Loading Events

(New) Online Training – It’s Not the Brady Bunch: Understanding the (Big) Challenges of “Blended Families”

June 25 Login to Zoom.com 8:30am ; Training 8:45am-4:00pm (EDT) $169, 6 CEUs Presenter: Dr. Patricia Papernow, EdD Psychology Zoom.us, MD + Google Map

“Blended families” begin with such high hopes. However, all too often the adults find themselves facing unhappy “resistant” children, mired in constant painful ruptures over parenting issues, disagreeing about everything from basic values to the “appropriate” cost of a pair of sneakers and caught in tangles with ex-spouses. The longing captured in the language of “blended families” can add layers of shame to dashed hopes. Meanwhile children often feel quite misunderstood and alone.

The intensity and complexity of the issues can be daunting for even experienced clinicians. Unfortunately, using a first-time family map can be misleading, frustrating, and even destructive. The good news is that forty years of research and clinical work tell us a lot about how to help. Sadly, despite the fact that 42% of Americans have a close stepfamily relationship, few clinical programs provide even the most basic training.

Whether you work with individuals, couples, families, or with adults or with children, this workshop will help you give you solid practical guidance about what works and what doesn’t to help stepfamily members meet their challenges. You’ll learn about a clinical framework that integrates a wide variety of therapeutic modalities: Psychoeducational, interpersonal, and intrapsychic/family-of-origin. You’ll leave with a clear map of this territory, a full box of practical tools for sowing realistic hope, softening conflict, and forging connection, as well as a boat load of great handouts.

The Ferentz Institute, Inc. is an approved sponsor of the Maryland Board of Social Work Examiners for continuing education credits for licensed social workers in Maryland. CEU approval for all trainings is also granted to Psychologists, LCPC’s and MFT’s and approved by the Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists and the Board of Examiners for Psychologists in Maryland. Reciprocity has also been granted for clinicians in Washington, DC, Virginia, West Virginia, Indiana, Georgia, and Massachusetts. The Institute also maintains full responsibility for all programming.
In order to provide Category 1 CEUs for all of our trainings, the Maryland Board of Social Work Examiners requires online workshops to be live, interactive, and experienced in real time. Therefore, none of our trainings are recorded for later viewing.


Discover How to Get $30 Off Your Workshop

Bring a Friend to The Ferentz Institute

To thank you for your interest in The Ferentz Institute, we are delighted to offer you a very special gift! When you register for a workshop along with a colleague, you will both receive $30.00 off the regular tuition price of $169.00.  You and your friend DO NOT necessarily have to sign up for the same class.

To take advantage of this offer, YOU must register yourself and your friend at the same time. ***You’ll also need to enter discount code MYFRIEND at checkout to apply the discount to the workshop selections.

For guidelines and instructions on how to get your discount, click here. ➮

Learning Objectives

  • Describe several “easy wrong turns” therapists make in working with stepfamily members.
  • Describe what works for parenting, stepparenting, and discipline in stepfamilies.
  • Recognize stepfamily challenges for kids, parents, stepparents, and ex-spouses
  • Gain practical tools for meeting stepfamily challenges on three different levels:
    • Psychoeducational, interpersonal, and intrapsychic


8:45 – 9:40

  • Introduction
    • Meet Gary and Claire
    • The numbers
  • Internal Family Systems 101
  • How Stepfamilies are Different
  • Stepfamilies Come in Many Forms
  • The Five Challenges
  • Three Levels of Clinical Work
    • Psychoeducational
    • Interpersonal
    • Intrapsychic

9:40 – 10:00

  • Meeting the Challenges
  • First Challenge: Insider/outsider positions are intense. And they are “stuck.”
    • Understanding insider/outsider challenges

10:00 – 10:10            BREAK

10:10 – 10:35

    • Meeting insider/outsider challenges: Practical steps on three levels

10:35 – 10:55

  • Demonstration

10:55 – 11:05              BREAK

11:05 – 11:20

  • Discussion and Questions

11:20 – 12:15 pm

  • Second Challenge: Children struggle with losses, loyalty binds, and change.
    • Understanding children’s challenges
    • Meeting children’s challenges: Practical steps on three levels

12:15 – 1:15 pm        LUNCH

1:15 – 1:30  pm

  • Discussion and Questions

1:30 – 2:00 pm

  • Third Challenge: Parenting tasks divide parents and stepparents
    • Understanding the challenges of parenting and stepparenting
    • Best practices for parenting, stepparenting, and discipline in stepfamilies

2:00 – 2:10 pm     BREAK

2:10 – 2:25

  • Fourth Challenge: Building a new stepfamily culture while respecting already-established cultures.
    • Understanding the challenge of building a sense of “we” in the presence of “us and them”
    • 3 levels of help for what works (and doesn’t) to build a new stepfamily culture

2:25 – 2:45 pm

  • Fifth Challenge: Ex-spouses are a permanent part of the family
    • Understanding the challenge
    • 3 levels of help for meeting the challenges of parenting across households

2:45 – 2:55 pm

  • Later-life Recouplers
    • The fantasy (“The dog is dead the kids are gone and it’s just us.”) vs. reality
    • Fraught father-daughter-new partner dynamics

2:55 – 3:05 pm     BREAK

3:05 – 3:35 pm

  • Demonstration and Discussion

3:35 – 3:45 pm

    • Stages of development in stepfamily relationships
    • Claire and Sam as a mature thriving stepfamily

3:45 – 4:00 pm

Photo of mother and father with stepson and stepdaughter