New Ways for Families is a therapeutic intervention program for parents during or after a divorce. NWFF is intended to prevent conflict between parents from causing long-term damage to children and parents’ relationships with their children. The program is brief, structured, and combines individual and family sessions to develop new skills to break conflict cycles. Parents are able to refer themselves to the program voluntarily, but most enter the program as a part of a temporary court order in their divorce or custody case. During the course of the brief NWFF program, three ICFE therapists will be involved in each case: each parent meets 6-7 sessions with an individual therapist for the Parent Skills Counseling to learn the NWFF conflict management skills, then each parent works with a Parent-Child Counselor for three sessions to share the new skills with their children and learn how to apply the skills based on the needs of the children. The total cost of the program will depend on the professionals engaged, but each parent will attend a total of 9-10 sessions between their individual and parent-child NWFF counselor. The NWFF program allows families to invest in building skills for the future.
Step 1: Court-Order or Self-Referral to the Parent-Child Counselor who will work with both parents with their children after each parent has completed the Parent Skills Counseling. The NWFF program will take 6-8 weeks to complete, and courts can schedule final hearings after program completion to allow the parents an opportunity to come to an agreement outside of court after learning NWFF skills.
Step 2: Each parent selects an individual Parent Skills Counselor and schedules their initial appointments.
Step 3: Each parent completes, either with his or her attorney or respective NWFF Parent Skills Counselor, a Behavioral Declaration. The Behavioral Declarations and clients’ responses to the Declarations are shared between both parents’ individual Parent Skills Counselors to document the specific behaviors and challenges that are causing conflict between the parents.
Step 4: Each parent completes at least 6 individual sessions with his or her Parent Skills Counselor, guided by the NWFF Parent Workbook (available for purchase at ICFE, $20 per workbook). These sessions are confidential. Upon completion of the workbook, the Parent Skills Counselor will provide only a Verification of Completion to the client and to the assigned Parent-Child Counselor.
Step 5: Once the Parent-Child Counselor has received the Verification of Completion for both parents, each parent will schedule three family sessions with the Parent-Child Counselor to include the parent and the children. (Modifications can be made at this stage to accommodate the age and developmental levels of children.) The goal of these sessions is for each parent to share the NWFF skills with the children and hear from the children any concerns or needs that must be considered in applying the NWFF skills effectively. The parents may elect to meet with the Parent-Child Counselor together for the last session. The Parent-Child Counselor provides a Verification of Completion after each parent has completed his or her parent-child sessions.
Step 6: Upon completion of the NWFF program, parents may be prepared to reach an agreement to settle their case either in mediation or independently. If the parties proceed to court, the Parent-Child Counselor for the case may be called to share observations from the NWFF parent-child sessions. However, the parents’ individual Parent Skills counselors are not to be a part of a court process (the Parent Skills Counselors, as part of their Informed Consent process, will inform parents of exceptions to confidentiality in the State of Texas).
Information for Clients:
Individual Parent Counselor List- each parent selects their own New Ways individual counselor
Information for Judges and Attorneys:
Parent-Child Counselor List- Selected by agreement of parties OR by court order