Alejandra Gutierrez, LCSW

What is a “blended” family?

Defining Blended Families

Blended family is a term therapists throw around a lot. Many use this term but it can be helpful to define everything so we can use a common language. Blended families refer to families in which one or more of the members have a child from a previous relationship or partner. Blended families introduced the concept of Step parents and cover the parent, step parent, and step child dynamic.

This particular family dynamic poses unique challenges to achieve wellness and balance in their family. A lot of family norms and attachments are based off of a 2 parent “intact” family. The truth is more recently I’ve seen more clients who don’t fall into that “traditional” family than not. In fact, we developed FWC to step into the gap to provide appropriate and tailored care for all the diverse family presentations. We believe thriving families come in all shapes and sizes.

Types of Blended Families

The dynamic in a blended family can vary immensely. One of the biggest factors for determining outcome, and the factor that guides our treatment is the age of the child when the step parent is involved. When you think of blended families you might think of presenting for traditional family counseling. At FWC we work to support every member in this family in various modalities.

Individual Therapy for Blended Families and Step Parents

Individual therapy for step parents can help an individual work through the unique challenges of becoming a bonus parent. At times there can be a difficult ex, a child who struggles to bond, or difficulty transitioning into the role of parent. We also see re-coupled parents and step parents presenting with depression, anxiety, isolation/loneliness, and work life balance. Sometimes it’s not the family that brings you into therapy. However, your own healing will have a ripple affect at home. At FWC, we want the work we do to equip you to promote wellness at home for every member of your family.

Couples Therapy for Blended Families, Step parents, Remarriage.

Couples therapy for “blended” families is for remarried couples with kids, dating with kids, and premarital counseling when children are involved. I’ve had individuals present to counseling who really need support with their partner. You don’t need to be married to pursue couples counseling. In fact, couples that present for support during the dating stage are able to have a much smoother transition into a healthy, thriving family life that creates a beneficial environment for you and the children. Step parenting and remarriage is hard! Don’t feel like you need to figure it all out on your own. Support can set you up to move forward with confidence and peace.

Resources

I recommend that all clients, even those who pursue therapy, be intentional about locating resources. One of my favorite books to recommend is Building Love Together in Blended Families. FWC also provided access to a Free Modern Family Wellness Checklist that provides concrete steps to begin improving and healing your family dynamic.