609 – The Challenges of Becoming a Stepfamily

Papernow, Patricia 2016
The Do’s and Don’ts

Although 42 percent of Americans have a close stepfamily relationship, many therapists still don’t appreciate the intense challenges of creating a new family organization. Parents and stepparents often find themselves in conflict over discipline, grappling with differences in family cultures, and tangling with ex-spouses. We see children overwhelmed with losses and loyalties who are struggling with all the changes in their lives. This workshop will explore three levels of interventions to address these challenges:

  • Psychoeducational interventions that offer proven information about what works and doesn’t work for surviving stress and building thriving relationships
  • Skill-building interventions that help clients learn how and when to say difficult things to each other
  • Intrapsychic interventions that explore how old family of origin issues can be triggered by the stresses of stepfamily life

Patricia Papernow, EdD, has worked as a trainer, consultant, and therapist with stepfamily relationships for more than 30 years. She’s the director of the Institute for Stepfamily Education and the author of the award-winning books Surviving and Thriving in Stepfamily Relationships and Becoming a Stepfamily.

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