Help clients understand and break the lethal [wounds + unawareness] cycle!

Index: Clinical-intervention Options for
Common Family and Relationship Stressors

By Peter K. Gerlach, MSW
Member NSRC Experts Council 


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Key Lesson 7 Interventions - form realistic stepfamily expectations

        Who for? courting and committed and/or cohabiting stepfamilies and supporters.

4-1)  Affirm that all client-family adults accept their identity as a normal multi-home, multi-generational stepfamily

4-2)  Motivate client co-parents to study stepfamily facts, similarities, differences, roles, and develop-mental (merger) phases, and apply their learning to their stepfamily

4-3)  Facilitate (a) co-parent-couples agreeing on their long-term family priorities, and (b) resolving any significant conflicts:

4-4)  Summarize the benefits of Lesson 7, and clarify, assess, and upgrade client expectations on these topics, as appropriate...

   a) merging biofamilies and evolving a high-       nurturance ("functional") stepfamily

   b) requisites for a healthy couple relationship

   c) stepparent and stepchild roles, titles, names,        and relationships

   d) relationships with co-parenting ex mates and        their relatives 

   e)  step-grandparent and step-grandchild roles,         titles, and relationships

   f)  stepsibling and half-sibling roles, titles, names,        and relationships

   g)  stepfamily child-discipline responsibilities,         goals, and techniques

   h)  managing child visitations, and family         gatherings, holidays, and vacations

   i)  grieving prior and new losses (broken bonds)

   j)  effective stepfamily financial management,        including child support

4-5)  Strategize with co-parents on how to motivate  their other family adults and kids to form realistic stepfamily expectations on these topics

4-6)  Follow up with client adults to see if (a) they really do accept their stepfamily identity, and (b) are working to spot and correct unrealistic expectations among their kids and adults

Lesson 3 Interventions - Evolve a pro-grief family

       Who for? any client family - specially divorcing families and courting and cohabiting and/or committed stepfamilies..

1)  Describe the five common family hazards and ask clients for their reaction

2)  Review and discuss attachment, losses, and grieving basics

3)  Introduce and illustrate the idea of a family "grieving policy," and ask co-parents if they can describe their respective childhood-family policies.

4)  Ask co-parents if they can describe their recent family grief policies.

5 (a) introduce the concepts of incomplete or blocked mourning and its typical effects, and (b) explore whether any client family-members might be blocked


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Key Project 6 Interventions - evolve and use a meaningful family mission statement

        Who for? courting and committed or cohabiting stepfamily co-parents and supporters.

1)  Review the [wounds + unawareness] cycle (Lesson 1), and ask if the co-parents think it's significantly affecting their family

2) Ask "What's the long-term purpose of your family?"

3)  Option - ask "When you're old, what do you want to have accomplished with your family?"

4)  Review the concepts of needs and family nurturance levels;  

5 Review typical minor kids' developmental and family adjustment needs

6 Review typical primary-relationship needs 


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Key Project 7 Interventions - make three wise courtship-commitment choices

        Who for? courting co-parents and supporters.








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Created April 30, 2013