Beyond Conflict: Become a Coparenting Team
High Conflict Parent Education Classes

Overview of Course

This 27-hour course is taught to six couples over the course of nine consecutive weeks, one evening per week, between 6 pm and 9 pm. Both parents attend together so that they may learn together. Dinner is served at each class and participants must be on time. Class does not start until all participants are present.

The course is designed to be taught by a lawyer and a mental health professional who work together to provide parents with invaluable insight about inter-parental conflict and the impact that it has on children's brain development, physical and emotional health and lifelong development.

Parents will learn practical listening, communication, emotional regulation and mindfulness skills that they can use daily to navigate their new relationship as separated parents.

The program, which begins on September 24th, 2018, will be taught by Kathryn d'Artois, LL.B., C.S. (Family Law), AccFM, FDRP Med Arb PC (FDRIO) and Dr. Phil Ritchie, C. Psych.

Participants will learn about:

  • children's brain development and how it is impacted by adversity, including inter-parental conflict
  • how to identify and regulate their emotions
  • how to control impulsive behaviours
  • how to make child-focussed parenting decisions
  • how to practice mindfulness
  • effective listening
  • effective communication skills
  • skills that will change how they interact with each other so that their children have positive childhood memories and don't get caught in the middle

Peer support is a key component to the course's success. Participants teach and learn from one another based on their own experiences.

To be eligible for course registration, participants require a court order which may be made on consent. All potential participants will be screened by the course facilitators for suitability.

Participants who successfully complete the course work will receive a Certificate of Completion. Participants who miss classes without good reason or who do not make sufficient progress during the course may fail the course and be denied a Certificate of Completion.

Instructor Biographies

Kathryn d'artois.jpg

Kathryn d'Artois

Kathryn d'Artois was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1988 and has more than 30 years of experience working with separated families as a lawyer, mediator, arbitrator and parenting coordinator. Her full-time, busy practice is devoted exclusively to helping families move forward after separation.

Kathryn maintains high professional standards and is:

  • Certified as a Specialist in Family Law by the Law Society of Ontario
  • Accredited as a Family Mediator by the Ontario Association for Family Mediation
  • Certified as a Specialist in Family Mediation, Family Arbitration and Parenting Coordination by the Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario

Throughout her career, Kathryn has pursued extensive training in the area of high-conflict, child resistance to post-separation contact, mediation, arbitration and parenting coordination. She routinely presents papers at family law conferences and teaches a variety of workshops to legal and mental health professionals. She currently sits on the Law Society of Ontario Certified Specialist Board.

With a strong commitment to helping families navigate the often significant challenges which they encounter while negotiating a resolution of parenting, child support, spousal support and property issues in an informed, respectful and cost-effective way, Kathryn uses a combination of her legal knowledge, empathy, humour and common sense to facilitate discussions and empower clients. Her primary objectives are to ensure that children's needs are identified, respected, valued and incorporated into settlements and that settlements are fair to both parties.

Phil's photo.jpg

Dr. Phil Ritchie

Dr. Phil Ritchie is a psychologist who completed his PhD at Queen's University.  He worked for 17 years at the Ottawa Carleton District School Board where his duties included clinical lead of the Tragic Events Response Team.  

In 2008, he began working at CHEO and currently is a member of the DBT Team, a member of the Child Protection Review Committee, and sees inpatients and outpatients as part of the health psychology team.  Phil has maintained a private practice since 1993 where he works with youth and adults to address a variety of issues, including anxiety, stress, trauma, grief & loss and interpersonal relationships.

Phil has extensive experience in responding to tragic events including being seconded by Health Canada to Halifax following the crash of Swissair Ft 111, seconded by City of Ottawa following the OC Transpo shootings, and seconded by an American NGO to Sri Lanka following the tsunami.  

Phil has consulted to the City of Ottawa and National Defence regarding disaster preparedness and response to critical incidents.  

Phil currently consults to the Ottawa Police Services and The RCMP Tactical Teams / Negotiators, lectures at the Canadian Police College and has also presented at the RCMP training Depot Division (Regina). He is past president for the Society for Police and Criminal Psychology and is a Board member of the Youth Services Bureau. 

Course Information

Kathryn d'Artois, LL.B., C.S. (Family Law), AccFM, FDRP Med Arb PC (FDRIO)
• Dr. Phil Ritchie, C. Psych.
Monday, September 24th, 2018 — Monday, November 26th, 2018
*No class will be held on Monday, October 8th, 2018 (Thanksgiving)
Loblaws College Square (private room)
$1,000 + HST
*A receipt for psychological services will be provided for $500 (1/2 of total cost)

Registration Process

If you and your coparent are interested in attending this workshop, please download and complete the attached application form and send it to or register online below.