With Help There is Hope

 The Three Stepfamily Tragedies

Stepfamilies are one of the fasting growing demographics in our society

Stepfamilies are also Stigmatized, Marginalized and Victimized 


Tragically, almost 50% of remarried or cohabiting families will separate within the first five years. 

Tragically, there is is a stunning lack of informed resources - educational and professional -  for
stepcouples who are seeking to stabilize stepfamily relationships

Tragically, many Canadian therapists view stepfamilies the same as first families and continue to draw on outdated clinical approaches that are not effective with stepfamilies.

These are two proven methods to reduce and eradicate the Three Stepfamily Tragedits

1) Provide professional training for therapists and family service professionals on the unique characteristics of stepfamilies and appropriate therapeutic approaches and strategies

2) Provide evidence-based workshops and therapeutic supports to educate and empower stepfamilies to map and successfully navigate their stepfamily journey.

It is with training that stepcouples will learn how to navigate the complex and confusing stepfamily journey

It is with training that counsellors and therapists will understand that there are major structural, functional, organizational, and developmental differences between stepfamilies and first families. 

It is with training that family service professionals, therapists, and practitioners will learn effective clinical approaches to stepfamily therapy.


Through the ages,  stepfamilies have been stigmatized and consider inferior and even dysfunctional.  We drank our mother's milk while learning that stepmoms are evil, wicked, uncaring and grasping.  Birthdad who took another partner were uncaring and neglectful, stepsisters are mean and hateful. 


The need for evidence-based and informed therapeutic supports for stepfamilies have been ignored. Educational opportunities for stepfamilies to prepare them for their new family structure and to support them along the journey is virtually non-existent. How is it that stepfamilies have fallen through the cracks?


Early stepfamily family researchers dealt a tremendous blow to stepfamilies. Comparing stepfamilies to traditional first families they deemed stepfamiles to be inadequate and dysfunctional family form.

Family therapists and family service practitioners accepted this assertion and by doing so, victimized
this Canadian stepfamilies

Stepfamilies continue to be victimized by the professional community who have ignored contempory research that demonstrates--unequivocally--that stepfamilies are a unique population.  A population that requires a different clinical approach in contrast to first families.   

There is not a Canadian college or university offering a comprehensive course of studies on the critical developmental, structural, functional and organizational differences that characterize stepfamilies. Graduates are working with stepfamilies lack the critical knowledge and skill set to required for successful stepfamily therapy.


Stepfamilies do NOT blend they collide and crash.


Click here to learn more about and to register for this evidence-based two-day intensive professional seminar.

From Intake to Integration: 

A Clinical Framework for Stepfamly Therapy


Dianne Martin, BSW, RSW, Certified Stepfamily Counsellor & Trainer

February 4, 2017





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