Stepfamilies? They’re complicated. When it comes to giving or receiving advice, misinformation can do more harm than doing nothing at all. You, your partner and your stepfamily deserve better. At StepMom Magazine, we hand-select our team of writers to ensure that you get the best advice possible. Therapists. Lawyers. Published authors. Certified stepfamily professionals. Veteran stepmoms. Our contributors are informed, in the trenches and experts in stepfamily dynamics. Their first-hand experience results in content you can count on to educate, empower and entertain … making your life less complicated!
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CHRISTINE G. ADAMO is a freelancer on a quest to answer the age-old question: Who in their right mind would write, revise, edit or proofread for a living? (Uh, she would!) Standing gigs include that of Managing Editor at StepMom Magazine. She shares a home with her rescue dog Ava. Her boyfriend, Brian, is a divorced dad with one adult daughter. Follow or tweet her @WriteReviseEdit.
IISHANA ARTRA, PhD, is a childfree stepmom of three stepchildren ages 14, 17 and 25. She teaches systems for meaningfully adjusting to stepfamily life. Details are available at StepfamilyServices.org. For more on Dr. Artra’s immersion retreats to aid stepfamily transformation, email her at: StepfamilyServices@gmail.com.
LARA R. BADAIN, Esq has been practicing family and matrimonial law in New York State for 25 years. She serves on the Attorneys for the Children panel for the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division Fourth Department, representing children in family court. She’s a member of the Family Law Section of the Monroe County Bar Association and was a former Board Member for the Monroe County Legal Assistance Corporation. Lara has three adult stepchildren—so she is uniquely positioned to provide both a personal and professional perspective on stepfamily legal issues. Email her at Lara@BadainandCrowder.com.
LISA BAGSHAW is a now separated, child-less stepmom. She lives in Vancouver BC, works in media, and hopes her years of being a stepmom to her twin stepsons is enough to keep their relationships going. Lisa is currently writing a book, “A Survival Guide for the Urban Stepmom,” and is open to any and all tips. Catch her on Twitter: @urbanstepmom
KAREN BONNELL, MS, ARNP, coaches parents, co-parents and stepparents through loss, transition, growth and change. An advanced registered nurse practitioner and divorced mother of two adult children, Karen has keen insight into and great compassion for what it’s like to join a family. An active writer, presenter and trainer, she recently co-authored “The Stepfamily Handbook” with Patricia L. Papernow, EdD. Karen enjoys hiking U.S. national parks with camera in hand. Online at CoachMediateConsult.com
STACIE NIELSEN BORTEL, MA, is a stepmom and has more than 10 years of experience as an author, editor, writing teacher and teacher of writing instructors. She is known for her curly hair, her off-key singing while doing the dishes, her obsession with whatever she’s currently writing about and her belief in the power of storytelling. Online at NielsenBortel.com and Multiplicity-Blog.com.
EMILY BOUCHARD, MSSW, is a family, wealth and money coach and founder of Blended-Families.com. As a managing partner at WealthLegacyGroup.com, she helps couples and stepfamilies leverage their wealth to positively impact the world around them. Emily co-authored “Estate Planning for the Blended Family,” understands the complex needs of stepfamilies and has been featured in “Wall Street Journal” and “Forbes.
LISA BRADSHAW is the author of Big Shoes: A Young Widowed Mother’s Memoir, founder of The DON’T WAIT Project® and producer of the How to UnMake A Bully video series from Better Actions Now. She is home each day by 3 p.m. to greet her kids when they get home from school.
ERIN CARELESS, PhD, is the owner of Steplife. She offers private coaching and support services to help women navigate the often tricky dynamics affecting the lives of stepmothers. Erin, also a director of adult education, explored stepmothering as part of her doctoral research. Her work has been published in academic journals, books and magazines. A stepmom to two, Oliver and Waverleigh, she’s also a mom to Grace and Finn. Connect with Erin at StepLife.biz
KATE CHAPMAN is the founder of This Life in Progress, a community for divorced parents and blended families, and the creator of the highly-acclaimed Total Coparenting Transformation course. A coparenting expert, experienced executive coach, and widely published author with a deep background in psychology and sociology, Kate is most proud of her role as mom and stepmom to six children, ages 8-16.
