Thursday, October 13, 2011

New Ways for Families sponsored by Medicine Hat Family Services

On Sept. 30th I gave an all-day training in the New Ways for Families method to 26 mental health professionals, lawyers and agency staff in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, sponsored by Medicine Hat Family Services. They are preparing to start up their New Ways program in January, with 3 years of funding from the Safe Communities Initiative to handle most of the separation and divorce cases that involve a conflict over the children in their Family Court.

The training emphasized several paradigm shifts of the New Ways method:
·         Skills before Decision
·         Teach small skills in small steps with lots of repetition and encouragement
·         Guide parent decisions, rather than making decisions for them (as much as possible)
·         When new conflicts or decisions arise, remind parents to use their skills
·         If parents return to court, have judges quiz them on how they are using their skills, before hearing evidence and argument

In reality, these shifts are hard to do for professionals who are used to making decisions for high-conflict parents and getting frustrated and angry with them. However, the group was committed to really learning and practicing these skills in role-play exercises using the New Ways Parent Workbook throughout the day. As several emphasized at the end of the day, it’s a lot more satisfying and effective to remind parents to use their skills and have success, rather than arguing with what they’re doing wrong.

This was Day Two (the “live day”) of their 2-day training, after many of them saw the Day One training by DVD. I really enjoyed my day with them and wish they great success.

For more information about New Ways for Families, see the website:

High Conflict Institute provides training and consultations, as well and books, DVDs and CDs regarding dealing with High Conflict People (HCPs) in legal, workplace, educational, and healthcare disputes. Bill Eddy is the President of the High Conflict Institute and the author of "It's All Your Fault!", "Splitting", "BIFF: Quick Responses to High Conflict People, Their Hostile Emails, Personal Attacks and Social Media Meltdowns" and "Don't Alienate the Kids!". He is an author, attorney, mediator, and therapist. Bill has presented seminars to attorneys, judges, mediators, ombudspersons, human resource professionals, employee assistance professionals, managers, and administrators in 25 states, several provinces in Canada, France, and Australia. For more information about High Conflict Institute, our seminars and consultations, Bill Eddy or to purchase a book, CD or DVD, visit:

1 comment:

Rhonda Pisanello said...

This is very good news for Albertans. I truly hope this service can help lesson, dissolve and eventually prevent many, many high conflict issues for families after separation. On behalf of children caught in the middle everywhere, thank you to Mr. Eddy for bringing this to Alberta. Children who have been in these situations ie:hostility between parents after separation suffer the most and they are almost helpless and left without a voice. This work can help change that. Wonderful news thank you!