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Surviving and Thriving in Stepfamily Relationships: What Works and What Doesn't Paperback – May 30, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-0415894388 ISBN-10: 0415894387 Edition: 1st

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Surviving and Thriving in Stepfamily Relationships: What Works and What Doesn't + Becoming A Stepfamily: Patterns of Development in Remarried Families (Gestalt Institute of Cleveland Book S)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (May 30, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415894387
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415894388
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Surviving and Thriving in Stepfamily Relationships is the best clinical book ever written on the topic. Period. It is unique in recognizing the variety of forms of modern stepfamilies and their different treatment needs. And no one writes as eloquently and knowledgeably as Papernow about both the problematic patterns of stepfamilies and the rich variety of helpful interventions available to therapists. This compelling book should be part of the curriculum of every graduate training program and should be read by any therapist who works with couples and families."

—Alan S. Gurman, PhD, visiting professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and clinical professor of psychology at the Family Institute at Northwestern University

"This is a long awaited and extremely important book that is destined to be a classic. Written by a pioneer in the field who is in her fourth decade of studying and treating stepfamilies, it is a remarkable achievement filled with wisdom both for those who help stepfamilies and for those who live in them. It both authoritative, including all the relevant research, and engaging, sprinkled with clear and well-written examples and practical advice. It is also comprehensive, covering stepfamilies of different ethnicities, sexual orientations, stages of development, and suggesting interventions at a variety of levels. I recommend it to all my students and stepfamily clients."

—Richard Schwartz, PhD, developer of the Internal Family Systems model

"With Surviving and Thriving in Stepfamily Relationships Patricia Papernow has written a book that does justice to the complex issues involved here while at the same time being readable, accessible, down-to-earth, and most important, practical and chock full of what to do and how to do it in the face of problems and crises. This book is a great resource for both families and the clinical practitioners seeking to help them effectively. I highly recommend it to both groups."

—Diana Fosha, PhD, developer of AEDP (Accelerated Experiential-Dynamic Psychotherapy) and author of The Transforming Power of Affect

About the Author

Patricia L. Papernow, EdD, is a nationally recognized expert on stepfamilies, couples in "blended family" systems, and parenting after divorce. She also provides training and consultation throughout the US. Since 1981, she has been in private practice focusing on clinical supervision, and individual and couple therapy with adults.


More About the Author

I am in my fourth decade of working with, learning about, and teaching others about stepfamily relationships. I got hooked 3 and a half decades ago. I was married to a man with two kids and I needed a dissertation topic. I wrote about normal stages of development in stepfamilies, which later became my first book, Becoming a Stepfamily: Patterns of Development in Remarried Families.

At the time, I promised myself I would never ever write another book! But, two decades later, we know so much about what works and what doesn't, and so little of this information has been made available to the public, or even to clinicians, clergy, guidance counselors, pediatricians and others who want to help. My goal in this book was to provide a readable, accessible guide based not only on my own decades of clinical research, but also on the rich trove of research that had accumulated since my first book.

I am now closing in on 20 years in my second marriage. I have a 30-year old daughter from my first marriage, and 3 stepchildren in this marriage who now all have both partners and their own kids (two each for a total of six grandkids!) I am a psychologist in private practice in Hudson, MA, and an Instructor in Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. I now work primarily in the Internal Family Systems model.

I am passionate about helping others to understand and successfully navigate the often intense challenges of this family form. I love to teach. I give workshops throughout the world and will talk to anybody who wants to learn more about what works and what doesn't to create thriving stepfamily relationships.

Customer Reviews

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This is a must read by anyone who is part of a stepfamily or is working professionally with stepfamilies!
Pattie Heyman
Dr. Papernow is one of the foremost scholars on stepfamily relationships and this book represents that well.
Ron L. Deal
The book is clear, compact, and informed throughout by Dr. Papernow's great intelligence, humor and warmth.
M. Baum