CLAUDETTE CHENEVERT, aka The Stepmom Coach, works with women as they struggle to create a cohesive family life. As a speaker, author and stepfamily professional, Claudette mentors and guides stepmoms through the process of establishing a harmonious and thriving home life for their families. Her newest title, “The Stepmom’s Book of Boundaries,” is now available on Amazon.com and elsewhere. Learn about her coaching practice and self-study program for stepmoms at StepmomCoach.com
TAMMY DAUGHTRY, MMFT, Founder and CEO of Co-Parenting Int’l., is a marriage and family therapist. As the author of “Co-Parenting Works! Helping Your Children Thrive After Divorce,” Tammy has made 50-plus media appearances in the U.S. and Canada. She is a national advocate and seminar presenter with extensive co-parenting experience and the creator of the “One Heart, Two Homes: Co-Parent Support for Single and Remarried Parents,” DVD series. Tammy lives with her husband, Jay, in Nashville, Tennessee and is available for consultation via phone, Skype and FaceTime. Online at CoparentingInternational.com
MELISSA D. DAY, MS, is both a mom and a stepmom who’s working on her PhD in sociology at the University of New Hampshire. Through her studies, she actively conducts research on the stepmother experience in families.
ANNA DE ACOSTA is creator of The Mindful Stepmom series of guided-audio meditations designed to help stepmoms cope with common challenges and feelings faced along their journey. Anna offers online programs, as well as retreats in Peru with a goal of helping stepmoms overcome negative feelings, build resilience and live in peace. Online at AnnaDeAcosta.com.
RON L. DEAL, MMFT, is one of the most widely read and viewed experts on blended families in the country. He is founder of Smart Stepfamilies™, Director of FamilyLife Blended® for FamilyLife®, and the author and Consulting Editor of the Smart Stepfamily Series of books including the bestselling Building Love Together in Blended Families: The 5 Love Languages® and Becoming Stepfamily Smart with Dr. Gary Chapman, The Smart Stepfamily, and The Smart Stepmom with Laura Petherbridge. Ron is a licensed marriage and family therapist, popular speaker, and host of the podcast FamilyLife Blended with Ron Deal. He and his wife, Nan, have three sons and live in Little Rock, Arkansas. Learn more at RonDeal.org and FamilyLife.com/blended
DIANE INGRAM FROMME is a grief author, a stepmom mentor and an experienced stepmom of 25 years married to a widower with children. She’s also the author of “Stepparenting the Grieving Child,” an award-winning guidebook for (step-)parents exploring life with children who have lost a parent. While guiding stepmoms and their stepfamilies through loss and hope, Diane offers them real-life advice and encouraging tips. Learn more at DianeFromme.com
KRISTA L. GIOVARA is a California native, a mom to four, a stepmom to three and a wife to one. After having open heart surgery, she’s embraced raising kids, wake surfing, chairing the League to Save Lake Tahoe’s Oscar de la Renta Fashion Show and writing about it. Krista says chaos and hard times have strengthened her family and make for damn good material. Her upcoming book proves it! Follow @KristaGiovara on Instagram.
GAYLA GRACE is a writer, speaker and coach with a Master’s degree in psychology and counseling. She is passionate about helping stepfamilies create harmony in long-term relationships and is the director of The Sisterhood of Stepmoms, which offers retreats, support and community for stepmoms. Remarried for 23 years, Gayla is a mom of three and stepmom of two (ages 17 to 33). Her newest book is “Stepparenting With Grace: A Devotional for Blended Families.”
DIANE GREENE is a Certified Stepfamily Coach who was personally trained by Jeannette Lofas. She is the mother of three, stepmom to one, and wife. Diane teaches stepparents to discover new purposes for their stepfamilies, eliminate drama and stereotypes while at the same time transforming their co-parenting relationships.
NAJA HALL is the founder of Blended & Black—an inclusive, solution-oriented platform for promoting harmony and balance among fractured millennial families. Her goal is to normalize stepfamily life, by combating stigma and helping individuals adjust to a new normal. Naja hosts a weekly podcast, creating and sharing content of interest to stepfamilies. Learn more at BlendedandBlack.com
MICHELLE HARTER, MA, is a Licensed Graduate Professional Counselor and National Certified Counselor currently practicing as a mental health therapist. She received her master’s degree, with emphasis on education and human development, from George Washington University. Writing about stepmothering, especially from a Christian perspective, excites her. Michelle is happily married and lives in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., with her husband, her stepdaughter and two dogs.
