NP0019 Parenting Skills: All You Need to Help Families Today

This blog focuses on discussion regarding the course NP0019 Parenting Skills: All You Need to Help Families Today.

Attachment Issues in Stepfamilies with Patricia Papernow


Parenting Skills: NP0019 – Session 3

Explore the distinct challenges to attachment and intimacy that the stepfamily structure often creates. Patricia Papernow, who’s worked as a trainer, consultant, and therapist with stepfamily relationships, will cover practical strategies for helping clients form healthy stepfamily relationships.

After you hear this presentation, please take a few minutes to comment about what you found most interesting or relevant, to ask any questions you have of the presenter or your colleagues, or to share any experiences. As always, if you ever have any technical questions, please feel free to email support@psychotherapynetworker.org and our Support Team will help you.

05.16.2012   Posted In: NP0019 Parenting Skills: All You Need to Help Families Today   By Psychotherapy Networker
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  • 0 avatar Lora Griff 05.16.2012 12:26
    Can you discuss the difference in stepfamilies when there is a case a divorce vs. the death of a parent.
    • Not available avatar Patricia Papernow 05.18.2012 23:22
      Hi Lora,
      That's a great question.I would love to hear some more about anything specific you're especially wondering about. But here are some thoughts. There are a lot of similarities and some differences. Sometimes when there has been a death, for the adults imagine that they can go on "as if" they are a first=time family. In fact parents remain rooted in children's beings, whether they are dead or alive, and in fact, whether they are good parents or not so good. Children have just lost a parent, and now the remaining parent has fallen in love--easy for that to feel like a double loss for kids, rather than a gain. parents retain discipline. Sometimes when a parent has died or disappeared, children's loyalty binds are actually more intense--if I open to my stepparent, I will lose any shred of what I have left of my parent.
      Parents and stepparents can help by continuing to talk about the parent who has died, helping kids tell stories about that parent, keeping pictures around, etc. This can be difficult for stepparents, who really need the support of their partners to be present for all this.

  • Not available avatar Amy Scott 05.16.2012 13:50
    Thank you, Patricia. I find it very helpful to hear you speak about working with stepfamilies. Years ago I attended the Step Family Association training for mental health practitioners. I also ran a group for stepcouples under its umbrella for many years. Any chance of resurrecting the organization? Or the training? It was extremely useful and far reaching to the communities.
    • Not available avatar Patricia Papernow 05.18.2012 23:22
      Dear Amy, The Stepfamily Association of America was a wonderful network of support groups. It ran out of money and was subsumed by the National Stepfamily Resource Center, which is located at Auburn University in Alabama. Sadly, there are legal restrictions that go with being part of the university. There is no way, apparently, for NSRC to legally sponsor support groups. NSRC does have a great web site with lots of good info, and every year and a half or so, we do a training for therapists and other helping professionals. But I agree, so sad to lose the network of support groups that SAA provided..
  • Not available avatar suzanne 05.21.2012 14:30
    Thank you for your wonderful presentation. Do you ever disclose your own situation with your clients (clinical purposes obviously?)
  • Not available avatar Joy Lang 05.22.2012 11:19
    Thank you so much Patricia for this helpful presentation. I see a lot of stepfamilies in my practice, in addition to being a stepmother. You shared a lot of wisdom and very concrete things that I can use in my practice. I am so grateful for that! I really appreciated your reminder that I have to be able to hold compassion for all of the "players" and not just get stuck in one side of the story.
    Thanks again for a wonderful presentation!
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