Did you know that the wrong therapist can actually make your situation worse? It’s true! Watch this video for tips on how to find a qualified therapist to help you work through the most common stepfamily challenges.
Tell us what you think about this video. Have you ever worked with a therapist? Do you think it might help your stepfamily situation?
How to Find A Good Stepfamily Therapist | Video Transcript:
Hi there. I’m Brenda Ockun with StepMom Magazine and you’re watching StepMom-TV …because even when it’s good, it’s complicated.
If you’re watching this video I’m guessing it’s probably because you’re part of a stepfamily and stepfamilies are complicated! But more importantly, you’re probably watching this video because you are a strong person and you’ve made the important decision to call a trained professional. Someone who can help you work through the specific things that are happening in your life right now.
Deciding to consult with a therapist is a positive step in learning how to manage all the challenges that come with stepfamily life. But you have another really important decision to make and that’s to choose the right therapist.
The right therapist is someone who is trained in and understands stepfamily dynamics. Why? Because, second marriages and stepfamilies don’t operate anything like first-families.
Think about it. First families don’t have the same challenges that stepfamilies do. They don’t deal with ex-spouses, or have to worry about child support or kids in loyalty binds, or parental alienation, or co-parenting. None of it! So a therapist who treats your situation using the same principles and methods that apply to a first family model can actually do more harm than good. Let me repeat that: The wrong therapist can make your situation worse!
So here’s some information to help you find and select a good, qualified therapist:
One of the best ways to find a qualified therapist is to ask someone you trust for a referral. Remember though, you want to qualify this request by asking for referrals from friends or family members who have also worked with someone who understands stepfamily dynamics.
Another way to find a qualified therapist in your area is to use an online therapist locator. These are directories that provide local therapist contact information based on whatever zip code you enter. Websites like PsychologyToday.com and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy can be great places to start.
One of the best ways to find help is to visit our therapist recommendations page. There you’ll find licensed therapists and certified stepfamily coaches. What’s especially great is that most of them offer phone and Skype sessions – so it doesn’t matter where you live you can still work with them. The bonus is they’re all members of stepfamilies, so they really get it!
Your first conversation with a therapist or stepfamily coach should feel like an interview. That’s right, you should interview this person. Grab a pen right now so that you can jot a few questions to ask them:
Got your pen? Here we go:
Are you licensed? Are you certified?
What type of training have you received?
What is your fee? Do you accept insurance?
How many years have you been in practice?
How many years have you been treating stepfamilies?
Are you part of a stepfamily yourself?
(It’s a bonus if they are!)
What stepfamily books or resources can you recommend?
(Be cautious if they can’t)
What are the most common stepfamily problems you treat?
Look for them to use terms like: outsider syndrome, parental alienation and role ambiguity. These are all clues that tell you they’ve been there, done that, and they can help you.
There are a few red flags to watch for when you interview a potential therapist. If the person you’re speaking with suggests that you should treat your stepkids just like they’re your own or that you should put the kids first above your needs and above your relationship with your partner. If they dismiss your feelings or make you feel like you’re overreacting, it’s probably best you keep looking.
The bottom line is that a good therapist will understand your situation and they’ll be able to explain why many of the things you’re feeling are actually quite common. They’ll help you understand your options and work with you to find realistic solutions. A good stepfamily therapist should help you to feel understood and empowered.
You deserve all that – and more!
Tell me what you think about this video. Have you ever worked with a therapist? Do you think it might help your stepfamily situation? Join our conversation by leaving a comment below.
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Thank you so much for watching and I’ll see you here, next time, on StepMom-TV.
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