SUSAN HAWORTH, MEd, MS, is a veteran stepmom who’s provided counseling, coaching and training services for more than four decades. Located in the San Francisco Bay Area, she’s the founder of Cambios Coaching & Consulting and provides ongoing support for stepmothers and stepfamilies via video conferencing and in person. Susan invites you to subscribe to her blog, learn more and request an initial, no-cost consultation at CambiosCoaching.com
ANDY HETCHLER is married to Heather, a StepMom contributing author. Eleven years ago, they merged his two and her four kids under one roof. They have managed the trials, joys and tribulations of raising six teenagers together. Using years of personal and professional experience, Andy and Heather launched Learning2Step.com, an online platform which offers training, support and hope for stepfamilies and related organizations. Email your questions to Andy@Learning2Step
HEATHER HETCHLER, is an author, a speaker, a communication consultant and an adjunct professor who specializes in public speaking and interpersonal communication. She resides in Cleveland along with her husband, Andy, and their family. Heather utilizes 10-plus years of stepfamily and co-parenting experience to educate, equip and empower others as they navigate their own stepfamily journeys. Founder of CafeSmom, she now offers coursework, resources and 1-on-1 coaching. Email: Heather@Learning2Step.com Online: Learning2Step.com
PAM HOWARD, LCSW, is the creator of Less Drama More Mama and a Certified ScreamFree Parenting and Marriage Leader. She teaches practical skills to help parents experience increased self-confidence, better self-care, and a deeper connection with their kids—without a lot of drama. She’s also a mommy to two daughters, ages 9 and 5.
RACHELLE KATZ, EDD, LMFT, is a licensed marriage and family therapist with more than 30 years of experience. Her newest book is “The Happy Stepcouple: How Couples with Stepchildren Can Strengthen Their Relationships.” Rachelle also wrote the self-help guide “The Happy Stepmother: Stay Sane, Empower Yourself, Thrive in Your New Family.” She offers stepmoms individual and couple’s coaching virtually and in her office in NYC. To learn more, visit StepsForStepmothers.com or contact Rachelle.Katz@gmail.com.
MARY T. KELLY, MA, is a family therapist of more than 18 years who specializes in working with stepmoms, stepcouples and stepfamilies. From her private practice in Boulder, Colorado, Mary provides coaching by phone or via Skype, Facetime and Veer. She also offers in-person therapy and leads 1- to 2-day intensives both online and face-to-face. Visit RealStepfamilies.com for tips, resources and more info.
TRISHA LADOGNA holds a graduate diploma in psychology, is a stepmother and is a co-author of the “Build a Better Relationship” ebook series. She has spent more than 20 years working with children and families of all shapes, sizes and structures. Through her work, she helps stepparents build more positive relationships with their stepchildren.
SUSAN LANCASTER, PGDip, is a stepfamily coach and psychotherapist in private practice, a stepmom of 40 years and a mother of 30 years. Based in Sydney, she has trained with Jeannette Lofas, PhD, Lisa Doodson, PhD, and Ellyn Bader, PhD. Susan helps couples, individuals and children manage the dynamics of stepfamily life using a variety of therapies, mediation services, mindfulness practices and more. Online at StepfamilyCounselling.com.au
JESSICA LEON, LCSW, PhD, specializes in marriage, family and couples therapy and has more than 15 years of private practice experience. She’s a Life Coach on Lifetime TV’s “Mission Makeover,” a frequent guest on “The Balancing Act” and also serves as a Suicide Prevention Counselor, Behavior Management Specialist, ESE Family Counselor and more. Jessica resides in South Florida with her husband, twin boys, stepson, three cats and dog. Connect with Jessica at: TherapistToGo.net
BRITTANY LYNCH, BSCN, lives in Canada and is on a mission to help stepmoms worldwide create fulfilled, purposeful lives through her signature Queen of the Castle coaching method. Helping others find their voices and step into their power matters to Brittany, who believes that stepmotherhood gives us a professional edge and that stepmoms can live passionately and abundantly. Visit StepQueen.com or connect with her on Instagram @TheStepQueen.
