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. A relationship with stepchildren increases stress on the newly remarried couple in ways that couples without children do not experience. A Blended Family refers to the family unit that is created when two separate families come together to form one family.  This typically occurs when two people with their own children get married and move in together, blending their separate children into a single family unit.

As a stepparent, you may find it hard to imagine why your stepson or stepdaughter continues to reject you when you try so hard, or wonder how you will continue to deal with your partner’s ex-spouse.

Counseling for blended families can everyone in your family.

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Reasons Parents’ Seek Therapy for Blended Families

  • Differing or conflicting parenting styles: One parent may be very responsive to a child’s needs while another expects the child to be more independent.
  • Differing disciplinary styles: One parent may seem to be incapable of saying “no” to a child while another expects children to adhere to a more authoritarian style of discipline.
  • Sibling Rivalry: When an only child suddenly finds themselves living in a house with multiple siblings they can feel like they have to compete for attention from both parents.
  • Step Parenting: Many step parents struggle to discipline and interact with their spouse’s children on a day to day basis, creating stress and attachment failures.

Blended Family Issues

A blended family is often the product of a divorce.  Today, it is actually more common for people to be in a blended family than to be in a traditional nuclear family dynamic. After being involved in a divorce, children may already be struggling.  Adding step parents and siblings to the picture may alleviate or agitate that stress. 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 lives. Stepfamilies have dynamics unique to them because the roles of a stepmom, stepdad, and stepchildren never fit into a “traditional” family model.

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

Challenges Blended Families’ Face

  • Deciding where to live: Blending two families usually involves changing neighborhoods, schools and the security of familiarity for some or all the family members.
  • Resistance from the children: Some children do not want their parent to remarry or do not get along with their step-siblings. Children often will act out in some way against the natural parent and/or the step-parent.
  • Implementing Rules and Discipline: Determining a structure of rules and discipline can be very challenging for the Blended Family and may also include challenges over disciple disagreement with the ex-spouses. This is a difficult time for children due to having different rules at different homes in addition to having to adjust to the reality of losing the family they had and adjusting to a new one being created.
  • Deciding how the children will address their step-parent: Deciding how to address a step-parent can be an important aspect of the relationship between the step-parent and child.
  • Continuing relationships with friends and family members associated with past marriages: Setting boundaries with these relationships is important to the health of the Blended Family unit as well as the marital relationship.
  • Ongoing interaction with former spouses: Co-parenting can be very challenging and is often the source of discord within the new marital and Blended Family relationships.

Family Counseling & Therapy Services

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions? Compass wants the therapeutic process to be transparent, so you know what to expect, and feel comfortable. We understand that talking to someone new can bring up feelings of fear and uncertainty for some, so we hope that these questions ease those feelings and bring a certain level of readiness and comfort to seeking help with any one of our therapists at Compass Whole Health.  Check out some of the frequently asked questions in the list below.

If your question isn’t answered here, give us a call at 360-558-7730.

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You are probably anticipating the answer “it depends” – and you would be correct. It is impossible to predict the total number of sessions needed, as each individual is unique and the number of sessions will vary.

Some individuals’ will attend as few as 10-12 sessions, while others’ may attend 20 or more sessions to achieve the changes needed to maintain lasting relationship satisfaction.

Often we recommend weekly or bi-weekly 45-60 minute sessions at the start of counseling to help build needed trust and comfort in the counseling relationship. Weekly appointments may also facilitate more active progress toward goals. As progress toward initial goals are made, it may be helpful to spread the sessions further apart. We will discuss what is right for you as we work together.

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.

Private practices typically don’t have set hours. Our therapists work by appointment only, and each therapist sets their schedule. Some work days only, some work nights and weekends. If you need a particular time frame or day of the week, contact our intake line to discuss this.

Click here to schedule a FREE 15 minute phone consultation to determine if we are a good fit. If the available times do not work with your schedule, call 360.558.7730, or *email us at info@compasswholehealth.com, to request another time for your consultation.

This phone conversation will give us a chance to interview each other – but not in the anxiety provoking interview way. This will be more of a getting-to-know you talk. We want to ensure that you are getting exactly what you need for your relationship.

Please note that as therapists’ most of our days are spent having uninterrupted time with clients; therefore, we are not always immediately available. We encourage you to leave a message and we will return your call at our earliest convenience.

*Note that text and email are not secure methods of communication. Please reserve text and email communication for scheduling a time for consultation only. We can discuss the details of your particular situation during our phone consultation.

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

Relationship Counseling or Couples Therapy is often not covered by insurance. The purpose of insurance is for the diagnosis and treatment of a mental illness. Insurance companies do not recognize relationship concerns as a mental illness; therefore, our relationship therapy services are not usually reimbursable.

Insurance companies get to decide how many sessions you are allowed to see us and they dictate the services that we provide. Insurance companies also require a diagnosis, which becomes part of your permanent medical record and can disqualify you from certain careers. Please discuss with your therapist if this is a concern.

Most people experience general confusion, sadness, anxiety, and struggle with general life transitions. But for many, these can pile on top of one another, and be too great to manage on your own. Making the decision to engage in individual counseling takes immense courage. You will take this courage and dedicate yourself to healing. In our experience, one of the most important aspects in your healing process is finding a place in which you can feel completely validated and heard. We strive to create an open, non-judgmental environment to walk with you on your journey of healing and building in hope.

When you work with one of our therapists’ you are investing in a therapist who has specific training and education to best fit your needs.

We only see a limited number of clients in our practice so you can expect to receive the utmost care and consideration in regards to your relationship needs.

Seeing a carefully selected number of clients allows us to devote time to understanding your specific relationship outside of our sessions together. We will have ample time to review notes, tailor our approaches and interventions to your specific needs, and keep up to date on the latest developments in the field so that you are receiving state-of-the-art treatment.

Therapy sessions are typically 45-60 minutes, allowing time for deep and meaningful relationship work to take place. We do not typically book clients back-to-back so you receive the attention that you deserve and won’t experience the sense of being rushed.

If you have any other questions, please contact us

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