224 – Meeting the Challenges of Stepfamily Life

Strategies for Surviving and Thriving
Patricia Papernow

Stepfamilies begin with such high hopes, but all too often they find themselves stuck in toxic cycles of tension and conflict. Although 42 percent of Americans have a close stepfamily relationship, few therapists ever receive solid training in helping their clients in stepfamilies to meet their intense challenges. Unsure of how to work out differences in family cultures or tangles with ex-spouses, parents and stepparents often make costly mistakes involving the needs of children overwhelmed with losses, loyalties, and the changes in their lives. In this workshop, you’ll examine:

  • Psychoeducational interventions that offer proven information about what works and doesn’t work for surviving the stressors and building thriving relationships in stepfamilies
  • 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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