LAURA L. MACK graduated from Ball State University with a BA in journalism in 2003 and specializes in writing contemporary romance fiction for a Christian audience. Her self-published books are available through Amazon, Kindle and Barnes & Noble online. Titles include “Full Circle,” “Leather-Bound” and “Skin Deep.” Laura, 38, has been married for 14 years and is a childless stepmother of one.
DIANNE MARTIN, BSW, RSW, is a Canadian mom, stepmom and Certified Stepfamily Counselor. Combining her intimate knowledge of stepfamily dynamics with her professional training, Dianne developed a dynamic array of specialized counseling and educational programs. She empowers stepmoms to build, strengthen and nurture healthy stepfamily relationships.
WEDNESDAY MARTIN, PhD, is an author, social researcher and stepmother. Her book “Stepmonster” is widely considered a go-to resource for stepmothers, adult stepchildren, therapists and others who seek a uniquely candid, interdisciplinary and comprehensive look at the topic. Wednesday’s work on women, gender and families has appeared in “The New York Times,” “The Atlantic,” “The Forward,” “Refinery29” and elsewhere. Her book “Primates of Park Avenue: An Anthropological Memoir of Manhattan Motherhood” was a No. 1 best-seller. Her book “Untrue” (2018) is an exploration of female infidelity. Wednesday believes stepmothering is a feminist issue.
KYLIE McGREGOR has a passion for sharing her life lessons online. Unexpectedly single in her 40s, she decided heartbreak was best described through humor. Entirely lacking a shred of maternal instinct, the online dating gods decided it was best to send a single dad her way. So began her life as a rookie stepmother. Kylie traded stilettoes for the suburbs and now shares all of her stepmom secrets online at KylieMcGregor.com
LAURA S. MILAM, MEd, is a wife, stepmom and high school counselor. All three of these roles are a constant source of inspiration. For Laura, writing is equal parts therapy, connection and comic relief. She believes everyone has a story worth sharing and enjoys using hers to connect with and encourage others.
TRACI MORENO, PSYD, is a clinical and forensic psychologist licensed in California and Arizona. Her private practice, Free Spirit Coaching & Psychological Services, PLC, breaks down office walls to offer coaching outdoors while hiking, seated in a gazebo, immersed in a Zen garden and more. Traci combines traditional psychotherapy, animal-assisted therapy, life coaching, meditation and spirituality in her work with stepfamilies and teens. Learn more at FreeSpiritCoaching.org
BETH McDONOUGH is a certified stepparent coach, owner of The Inclusive Stepmom and both CMO and editor-in-chief of the Stepmomz app. A child of divorce and childless stepmom versed in infertility, Beth specializes in LGBTQ+ issues and shares a small town with the ex. You can also find her writing at “Stepparent Magazine,” “ParentMap,” SheKnows, Bustle and BabyCenter. Keep up with her houseful of feminine energy on Facebook and Instagram @TheInclusiveStepmom.
LIANA PALMERIO-McIVOR, RP, is a registered psychotherapist certified by the Ontario Assoc. of Mental Health Professionals and a marriage and sex therapist who’s been in practice for 20-plus years. Liana, director of The Wellness Counselling Group, is passionate about helping people fully connect with their partners and lead fulfilling lives. She’s a mom to two girls, a stepmom to one boy, a widow and a wife. Tweet @lianapalmerio or visit WellnessCounselling.com
ELIZABETH MOSAIDIS, MA, is a Stepfamily Foundation Certified Coach and the author of “The Stepmom Project” and “Stepmom Bootcamp.” A professional educator for more than 15 years, she’s taught in several countries. Elizabeth’s lifelong passion has been and is to empower others through knowledge, self-exploration and coaching methods. She lives in Phoenix with her husband and stepdaughter. Learn more about her coaching services for stepmoms and find related resources at TheStepmomProject.com
PEGGY NOLAN is a mom of two and stepmom to four adult children. She and her husband, Richard, have five grandchildren. This entrepreneur, certified yoga teacher and avid traveler has also written content aimed at stepmoms for Huff Post. Called a “bad-ass warrior, vanquisher of fear (and) slayer of doubt,” she says she loves helping others move forward. Peggy previously hosted “The Stepmom’s Toolbox” radio show. Online at Instagram.com/pegnolan and Facebook.com/twistedcrocheter
DEESHA PHILYAW hit the mom trifecta: She is a biological and adoptive mom and stepmom to four girls ages 10, 15, 15 and 17. Based in Pittsburgh, Deesha is the co-author of “Co-Parenting 101: Helping Your Kids Thrive in Two Households After Divorce,” both in collaboration with her ex-husband. She is also the co-facilitator of Writing Through Your Divorce, an online workshop for women.
