Stepfamilies:Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Following is the first post for a new subject on this blog.  It relates to stepfamilies as this issue is dealt with in the book Stepfamilies:Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership  by: Mala S. Burt, M.S.W. and Roger B, Burt, Ph.D.

Stepfamilies: This type of family represents an ongoing challenge too often overlooked until the remarried couple and their children find they must face it.  But how they can respond represents a whole series of challenges.

Forty seven years ago my wife, Mala, and I were married.  Innocently we rejoiced in our love and brought together our four children in a second marriage for both of us.  While most marriages are innocent in many ways, the stepfamily brings a monumental challenge as the members of this new family must face such things as dealing with the death of a spouse, the death of a parent or the departure of a parent through divorce.  It is difficult to actually list the form of the number of challenges.  And the couple coming together is typically ill-prepared for what is to lie before them. Of course the chidren are monumentally challenged as well.  Left to innocence the challenges are magnified.

My wife and I were right there among the innocent.  We each brought two children from former marriages and custody of all four in various forms.  I was a clinical psychologist and began the marriage with an assumption of knowledge embedded in naivete.  With what we saw at once, we assumed we were to face challenge but were terribly unprepared.

By great good fortune we became acquainted with Emily and John Visher who were experienced national experts.  Generously they brought us in to be experts with them and we embarked on a national education campaign.  The  Vishers were impressive experts and gave us profound help. I  was especially grateful because as a doctoral level psychologist I had thought I was better prepared to work with stepfamilies than I was.  The Vishers brought us along and I will be eternally grateful.

The fact of the matter is that the clinical field of stepfamilies is complex and challenging and will remain so.  My concern is that it has fallen out of the justified concern and a focus arena because the complexity and difficulties remain widespread and great challenges may too often go unrecognized.

Beginning now I am going to include ongoing items on this blog  My wife wrote a comprehensive and detailed book called Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership – A Normalizing Model by Mala S, Burt, M.S.W. and Roger B. Burt, Ph. D. with a foreword by Emily S. Visher, Ph.D. and John S. Visher, M.D. was included.

You can expect to see frequent posts regarding stepfamilies on the Cuspof


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