposals - Client Handout

Any problem in the past can be turned into a proposal about the future. Proposals don’t have to be complicated. You can just blurt one out during a conversation with anyone or during a meeting with any group.  Proposals get attention, because they are solutions to past problems by focusing on the future. Most of us are relieved to talk about the future, rather than what we’ve done wrong in the past. On the other hand, most of us easily slip into talking about the past – or even get stuck talking about the past – including what everyone else has done wrong. This article focuses on how to make proposals in a way that is easy and can be done at any time. 

Coaching Clients to Make Proposals

Whether you are a lawyer, mediator, collaborative practitioner or other professional involved in dispute resolution, you know that making proposals or “settlement offers” is central to eventually reaching agreements for the benefit of your clients. Yet, traditionally, we have thought of making proposals as part of our professional job, rather than teaching our clients how to do this.

Two significant changes in recent years are causing this to change: Courts (and budget cuts) are driving more parties to use out-of-court decision-making (such as mediation and other negotiation methods); and Clients are demanding to play a greater role in their cases from start to finish.

Differences in Dealing with Borderline, Narcissistic and Antisocial Clients in Family Law

By now, most family law professionals know that they are regularly dealing with some clients or opposing parties with borderline, narcissistic and/or antisocial personality disorders or at least some traits of these disorders. While in the past they were simply thought of as jerks or worse, we now know there are predictable patterns of behavior involved and generally effective ways of dealing with them.

What are their Differences?

The Role of Mediation Coaching in Family Dispute Resolution

Conflict coaching, or conflict management coaching, is an innovative practice which has many benefits to offer the field of family dispute resolution. While more commonly used in workplace and organizational conflict in Ontario, coaching is growing as a practice in the context of family conflict, divorce, and co-parenting issues.

What is conflict coaching?

The purpose of conflict coaching is to help individuals reach their personally identified goals related to conflict resolution and interpersonal stress.

Emotions are Contagious

Brain researchers indicate that implicit prejudice comes from many unconscious “cultural factors” like jokes, catchphrases, overheard taunts, and so forth, from peers, parents and the media. It is not hard to imagine an angry parent making off-hand comments and making gestures about the other parent in the presence of the child, without consciously being aware of it. It’s not hard to imagine the child absorbing all of this without being consciously aware of it as well. In alienation cases, the problem is very similar.

The Politics of Alienation: Resistance/Refusal Dynamics, 2010 Efforts & What We Can Do Now

I wrote this article seven years ago in 2010. I had just finished writing a book about child alienation (Don’t Alienate the Kids!), broadly defined as when a child resists spending time with one parent after a divorce, without assuming the cause. Ironically, 2010 was the year that the issue of alienation escalated into the news with two opposite political efforts: one to officially recognize alienation and the other to officially ban it from existence.

In this article I want to explain what may have been going on, why alienation is now gaining more attention and what to do about it. 

FAMILY LAW: 3 Theories of the High-Conflict Case

I do a lot of consulting to family lawyers and their clients (often on the phone together), as well as many self-representing people in family court cases. These often involve high-conflict custody and access issues, although finances can also be involved. One of the biggest problems I keep seeing is that many family law professionals (lawyers, judges, mediators, evaluators, counselors, etc.) have a presumption in high-conflict cases. Here are the three most common presumptions:

Talking to Children About Divorce: Using New Ways Parent-Child Talk

One of the first questions asked by parents who are beginning the divorce process is, “What should we tell the children, and how should we tell them?” Most parents, understandably, have a tough time telling their children about their pending divorce and describing how their lives will be forever changed. This daunting task can generate feelings of guilt, sadness, and regret. Instinctually, parents may want to avoid talking about the divorce altogether in an effort to protect their children from the pain. However, failing to tell children about divorce in a timely manner can leave them feeling hurt, betrayed and even more confused.

How the New Ways Skills Structure My Mediation Sessions: Lessons from a Mediator

In my mediation practice, I offer private mediations to families in transition and child protection mediation to families involved with child welfare agencies. A good proportion of the mediations, involve families in high conflict custody and access matters. A few years back, I attended a NWFF mediation training that Bill Eddy gave at one of the AFCC annual conferences. The small shifts in practice were noteworthy, and since then, I have used the NWFF techniques in my mediations. I had already been offering NWFF counselling, so incorporating the skills seemed quite natural. The following highlights some of the ways that I make use of the skills and strategies of NWFF program.

How Parenting Without Conflict Online Course is Different Than Other Parent Education Courses

Parenting without Conflict is based on the co-parenting curriculum of New Ways for Families®. New Ways is a counseling and coaching method for parents re-organizing their families after a separation or divorce. New Ways was specifically designed for parents who are stuck in an endless cycle of defensive thinking and extreme behaviors.

How do we know it’s effective? In developing the Parenting without Conflict course, the curriculum from New Ways for Families in-person program was transferred in it’s entirely to an online platform. The New Ways curriculum is based on interventions proven successful: Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Parent-Child Interaction Therapy. (Read more about the research completed on the in-person New Ways program).

What is Transformative Mediation and How Is It Connected to the New Ways for Families Method?

Mediation is a negotiation that is facilitated by a neutral third party, whose job is to help disputants find a mutually acceptable resolution to their problem.  Transformative mediation is mediation’s Paleo diet.  It’s a back-to-basics and root-source approach to mediation.  Instead of seeking resolution (a settlement/agreement), transformative mediation seeks to change (transform) party-interaction, perception and approach to conflict.  And, according to the theory, this is exactly what parties are really looking to achieve in conflict resolution:

Taking the Assertive Approach in Family Court

Family court presents a difficult dilemma for reasonable people. If you act reasonably and use the cooperative problem-solving skills you use in daily life, you risk losing your case, because family court is a highly adversarial process that rewards combative thinking and behavior. This is why people with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) traits are often attracted to court and often win.

The Six Strategies of Subtle Emotional and Psychological Abuse

Much is written about overt abusive behavior, the kind of in-your-face actions that are easily recognizable to virtually anyone. Those more obvious forms of abusive behavior include behaviors such as yelling, screaming, name calling, threatening and intimidating as well as physical forms of violence such as hitting, kicking, pushing, shoving and strangulating up to stabbing and shooting. But what of the more subtle forms of abusive behavior?