KELLY PALMQUIST, MSW, is a licensed social worker. This stepmom’s unique perspective on navigating life’s challenges is also informed by master’s degrees in counseling and social work plus extensive experience in the mental health and medical social work fields. Kelly enjoys empowering women to find their magic amid adversity, encouraging others to survive “the storm with gratitude, grace and joy” to then thrive through her blog at SunshineInHeavyWeather.com
PATRICIA L. PAPERNOW, EdD, is .an internationally-recognized expert on “blended families.” She is entering her fifth decade working with, learning about and teaching about stepfamily relationships. In addition to dozens of articles and book chapters, she is the author of “Surviving and Thriving in Stepfamily Relationships: What Works and What Doesn’t” and, with Karen Bonnell, MS, “The Stepfamily Handbook: From Dating to Getting Serious to Forming a ‘Blended’ Family.”
LAURA PETHERBRIDGE is an international author and speaker who serves couples and single adults with topics on relationships, divorce prevention, divorce recovery and stepfamily life. Laura is a DivorceCare video series featured expert and author of “When ‘I Do’ Becomes ‘I Don’t’” and “The Smart Stepmom.” She co-authored “101 Tips for The Smart Stepmom” (with Ron L. Deal) and “Quiet Moments for the Stepmom Soul.” Visit TheSmartStepmom.com
CHRISTINA ROACH, LMHC, is a trained stepfamily coach and couples/family therapist. A certified Stepfamily Foundation Master Counselor and stepfamily professional recognized by the Nat’l. Stepfamily Resource Center, Christina offers phone and web coaching via SuccessforSteps.com. She also sees clients in her Florida-based private practice, as a licensed psychotherapist, and is a Nat’l. Certified Counselor and Board-Certified TeleMental Health Provider. Christina resides in Florida with her husband and their two children.
JAMIE (SIMKINS) ROGERS, LPC, EMDR, is a stepmom to three great kids and passionate about helping others experience all the goodness that life has to offer. She is a therapist in private practice in Chicago focusing on relationships and addiction. Rogers is also a Hormone Cure Practitioner and helps women to balance their hormones naturally.
JOAN SARIN, MS, is a social psychologist, Emotional Intelligence (EQ) educator and Stepfamily Coach. Her 20 years as a stepmom and mom have provided her with abundant opportunities to convert her training in stepfamily dynamics and the theories of emotional intelligence into practical experience. She is a consultant in schools and trains children and parents to integrate EQ competencies into their daily lives. Her grown son and stepdaughter now live far away, leaving her and her husband to their cozy empty nest in Phoenix, Ariz.
JOEL SCHWARTZBERG is a nationally published essayist and a remarried father of one son and two twin girls (soon to be 19 and 16). He’s the author of “The 40-Year-Old Version: Humoirs of a Divorced Dad,” “Small Things Considered: Moments from Manliness to Manilow” and 2017’s “Get to the Point: Sharpen Your Message and Make Your Words Matter.” Online at JoelSchwartzberg.net
JAMIE SCRIMGEOUR is a certified life coach who specializes in stepfamily dynamics. She’s also the founder of The Kick-Ass Stepmom Project—an online group-coaching program for stepmoms who want to thrive. She’s a child of divorce and a stepmom with experience in child protection. Through blog posts, videos and her Weekly Facebook LIVE events, Jamie offers a well-rounded perspective on the challenges of stepfamily life. Learn more at JamieScrimgeour.com
STEPHANI SHANER is a writer and native Coloradoan whose work is written through the lens of life experience. Fond of silver linings, she’s inspired by others who also emerge from their struggles with a positive outlook. A wife and a stepmom, Stephani shares her stories with other stepparents who may feel overwhelmed in their new roles. Read more of her writing at ThoughtCatalog.com/Stephani-Shaner/.
