Happy family

Melinda Thompson is also licensed with New Ways for Families to provide structured, short term educational divorce coaching using the New Ways curriculum.

The New Ways method is offered in five different models and can be used in family court, mediation, collaborative divorce, or even after the divorce. New Ways for Families is a structured parenting skills method to reduce the impact of conflict on the children in potentially high-conflict divorce and separation cases. The focus is on parents practicing four key conflict-reducing skills before the big decisions are made, and teaching these same skills for resiliency to their children. The goal is to help parents make their own parenting decisions out of court. This method emphasizes strengthening skills for positive future behavior rather than focusing on past negative behavior – while still acknowledging it. New Ways teaches parents the skills they need to put their children first and make their own divorce and custody agreements. It helps to protect children as their families re-organize in new ways after a separation or divorce, and teaches parents skills for long-term co-parenting. It can be used with married or never-married parents. New Ways for Families is intended to teach parents the skills necessary to jointly make their parenting decisions out of court, which reduces the time the court must spend making decisions for them. When parents make their own parenting decisions, they are more likely to follow the agreements. This method can be used in family court (as a requirement prior to the court making any decisions), mediation, collaborative divorce, pre-mediation coaching, or even post-divorce with the assistance of a Parenting Coordinator or High Conflict Case Manager.


The Skills

  • Flexible Thinking: Acknowledging that there is more than one solution to most problems
  • Managed Emotions: Controlling one’s own anger, sadness, fear, and anxiety so as to not over-react
  • Moderate Behaviors: Avoiding extreme actions and language
  • Checking Yourself: Reminding yourself to use these skills at times of stress
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The Models

Pre-Mediation Coaching

Clients complete 1-2 coaching sessions prior to mediation, using the Pre-Mediation Coaching Workbook. This is the shortest version of the method, but the focus remains on learning and practicing the four skills. This model is particularly beneficial for potentially high-conflict parents who would benefit from learning the skills prior to mediation, but do not require intensive coaching. Learning the skills prior to mediation should make for a more effective mediation process.

The Decision Skills Class

The New Ways skills can also be taught and practiced in a class format. Parents can be court-ordered into the three session Decision Skills Class or participate voluntarily. Parents are expected to work through the workbook during class. The focus of the class is on learning and practicing the four skills. The class sessions are structured using the Decision Skills Workbook. It is not intended to replace parenting classes that focus on other aspects of the parent-child relationship during divorce.

Court-Based Model

Parents can be court-ordered to participate in the 12-week program model before major decisions are made. Parents can also participate voluntarily at the start of their case, without a court order, upon the recommendation of their lawyer, mediator, therapist or other family law professional. Each parent participates in six weekly Individual Parent sessions, with his/her own confidential coach. Using the Parent Workbook, each parent works with his/her coach to learn and practice the four skills. After completion of the individual sessions, each parent participates in three Parent-Child sessions. The parents share the same Parent-Child Coach, alternating weeks (they do not attend sessions jointly). The Parent-Child Coach guides the parent as he/she works through the workbook exercises with the child (or children together, depending on the age). The purpose is for each parent to teach the child the same four skills for resilience and conflict resolution, and for the parent to address the child’s concerns about the future. After completing the program, parents should be able to use their skills to make their own agreements with the help of legal professionals, without returning to court.

Collaborative Model

Collaborative Divorce professionals can encourage or require their clients to participate in the Collaborative model of New Ways. This model follows the same basic steps as the 12 week model, with three Individual Parent Coaching sessions and three Parent-Child Coaching sessions. The sessions are structured using the Collaborative Divorce Workbook. After completing New Ways, parents are better prepared to make decisions within the Collaborative Divorce framework. This may help parents stay in the collaborative process, who would otherwise drop out and go to court.

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New Ways for FamiliesNew Ways for Families is a project of the High Conflict Institute, developed by Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq. (Located on the web at NewWaysforFamilies.com)

Additional Services

Small boy watching parents fight

Divorce Coaching

Divorce Coaching is a professional supportive educational service which assists individuals when considering divorce, in the process of a divorce or post-divorce. Divorce is a time of transition and transition means change.

Father helping son ride a tricycle

Collaborative Divorce Mental Health Professional (MHP)

Cooperative co-parenting is often seen when parents have low conflict and both possess good communication skills. In cooperative parenting the parties communicate regularly to provide consistent structure between homes and to share important information to facilitate the parenting of the children.

Contact Me

Feel free to to contact me with general questions or comments and I will respond as soon as I'm able. DO NOT provide any HIPPA protected health information in your message. For all information about mental health counseling services please call me at 997-268-1111 below to ensure confidentiality. For medical emergencies, please dial 9-1-1.

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