A stepfamily forms when one or both adults in a new couple bring children from a previous relationship. Although stepfamilies look like first-time families on the outside, they are very different on the inside. The first step toward making a successful stepfamily is understanding the challenges and differences between stepfamilies and first-time families.

 Step Families Counseling NYC

New couples naturally wish for their new families to blend right away. Stepparents want their stepchildren to love and respect them. However, straining to make the impossible happen, creates frustration, anger and can cause damane to the couple’s bond. Stepcouples need significant time to begin to function as a unit. Some stepchildren will need even more time. Letting go of understandable, but unrealistic wishes frees you to meet the challenges.

My training and experience in stepfamily dynamics can help meet the unique particulars of stepfamily living. Individual or couple therapy can offer a safe place to share feelings and can help resolve differences. I can even sometimes help ex-spouses work together. Also, children caught in intense loyalty conflicts sometimes appreciate a neutral therapist. Stepfamily living occasionally exposes some very painful old wounds. A good therapist can help resolve some of these old hurts and make living in the present easier.

Early Signs:

Relationships rarely die overnight. Almost always, the destruction of a couple happens little by little, over time.
Your relationship may be in trouble if you are experiencing:

  • Communication breakdown
  • Diminished sexual desire and activity level
  • Replaying old arguments and resurrecting old hurts
  • Resentment and contempt have replaced patience and love
  • One or both of you are having an affair


We saw Rachel when we were engaged and having major in-law problems that were interfering with the planning of our wedding. We were bickering a lot and couldn’t seem to resolve these problems on our own, and that’s why we decided to go for counseling. Rachel helped us to discuss these problems without being defensive, and taught us that we had a right to set limits with our families. We found the process very helpful, and we continue to call on her when our relationship needs a tune up.

Diane (28) & James (29)

Rachel in the media