108: Preparing to Blend: Effective Pre-stepfamily Counseling with Parents and Children
Ron Deal, M.MFT
116 Trelon Way
Little Rock, AR 72223
In blended families, the rules are different. The majority of dating and engaged couples walk into their weddings with both eyes shut. As a result, clinicians, marriage coaches, and ministry leaders alike have the opportunity to equip couples and children for stepfamily living. First, however, they must understand competing emotional attachments, relational complexity, multiple households, and ambiguous relational dynamics in stepfamilies—and how the structure of pre-stepfamily counseling varies from traditional premarital counseling. The presenter uses his series of books on stepfamily living, including the new book, Preparing to Blend: The Couple’s Guide to Becoming a Smart Stepfamily (2021).
• Describe how unrealistic premarital expectations set couples up for relational distress, disillusionment, and family conflict
• Analyze how previous loss and loyalty conflicts interfere with bonding in newly formed blended families
• Name and describe a counseling/coaching process for licensed mental health professionals and coaches and specific interventions designed to help couples and children co-create a new family identity