Founder & Executive Director
Dianne Martin

Dianne Martin

Dianne Martin, Certified Stepfamily Counsellor received her Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of Calgary. 

Prior to moving into private practice supporting stepfamilies, Dianne worked with families across Canada and in the UK.  During her career, she gained experience as a front line social worker and Team Leader, and Program Consultant in foster care, adoption, and child protection programs.

In her personal life, Dianne gained an intimate understanding of the rewards and challenges first as a single parent then as a stepparent.  Drawing on this wealth of personal and professional experience, Martin designed and developed unique counselling and  education programs, and services for stepfamilies, single parents and family service professionals.

As a writer, bloggers, educator, social worker, and advocate,  Dianne continues to highlight the needs of stepfamilies, single parents, and the professionals who support them.

Dianne has presented at the following conferences.

  • 2016 Disaster Psychosocial Conference - Children In Disasters
  • 2016 BCAMI Symposium - Mediating with Stepfamilies:  Understanding Their Uniqueness
  • BC Associations of Social Workers 2016 Conference - Stepfamilies:  Understand Their Uniqueness

In 2015 Dianne began to research, design and develop evidence-based programs for family service agencies. These programs were customized to meet the staff development needs of the organizations.

 In 2017, she developed a two-day intensive educational program for family service professionals.

From Intake to Integration:  A Clinical Framework for Stepfamily Therapy. 

The goal of the program is to provide vital information to family therapists, counsellors, social workers, and mediators about the unique developmental processes, structure, dynamics and issues characteristic of stepfamilies.

This was the first comprehensive educational program for family service professionals to be offered in Canada.

Click HERE for additional information


Stepfamilies & Traditional Families:  Is there a difference? Family Magazine Spring/Summer 2013

Sticks, Stones, & Stepsiblings - StepMom Magazine, May, 2013

Who Comes First?  My Child or My Partner?  - StepMom Magazine, January 2013

The Color of Love - StepMom Magazine, Februry 2013

The Stepmom's Tool Kit - StepMom Magazine, March 2013

Single & Parenting:  A Voyage of Discovery - Nanaimo Family Magazine, Spring 2009


Professional Associations

  • British Columbia Association of Social Workers - current
  • British Columbia College of Social Workers until 2017
  • Canadian Association of Social Workers - current
  • International Federation of Social Workers - current


Professional Training & Seminars

  • 2016 BCAMI Symposium - May 30 -31, 2016
  • 2016 Disaster Psychosocial Conference - March 22-23, 2016
  • BC Association of Social Workers - November 4-5, 2016
  • Introduction to Emergency Social Services - Janury 22, 2013
  • Leaders to Luminaries - April 2012
  • Foundations of Cybercouneslling - March 2012
  • Bullying:  The Golden Rule Solution - March 2012
  • BCASW Conf. Guided By Purpose, Inspired By Possibility - 2011
  • Stepfamily Foundation Certified Counsellor - 2009
  • Disenfranched Grief:  Recognizing Hidden Sorrow, Dr Doka, 2008
  • Solution Focused Brief Therapy - 2004
  • Certified Trainer & Train-the-Trainer - 1990

Over the years, Dianne has attended numerous in-service workshops, seminars, and professional conferences


1937 - 2016

David Martin

It is with deep sorrow that we announce that David passed away May 14, 2016 following a courageous battle with cancer. 

David combined his knowledge of parenting and a stepparenting with his professional experience working with adult and juvenile offenders. He thoughtful ideas and comments guided the development of stepparenting workshops, information sessions, and community presentations. His contributions will be forever missed.

Dianne & David Martin

Dianne and David Martin married and merged their two families over thirty years ago. They work closely together both as a personal and professional team.

Dianne and David quickly learned, sometimes painfully, that their new stepfamily was distinctively different from traditional families and found the stepfamily journey was fraught with unexpected twists and turns.

Dianne and David understand the complexities and challenges that often overwhelm step and single parent families. Together they have developed a dynamic array of programs for stepfamilies and single parents planning to remarry.

The FAQ about Stepfamilies offers information that empowers stepfamilies navigate their unique journey, and will also be of interest to stepdating couples, looking for ideas before they merge their families. 

Vancouver Island, BC

The Canadian Stepfamily Institute is located in the city of Nanaimo on beautiful Vancouver Island, BC.

Your Canadian location will not limit access to programs and services.  We are pleased to provide  e-counselling and professional development programs including using email, telecounselling, and video (Skype) programs.

Training workshops can be organized for your organization and community - just give us a call to discuss your needs

University of Calgary
Stepfamily Certification
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