Hope for High Conflict Couples and Families
Author: Dr. Diann Sanford, Psy.D
– a trained New Ways for Families Provider
Many relationships result in high conflict separations or divorces that can be very damaging to the children. New Ways for Families is an approach that this author uses to teach and train both sets of parents and their children how to navigate these complex situations. It was designed by Bill Eddy of the High Conflict Institute. Often a judge will order a couple and family to participate in this therapy to reduce the stress, anxiety and the negative impact the high conflict is having on the children. The typical recommended program consists of individual parent counseling, and then parent-child counseling. The parent first learns the required healthy skills, and then models them to their children in front of the therapist.
During the New Ways for Families therapy, emotional intelligence and self-control is emphasized. Therapists practicing these methods teach participants how to remain calm and productive in the midst of very difficult circumstances. One key component is helping clients to realize extreme harmful behaviors of the past and learning new way of managing these extreme feelings. Flexible thinking, managed emotions, moderate behaviors and checking yourself is highlighted. Parents are expected to model these characteristics to their children. Failures and hurdles are openly discussed, as well as new ways of dealing with them.
Children especially love this program, although parents or one parent in particular is usually very reluctant to participate. This therapeutic program requires self-reflection, commitment and accountability. New proposed behavior is established and monitored. It is a very effective Solutions Focused therapeutic intervention and the basic principles work with couples only, couples and children or families with adult children who are experiencing conflict.
“Flexible thinking, managed emotions, moderate behaviors and checking yourself are keys to calm, healthy and productive communication and conflict. These skills can be applied to any situation in which one is experiencing high conflict.”
– Dr. Diann Sanford, Psy.D.