New Ways for Families®


  • Are you and your partner considering separation or divorce?
  • Are you worried about the impact on your children?
  • Do you want to learn healthy ways to communicate and co-parent?
  • Do you want to spend less time in court and more time focusing on your children?
  • Divorce Impact
  • Grief
  • Bullying

What Is New Ways for Families®

New Ways for Families® focuses on helping people learn “new ways” of thinking, feeling and behaving, rather than focusing on the past or blaming each other. New Ways is a short-term, 4-step structured method for parents re-organizing their families after or during a separation or divorce. This method can be used at any time by any family, from the beginning of the separation process or even after the divorce.

The overall goal is to help both parents develop new ways of making decisions, communicating, and planning for children in a separation or divorce. This method may be used if you jointly agree to use this approach or if a court orders you; if you have direct contact with each other or no direct contact; and no matter the age of your child/ren.

Both parents should complete New Ways counseling at the start of their case, to prevent it from becoming high conflict and to avoid unnecessary court hearings.

Why New Ways for Families®

New Ways is intended to teach parents the skills necessary to put their children first by improving their co-parenting skills and jointly making their parenting decisions out-of-court, with the help of attorneys and/or mediators.

This 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.

How New Ways for Families® Works

9 counseling sessions

  • Six (6) Individual Counseling sessions for each parent with their own counselor: the counselor assists parents in learning and demonstrating the New Ways for Families skills, as applied to their own case.
  • Three (3) Parent-Child Counseling sessions with a third counselor: the counselor assists parents in teaching their kids the same skills, hearing the child’s concerns about the divorce or separation and explaining to the child the “new way” the family will function.
New Ways for Families® Skills:

Both parents will learn 4 basic conflict resolution skills before making big decisions.

Flexible Thinking:

  • Acknowledging that there is more than one solution to every problem
  • Turning complaints into proposals for future behavior or future agreements

Managed Emotions:

  • Controlling anger, sadness, fear, and anxiety so as to not over-react
  • Protecting the children from a parent’s extreme emotions

Moderate Behaviors:

  • Avoiding extreme actions, language, and parenting requests
  • Responding to hostile communications so as to avoid escalating the conflict

Checking Yourself:

  • Reminding yourself to use these skills during times of stress Parents will also learn how to make proposals and use the BIFF (Brief,
  • Informative, Friendly, and Firm) model for communicating via email and text.
To learn more, check out these videos by the High Conflict Institute:

Contact Austin Family Counseling TODAY for more information about how New Ways can help your family.

New Ways Counseling

Austin Therapists Specializing In New Ways for Families


austin parent coachingLora Ferguson, LPC-S
Lora Ferguson is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor and Director of Austin Family Counseling. She incorporates her experience as a parent and her years of counseling to better serve clients at Austin Family Counseling.

Email Lora

austin parent coachingKirby Sandlin Schroeder, LPC-S, LMFT-S
Kirby Sandlin Schroeder is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Supervisor, and Clinical Coordinator at Austin Family Counseling. Kirby finds that Play Therapy and Sandtray Therapy is most beneficial when working with clients.

Email Kirby