Expired Meeting the (Big) Challenges of “Blended Families”: Rupture and Repair Up Close and Personal

Although “blended families” come together with big hopes and fervent wishes for a loving new family, the realities of stepfamily living can create constant painful ruptures–within the couple, between stepparents and stepchildren, between parents and their children, and between ex-spouses. The longing captured in the language of “blended families” all too often adds layers of shame to dashed hopes. In fact, stepfamilies are a fundamentally different family form that creates unique and often intense challenges for all involved. Much of what works (and what doesn’t) to meet these challenges is quite different from a first-partner family. Indeed, using first-time family models as clinical guides not only be misleading but all too often destructive.

Whether you work with couples or families, with individual adults or with kids, this workshop will help you recognize the major challenges all stepfamilies face, introduce you to a 3-level clinical framework for meeting those challenges, and point out some “easy wrong turns”. The impacts of factors such as race, gender and sexual orientation on stepfamily relationships will also be explored. Using case examples and clinical demonstration, therapists will take away immediately applicable tools for softening conflict, sowing realistic hope, providing evidence-based guidance, and forging connection.

Learning Objectives:

  • To list some of the ways that stepfamilies differ from first-time families
  • To describe key stepfamily challenges
  • To list concrete, evidence-informed strategies to meet stepfamily challenges


Patricia Papernow, EdD is an internationally recognized expert on stepfamilies. Her work integrates a wide variety of theoretical models and is informed by over four decades of clinical practice combined with a deep understanding of the research. The recipient of the award for Distinguished Contribution to Family Psychology from the APA Society for Couple and Family Psychology, Dr. Papernow is the author of several classic books in the field, including Surviving and Thriving in Stepfamily Relationships: What Works and What Doesn’t, and, with Karen Bonnell, The Stepfamily Handbook: From Dating, to Getting Serious to Forming a “Blended Family”. In addition, she has authored dozens of articles and book chapters on this topic. Dr. Papernow is a psychologist in Hudson, MA.

Return to Workshops

  • June 10, 2022
    10:00 am - 1:00 pm

Patricia Papernow, EdD

3 CE Contact Hours

Location:   Online Event


A link will be emailed to you one day before the event. Online events are held in Eastern Standard Time (ET).

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