Shawn J. Briley, LCSW
Thank you for visiting New Normal Family™. I invite you to explore this site, and I hope you are encouraged as you realize that you are in good company! You are the New Normal! Single parents, remarried parents, stepparents, grandparents and all other “non-traditional” parents are an essential part of the fabric of our modern society. You cherish your families and you promote family values.
When I first became divorced, I was worried that my family was somehow forever “damaged.” I had gone back to school, and I was taking classes like “Family Systems Theory” and “Early Childhood Development.” I was not reassured by what I was learning there. In fact, the more I was exposed to the academic perspective of divorce and single parenthood, the more worried I became.
But I got the degree (a Bachelor’s in Social Science from Washington State University), and went on to the University of Montana, where I got my Master’s Degree in Social Work. After graduate school, I did two years of supervised clinical training to eventually get my Clinical Licence. I am a trained mediator, and I have specialized in family mediation. I have also been on the Idaho Supreme Court list of Domestic Violence and Anger Evaluation. I helped develop and implement a program in the rural community where I live to provide education to parents who were divorcing or going through custody litigation – I have taught this workshop for almost seven years. I am an expert witness for the courts, and I conduct parenting evaluations to assist the court in making decisions about custody.
In recent years, I have focused my practice on helping parents and families (like mine) who do not fall into the “traditional” family model. And you know what? I don’t believe what they tried to tell me in school. Families like ours are not broken! I have been privileged to work with hundreds of divorced and single parents as they have developed their strengths and nurtured their goals to create happy, loving homes and families.
Every family is unique, and every family faces challenges. Sometimes families have to cope with a family member who has an illness, or maybe they struggle with the stress of a layoff or job loss. A geographical move can also be very stressful. Some families have to cope with the many changes and emotional challenges that accompany a divorce. The point is, all families face difficulties from time to time.
Check out the articles and links on the New Normal Family website for more helpful resources and insights, and feel free to contact us with your comments, suggestions, and ideas.
Keep up the Good Work! — Shawn Briley, LCSW