Stepfamilies : A Multi-Dimensional Perspective book cover
1st Edition

A Multi-Dimensional Perspective

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ISBN 9780789002815
Published September 28, 1998 by Routledge
274 Pages

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Book Description

Combining theoretical, empirical, and clinical knowledge, Stepfamilies: A Multi-Dimensional Perspective contains recent research and information that will help mental health practitioners, family therapists, psychologists, and counselors understand the characteristics, dynamics, needs, and issues of nonclinical stepfamilies. Based on direct experiences with diverse types of stepfamilies, this book gives you new guidelines and strategies that will enable you to offer more successful sessions to your clients and improve your effectiveness as a practitioner.

Developed to give you a more realistic understanding of stepfamilies, this text helps you avoid the stereotypes and false perceptions that often surround stepfamilies. Offering methods and strategies aimed at making your clients feel comfortable about themselves and their situations, Stepfamilies: A Multi-Dimensional Perspective examines several aspects of these families that you need to know in order to improve your effectiveness with them, including:

  • the definition and description of stepfamilies and recognizing historical and social changes in the stepfamily structure
  • critical reviews on the present knowledge of stepfamilies
  • describing the complexity of family structure, the ambiguity of boundaries and roles, and the struggle with the diverse phases of the life cycle
  • discussing key issues for stepfamilies, such as past orientation and acceptance/rejection of differences from non-stepfamilies and focal subsystems
  • the profile, characteristics, and case studies of an innovative typology of stepfamilies that includes integrated families, invented families, and imported families
  • aspects of ethnically and culturally different stepfamilies, including American stepfamilies, Israeli stepfamilies, and immigrant stepfamilies from the former Soviet Union
  • social perceptions and attitudes of stepfamilies in schools, social services, community organizations, the media, and with the law

    Offering case studies and data on a variety of families and situations, Stepfamilies: A Multi-Dimensional Perspective will show you that all stepfamilies are not the same and cannot be helped by just one practice method. Complete with principles and instruments to assess patients and the success of sessions, Stepfamilies: A Multi-Dimensional Perspective works to promote an understanding of stepfamilies that will result in effective and positive therapy for your clients.

Table of Contents

Contents Acknowledgments

  • Foreword
  • Part I: The Nature and History of Stepfamilies
  • Introduction: The Changing Context of Stepfamilies
  • Chapter 1. Introduction: The Changing Context of Stepfamilies
  • Chapter 2. Stepfamilies: Who Are They?
  •  What Is a Stepfamily? How Many Stepfamilies Are There?
  • A Short History of Stepfamilies
  • What Do We Know About Stepfamilies? A Critical Review of Empirical and Clinical Knowledge
  • Summary
  • Chapter 3. Characteristic Features of Stepfamilies
  • Structural Characteristics of Stepfamilies
  • Dynamic Characteristics of Stepfamilies
  • Developmental Characteristics of Stepfamilies
  • Summary
  • Chapter 4. Key Issues of Stepfamilies
  •  Past Orientation: The Attitude of the Stepfamily Toward the Past
  • Acceptance/Rejection of Difference: The Self-Perception of the Family vis-à-vis Other Types of Families
  • The Dominant Substructure of the Family: The Focal Subsystem
  • Summary
  • Part II: Types of Stepfamilies--An Innovative Classification
  • Chapter 5. Integrated Families: Combining Then and Now Around the Couple
  • Profile of Integrated Stepfamilies
  • Combining Past and Present
  • Acknowledging Differences
  • Marital Focal Subsystem
  • Characteristics of the Integrated Nature of the Family
  • Typical Issues
  • Case Illustration: The Everest Family
  • Summary
  •  Chapter 6. Invented Stepfamilies: The Time Is Now and the Family Is the Focus
  • Profile of Invented Stepfamilies
  • Discarding the Past: The TIme Is Now
  • Denial of Differences: We Are A Regular Family
  • A Parental Focal Subsystem
  • Main Issues: Invented Families--Whose Invention?
  • Case Illustration: The Fox Family
  • Summary
  • Chapter 7. Imported Stepfamilies: Living the “There and Then” in the “Here and Now”
  • Profile of Imported Stepfamilies
  • Reliving the Past in the Present
  • Denying Differences from Non-Stepfamilies
  •  Marital Focal Subsystem
  • Case Illustration: The Duncan Family
  •  Summary
  • Part Three: Stepfamilies and Culture
  • Chapter 8. Immigrant Stepfamilies
  • The Experience of Multiple Losses
  • Phases in the Immigration Process
  •  Paths to Becoming an Immigrant Stepfamily
  • Combined Effects of Immigration and Stepfamily
  • Case Illustration: The Kovarsky Family
  • Summary
  • Black Stepfamilies
  • The History of the Black Stepfamily
  •  A Black Communal-Oriented Philosophy
  • Permeability of Boundaries in Black Families
  • Informal Adoption Among Black Families
  • Role Flexibility of Black Families
  •  Living with the Experience of Being Different
  • Case Illustration: The Wilson Family
  • Summary
  • Chapter 10. Gay and Lesbian Stepfamilies
  • Triple Stigmatization of Gay Stepfamilies
  • Typical Issues of Gay and Lesbian Stepfamilies
  • Case Illustration: The Roth-Johnston Family
  • Part Four: Helping Stepfamilies of Diverse Types--Implications for Practice
  • Chapter 11. Assessing Stepfamilies
  • Differential Evaluation of Normative Stepfamily Issues versus Dysfunctional Patterns
  • Differential Assessment of Diverse Types of Stepfamilies
  •  Methods of Assessing Stepfamilies: Interviews, Genograms, and Standardized Instruments
  • Summary
  •   Chapter 12. Partners and Focus: Choosing with Whom to Work on Which Issues
  • Deciding with Whom to Work
  • Deciding What to Work On
  • Summary
  • Chapter 13. Strategies and Techniques for Working with Stepfamilies
  • Normalizing the Stepfamily Experience
  • Providing Psychoeducation
  • Negotiating Flexibility and Promoting Creativity
  • Using Collaborative Conversational Approaches
  • Summary
  • Chapter 14. Changing Social Context: Working on Behalf of Stepfamilies
  • Developing a Step-Relationships Language
  • Challenging the Brady Bunch Stereotype: Developing Realistic Recognition of Stepfamilies, Their Uniqueness, and Diversity
  • Developing Specific Servic

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Roni Berger, PhD, CSW, is Assistant Professor at the Adeiphi University School of Social Work in Garden City, Long Island. She is also the Supervisor of Group Work in the Russian Adolescent Program of JBFC’S. Dr. Berger serves on the Advisory Boards of International Conferences of Family Therapy and is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Social Work with Groups, the Council on Social Work Education, and he Adelphi University Senate. She is the author or co-author of five books, numerous journal articles, and has spoken at several conferences on social work with families and with groups. Her current research interests include cross-cultural aspects of stepfamilies, immigrant stepfamilies, and adolescent immigrants.