Counseling for Blended Families in Vancouver, WA and the Portland – Metro area

Counseling for Blended Families and Step-Parents

Often the hardest part of finding a new relationship is navigating the process of gaining acceptance with his or her children from a previous marriage. When children are involved it can increase stress on a new relationship in ways that couples without children do not experience. When using the term “Blended Family” we are referring to a family unit that is created when two separate families come together to form one family.  This most is most common when two people with their own children get married and/or move in together, they “blend” their separate children into a single family unit.

As a stepparent, you might feel like you are trying so hard yet your question why your stepson or stepdaughter continue to reject you. You could also be thinking “how can I deal with my partner’s ex-spouse.”

Counseling for blended families can everyone in your family.

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Reasons Parents’ Seek Therapy for Blended Families

  • Difference in parenting styles: Every person parents differently, it can be an adjustment to learn your spouse or partners parenting style.
  • Difference in disciplinary styles: Each parent may have differing views on discipline.
  • Sibling rivalry or adjusting to other children in the home: Making adjustments to multiple children living under one rook they can make parents and children feel like they have to compete for attention.
  • Being a step parenting: Being a step -parent is HARD! It can be difficult to discipline and interact with your spouse’s children on a day to day basis, this can create stress and attachment failures in your relationship and with the children.

Blended Family Issues

A blended family most often happens after a divorce or separation of a family unit.  It’s not uncommon to be in a blended family, in fact it’s more common. After a divorce, children often struggle to make sense of what has happened.  When a step parent and other children are blended into the family it might agitate that stress and increase struggles. Not only is the new couple trying to figure out how to navigate these relationships, but the children are trying to figure out “who this new person is in their life?” We know firsthand that blended families have dynamics unique to them because of the unique roles of a stepmom, stepdad, and stepchildren.

In blended family counseling, children are encouraged to express opinions, fears and feelings in a kind and respectful manner. We can work with parents to maintain a healthy relationship with their children, their ex, and their new relationship. We can help you learn how to express your concerns, both with your new partner, your ex-spouse, and children in constructive, respectful ways.

Challenges Blended Families’ Face

  • Deciding where to live: When blending families it can be challenging to figure where you should live, what school the kids should attend, deciding if one person will move from their home or if you will both move.
  • Resistance from the children: It’s not uncommon for children to act out to try and sabotage the new relationship. Children may even resist accepting your new partner because they don’t want mom or dad “replaced.” Adjusting to the reality of losing the family they had and adjusting to a new one being created can be overwhelming.
  • Expectations and discipline: Expectations and discipline can be very challenging for any family, these challenges can increase with a blended family especially when there is disagreement with the parents. It can be difficult for children to have different expectations at different homes.
  • Navigating relationships with friends and family members from past relationship: Deciding how to set boundaries with previous relationships is important to the health of all people involved.
  • Co-parenting: If you thought your communication with your ex was bad try communicating in a co-parenting relationship. Communication can be very challenging and is often the source of tension within the new relationships.

Family Counseling & Therapy Services

Frequently Asked Questions

Compass wants the therapeutic process to be as clear as possible. We want you know what to expect and feel comfortable throughout the entire process. Check out some of the frequently asked questions in the list below.

We are here to answer any question you have, give us a call at 360-558-7730.


Counseling is tailored to each individual and situation. We work together to determine the best fit for you and your needs.

You can expect the first two to three sessions to be more of an assessment of the situation. Depending on your goals we then formulate a plan of action and can establish a more specific timeline to meet those goals.

Our address is 7017 NE Highway 99, Suite 206. Vancouver, WA 98665

Directions From I-5 Northbound

  1. Take exit 3 to merge onto NE Hwy 99/Main St toward Hazel Dell
  2. Merge onto NE Hwy 99/Main St
  3. Continue to follow NE Hwy 99
  4. Pass by McDonald’s (on the left in 1.0 mi)
  5. Destination will be on the right

Directions From I-5 Southbound

  1. Take exit 4 for NE 78th St
  2. Keep left at the fork to continue toward NE 78th St
  3. Slight left onto NE 78th St
  4. Turn right onto NE Hwy 99
  5. Destination will be on the left

Please enter through the back of the building (East side) of the building.

Parking: Free parking is available in the Collins Plaza where our offices are located at all hours. We are located inside the Collins Plaza, just minutes from I-5.

ADA Accessible: We are an ADA accessible office. If special accommodations are necessary, please do not hesitate to ask when you are scheduling your consult.

Our set front office hours are Monday thru Thursday from 9-5 and Friday from 8-3. Our therapists work by appointment only, and each therapist sets their schedule. To make an appointment or for additional information contact our intake line at (360) 558-7730.

Call 360.558.7730, or *email us at, to request an appointment time with one of our amazing therapists or counselors.

Our front office staff are very knowledgeable and are available to answer most questions you might have about therapy and/or counseling.

We do accept most major insurances for massage therapy and counseling services. Please contact us today and will gladly check your insurance benefits.

At Compass Whole Health each of our therapists have a specific expertise. When you call or email for an appointment, our front office staff will discuss with you the best therapist to fit your needs. We strive to make sure that your experience is the best one from the first time you walk in our doors.

Compass is dedicated to having only the best therapists and counselors in the Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA area. This translates into you having the best therapist and counselor.

If you have any other questions, please contact us

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