ABFT Special Topics Series

What Works and What Doesn’t for Kids (and Adults) in “Blended Families”

FREE 90-min Live Webinar
January 10, 2024
2pm-3:30pm Eastern Standard Time

Patricia L. Papernow, Ed.D
Barbara Lavrysen
Tara Santens
Leen Van Vlierberghe

*Option to receive CEs from APA/ASWB ($40 CE fee)

“Blended families” come together with big hopes and fervent wishes for a loving new family. However, the realities of attachment dynamics in a stepfamily can create constant painful ruptures – within the couple, between stepparents and stepchildren, between parents and their children, and between ex-spouses. The longing captured in the language of “blended families” all too often adds layers of shame to dashed hopes. All of this can have a powerful impact on children in stepfamilies.

This webinar will help you understand the fundamental differences between a stepfamily and a first-partner family. We’ll look at the (big!) challenges of parenting, stepparenting, and discipline in stepfamilies. We’ll share the guidance from five decades of research and clinical practice for what works, and what doesn’t, for building healthy stepfamily relationships. Along the way, we’ll point out some “easy wrong turns” that often get stepfamilies (and those who want to help) in trouble.

You’ll learn about a clinical framework that integrates a wide variety of therapeutic modalities into three levels of clinical work: Psychoeducational, interpersonal and intrapsychic/family-of-origin. We’ll then explore how this information can be incorporated into the ABFT model.

The target audience for this webinar includes Counselors, Couple and Family Therapists, Mental Health Professionals, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Psychotherapists, Social Workers and school personnel.

  • List some of the fundamental differences between stepfamilies and first-time families.
  • Describe key challenges stepfamilies create for children and their families.
  • Describe concrete, evidence-informed strategies to meet stepfamily challenges.

Patricia L. Papernow, Ed.D., is a psychologist in Hudson, MA entering her fifth decade working with, learning about, and teaching about “blended families.” She has received the Award for Distinguished Contribution to Family Psychology (APA Couple and Family Division). She is the author of the classic books in the field plus multiple articles and book chapters on stepfamilies. She is Director of Institute for Stepfamily Education, and Senior Training Faculty at National Stepfamily Resource Center.

Barbara Lavrysen is a clinical psychologist, couple and family therapist, trainer and supervisor at Context UPC KU Leuven (Belgium). She is also a staff member of the Clinical Psychology unit, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, KU Leuven (Belgium). She coordinates the Postgraduate Training Program in Couples, Family and Systems Therapy at KU Leuven (Belgium). Clinical interests: (multi) family therapy, stepfamilies

Tara Santens graduated as clinical orthopedagogue and obtained a doctoral degree at the Family and Special Education Research Unit at the University of Leuven. As part of Prof. Dr. Guy Bosmans’ Learn2Trust lab, she got involved in research on parent-child attachment relationships and on the implementation and dissemination of Attachment-Based Family Therapy (ABFT) in the Flemish child welfare system. Tara spent a year in Philadelphia (USA) where she was trained in ABFT at Drexel University by ABFT developers Prof. Dr. Guy Diamond and Dr. Suzanne Levy. She is currently active as coordinator, trainer and supervisor within the ABFT Belgium training center at KU Leuven , and meets families for ABFT in her private practice. Being a stepmom herself, she has a special affinity for working with stepfamilies.

Leen Van Vlierberghe is a clinical child psychologist and family therapist, and she obtained a doctoral degree in developmental psychopathology. She worked in a child psychiatry unit with preschoolers and their families, and in the middle childhood team of an outpatient mental health care center. The past few years she worked as a post-doc reseracher in Guy Bosmans’ Learn2Trust lab at KULeuven (Belgium) where she helped to develop Middle Childhood Attachment-based Family Therapy (MCABFT), an adaptation of ABFT for 8 to 12 year old children and their families.

This live webinar will take place over Zoom. 

Please let us know if you have any disability or other special needs so that we can ensure that your needs will be fully met.

This program is being offered for the following contact hours of continuing education: 1.5 hours

CE Certificate Fees
$40 per certificate for APA or ASWB CEs

This training is co-sponsored by US Journal Training.

US Journal Training is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor Continuing Education for psychologists. US Journal Training maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

U.S. Journal Training #1143 is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) Program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. U.S. Journal Training maintains responsibility for the program. ACE approval period: 12/5/22-12/5/25.