LORI SIMS is CEO & Co-Founder of Nacho Kids, LLC, which educates and empowers stepfamilies by teaching them to effectively apply her branded method. The goal? Save their marriages while preserving their sanity. Using a systematic approach to dynamic disengagement and re-engagement, she’s helped entire families achieve proven results. Lori and her husband, David, recently launched the Nacho Kids Academy. Learn more at NachoKids.com
BRENDA SNYDER, LCSW has a private practice in Peoria, Illinois, and has been a licensed therapist for more than 20 years. A custodial stepmother herself, since 1998, she and husband Steve have led his four children to adulthood and have one 18-year-old daughter. “Grammy” to four boys, Brenda finally enjoys lovely and uncomplicated relationships with their parents. Learn more about Brenda and her practice at BSnyderCounseling.com.
SARA SUSOV, EDS, is a licensed, practicing school psychologist and a life coach who works with stepfamilies. Through her coaching practice, Sara helps her clients focus on mindfulness to change their mindsets. Sara is a childless stepmom of 13 years. She lives in Lehi, Utah, with her husband Chris, her two stepdaughters and two Paperanians (part Papillon, part Pomeranian). Online at SaraSusov.com
SUSAN DAVIS SWANSON, PHD, LCSW, is executive director and founder of The StepFamily Center in Beverly Hills, Calif. She is a noted authority on issues ranging from divorce to remarriage with children. Susan is a licensed therapist and has attained Board Certified Diplomate status, awarded by the American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work. She received her Ph.D. in spiritual counseling. In addition to her work with stepfamilies, Susan is a trauma therapist and experienced in the use of EMDR and Somatics.
ALLISON TASK, MS, appeared on the cover of StepMom in October 2011 and was married that same month. This author, culinary whiz and former TV host is a certified career/life coach who guides others through significant life transitions. As such, she helps stepmoms achieve big goals with ease, grace and humor. She’s based in Montclair, New Jersey, and lives with her husband, stepdaughter, twin sons and daughter. Online at AllisonTask.com
STACY SPENCER THOMPSON recently completed her Master of Fine Arts in creative writing. She is currently working to complete her memoir, “The Blue Behind Us,” which chronicles her experience of becoming a stepmother. During the day, Stacy works in content marketing and, on the weekends, she enjoys time with her family.
MEG BURTON TUDMAN, MBA, is a mindset health coach, author and speaker. Meg offers holistic life coaching which helps stepmoms and others align mind, body and spirit in order to create lives they absolutely love. She weaves mindset mastery, Reiki and meditation into her online programs to support stepmoms who currently feel stressed, exhausted and stuck. Her “Reset Your Mindset Toolkit” is available as a FREE download at MegBurtonTudman.com
ERIC URBACH is an attorney in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who practices primarily in the areas of personal injury and family law. Eric is married to his wife, Amy, and is a father of three and stepfather of two.
SHELLY WARE, LMFT, is a wife, first-time mom and stepmom. This licensed marriage and family therapist is also a certified stepfamily coach who specializes in working with stepmoms, stepfamilies, communities of color and career women who want to set better boundaries and be more assertive. Shelly sees clients online and in-person through her California-based private practice. Visit MyCounselingClinic.com to learn more.
KRISTEN WILKINSON, PsyD, is a licensed clinical psychologist at The Barrington Center for Counseling & Psychotherapy in Illinois. She is also a graduate of Midwestern University. Whether through her research, clinical work or beyond, Dr. Wilkinson enjoys using her professional and personal experience to assist stepfamilies and to advocate for their needs. She welcomes your email inquiries via Kristen.Wilkinson09@gmail.com. Online at KristenWilkinsonPsyD.com
ALI WILKS, MSC, is a mom, stepmom and creator of The Successful Stepcouple Retreat. A certified stepfamily and couples relationship coach, she has expertise in working closely with stepcouples and stepparents who struggle with the complicated dynamics of stepfamily life. Ali holds degrees in psychology and family studies, which also inform her work with foster and adoptive parents. Online at AliWilks.com and Stepcoupling.com
SUSAN WISDOM, MA is the author of Stepcoupling: Creating and Sustaining a Strong Marriage in Today’s Blended Family. Susan and her husband have raised 5 children in their successful stepfamily since 1976. She has a counseling practice helping stepcouples understand and deal with the issues common in stepfamilies. She believes that the stepcouple is the foundation and glue in the stepfamily.