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Baum on June 30, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you work with Stepfamilies or are forming one yourself, get this book. With full knowledge of current research and her own extensive clinical experience, Dr. Papernow explains why the conventional wisdom of "blending" and emphasizing the whole family is counterproductive, and how the seemingly non-intuitive practice of one-on-one time between all members is most helpful. She makes clear the central challenge inherent in Stepfamily structure: parents, stepparents, and children have very intense and different experiences, that of Stuck Insiders and Stuck Outsiders. And, she provides clear and immensely practical steps through the difficult terrain: 1. Psychoeducation 2. Interpersonal Skill Development 3. Intrapsychic Dynamic Work.
The book is clear, compact, and informed throughout by Dr. Papernow's great intelligence, humor and warmth. What was obscure becomes obvious. Useful compassion for all members, including the "difficult" ones, becomes immediately accessible.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sun Maker on September 17, 2013
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I bought this book and devoured it in three days. I am not a therapist, but I have two children with an ex-spouse who is remarried, I'm the daughter of a mother who is remarrying at the age of 76, and I was engaged briefly to a man with a child from a previous marriage. This book is excellent. It has provided me with practical and sensible suggestions for navigating the dynamics inherent to each of these scenarios. It has opened my eyes immensely and helped me to have greater awareness, understanding, and empathy for all of the parties involved in stepfamily relationships. I cannot recommend this book highly enough for anyone who is struggling in any family role touched by an intimate relationship involving "pre-existing" children.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mona Fishbane on March 26, 2014
Format: Paperback
This wise and humane guide to stepfamily relationships is sure to become a classic. Of great benefit to both stepfamilies and the therapists who work with them, Papernow's book addresses the common struggles and pitfalls of stepfamily life with a clear sense of compassion and great intelligence. A must-read for anyone dealing with stepfamily dynamics--which is most of us!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kara on March 24, 2014
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This is an excellent resource that addresses all of the common dilemmas that stepfamilies face. It's a definite must-have guide for every stepfamily and professional that works with stepfamilies! Through her 30 years of clinical experience and research, Dr Papernow shares her secrets of "Surviving and Thriving in Stepfamily Relatinships." Thank you for this wonderful, much needed book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Louis Postel on November 30, 2013
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Surviving and Thriving is making all the difference this Holiday season.

You know, before I read it I had this BELIEF that Thanksgiving could only look a certain way. It just had to be - a long table with a silver haired Dad at the head and June Cleaver running around getting stuff and stuffing and smiling all the while. Everyone just getting along so well. And the reality was - different. Ah, very different. Sad. A bummer.

But this time - miracle of miracles Thanksgiving was ok - more than ok. It was wonderful. Because I had read the book I knew that my BELIEF in one big happy Leave it to Beaver family was just that an image, a projection of what a happy holiday is supposed to look like. "

"Gee so and so wasn't there and neither was so and so," I said later to my wife, and she said "True - but you get along much better with so and so One on One, remember." And so I do. And so I will continue to thrive - enjoying one on one relationships with step relations, not going the route of insisting on all of us getting blended prematurely.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Isaac Berman on June 27, 2013
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Compassion and inspiration permeate this work, which addresses the manifold challenges of parenting stepfamilies while providing the 'tools'--- a gamut of insights, guidelines and interventions --- to meet them successfully. Dr. Papenow's clinical expertise and command of empirical evidence shine in every chapter. This book is as important as it is timely, considering that stepfamilies are rapidly outnumbering first families, while also appearing in new forms. Parents and professionals alike will benefit from (and enjoy!) reading this book. With "Surviving and Thriving" Dr.Papernow has made a major contribution to the field. It is 'a must read' for family therapists.

Isaac Berman, Ph.D
Professor Emeritus, Counseling, California State University, Los Angeles
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By P. Bonnet on June 24, 2013
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In Surviving and Thriving in Stepfamily Relationships Patricia Papernow artfully joins rigorous theoretical work based on extensive clinical experience, and the accessibility of a realist whose warmth and generous spirit can be found on each page. Those living in or contemplating forming a stepfamily, and those who work with people in stepfamilies will find this book a valuable resource. P. Bonnet,Ph.D. educator

Surviving and Thriving in Stepfamily Relationships: What Works and What Doesn't
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ellen Berman on June 17, 2013
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State of the art and state of the research on stepfamilies. Great theory and new and helpful suggestions for any family traveling this road, written by a therapist with a tremendous amount of experience and warmth. If you buy one book on stepfamilies, buy this one. Ellen Berman MD, family psychiatrist
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