Stepfamily Therapy: A 10-Step Clinical Approach

Pages: 291
Item #: 4317274
ISBN: 978-1-4338-1009-1
List Price: $49.95
Member/Affiliate Price: $39.95
Copyright: 2012
Format: Hardcover
Availability: In Stock
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For individuals in the U.S. & U.S. territories


Over the last 30 years, systemic approaches to family therapy have been largely successful at treating even the most intractable problems in family functioning. However, stepfamilies have long proven a particular challenge for family therapists. Recent research has confirmed that, given their unique dynamics, stepfamilies are vulnerable in a way that is distinct from typical "first-families," leaving them often resistant to traditional family therapy techniques.

In this book, Scott Browning and Elise Artelt integrate clinically validated interventions within an original theoretical framework for stepfamily therapy. They envision the stepfamily as comprised of subsystems, a series of overlapping relationships between individuals. This key insight enables clinicians to divide the stepfamily into more manageable units and plan treatment accordingly.

The authors guide readers through their 10-step model, emphasizing techniques that range from the conceptual — determining the unique structure of the stepfamily to help guide treatment — to more concrete interventions, from identifying and encouraging empathy, to identifying and challenging unhelpful beliefs, and assisting in work with co-parents. The importance of extended family members is stressed, as is the necessity of understanding and valuing racial, ethnic, and sexual diversity within stepfamilies. The ultimate goal is positive communication between family members, with subsystems that are fully integrated into a functioning and happy stepfamily.

As the first full, length investigation of clinical treatment with this important but underserved population, Stepfamily Therapy is a landmark publication in the field.

Table of Contents



  1. The Evolution of the Stepfamily Field
  2. Why Are Some Stepfamilies Vulnerable?
  3. Stepfamily Therapy: The 10 Steps
  4. The Simple Stepfather Family
  5. The Simple Stepmother Family
  6. The Complex Stepfamily
  7. The Extended Family in a Stepfamily
  8. Stepfamily Diversity



About the Authors

Author Bios

Scott W. Browning, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Professional Psychology at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia. He received his master's degree from Boston University, and his doctorate from the California School of Professional Psychology, Berkeley. Dr. Browning completed his postdoctoral internsip at Philadelphia child Guidance Clinic. He is a noted authority on psychological treatment with stepfamilies.

As a scholar, teacher, and clinician, Dr. Browning has explored the intricacies of treating stepfamilies and has provided advanced training in the treatment of stepfamilies to clinicians and graduate students both nationally and abroad. He is the author of numerous chapters and articles on the topics of stepfamilies, empathy, codependency and family therapy training practices.

Elise Artelt is a licensed marriage and family therapist and works for Carson Valley Children's Aid, a school and community mental health agency with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. She is currently assigned to work in schools as a student assistance program counselor doing group and individual counseling. She received her MEd from Penn State University in secondary dchool guidance and her MS in counseling psychology from Chestnut Hill College.

Her interest in stepfamily work began with her experience as a stepgrandchild and as a stepmother with three stepchildren and four stepgrandchildren. She also has a daughter, Maya. Ms. Artelt has a private practice in Wayne, Pennsylvania, specializing in stepfamily therapy.