Conference with Dr. Patricia L. Papernow

Meeting the challenges of stepfamily relationships

– clinical skills for family, couple and individual therapists, as well as for school, medical and legal personnel

Copenhagen 19-20 September

The number of stepfamilies is growing. What works to help a couple in a traditional nuclear family will not necessarily work for stepfamilies, and the challenges can be great for both children and adults. This is why it is essential to know what is required to thrive as a stepfamily, so we – as professionals – can offer the best possible help when working with these families.

Dr. Patricia Papernow is one of the world’s leading experts in understanding and working with stepfamilies. During the two-day conference Dr. Papernow will deepen your understanding of stepfamily dynamics and strengthen your skills working with them. She will present the five greatest and most predictable challenges of stepfamilies. Furthermore, she will describe clinical skills and interventions on the psychoeducational, interpersonal and intrapsychic levels.

During the two days, Dr. Papernow will demonstrate intervention on each level and you will have time to practice your own therapeutic skills. Whether you work with children or adults, with couples and families or with individuals, you will leave this workshop with a substantial tool box.


About Dr. Patricia Papernow

Dr. Papernow is a world-leading expert within the field of stepfamilies. She integrates the now-substantial research in the field with her own more than 40 years as a clinician in an engaging and accessible way. She is inspired by the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model, along with training in family systems, attachment theory, trauma and interpersonal neurobiology. Her framework addresses both families with common challenges and families with heavier issues.

Dr. Papernow has published over 30 articles and book chapters as well as several books on the topic of stepfamilies. Her books, “Surviving and Thriving in Stepfamily Relationships: What Works and What Doesn’t” and “The Stepfamily Handbook: From Dating to Getting Serious, to Forming a “Blended Family” can be purchased during the conference.

You can find more information about Dr. Patricia Papernow on her website:


Conference programme

Day one – 19 September

9:00 Introduction

  • Exercise: Getting started
  • Meet Gary and Claire
  • Overview of the day

9:40 IFS – Internal Family Systems

  • 101: A basic introduction to a helpful model

9:50 How stepfamilies are different

  • First-time family
  • Divorce/breakup
  • Stepfamily
  • Stepfamilies come in lots of forms

10:05 A map of the territory: 5 challenges and 3 levels of help

10:20 First challenge: Insider/Outsider positions are intense. (And THEY ARE STUCK.)

  • Understanding the challenge
  • Meeting insider/outsider challenges

I. Psychoeducational level help
II. Interpersonal level help

10:45 Break

11:00 Clinical demonstration: Working on the first two levels with a stepcouple

11:45 III. Intrapsychic level help

12:00 Group practice with vignettes

  • Questions

12:30 Lunch

13:30 Second challenge: Children struggle with LOSSES, LOYALTY BINDS, and CHANGE

Understanding the challenge

13:45 How do adults help children meet their challenges?
I. Psychoeducational level help
II. Interpersonal level help
III. Intrapsychic level help

14:15 Discussion and questions

14:30 Clinical demonstration: Helping parents attune to children

15:00 Break

15:15 Discussion and Questions re Clinical Demo

15:30 Practice session: Working on the psychoeducational level 

16:45 Wrap-up (ending at 17:00)


Day two – 20 September

9:00 Good morning! Questions and thoughts from Day One

9:15 Third challenge: Parenting tasks divide PARENTS and STEPPARENTS

  • Understanding the challenge
  • Meeting the challenges of parenting, stepparenting, and discipline in stepfamilies

I. Psychoeducational
II. Interpersonal
III. Intrapsychic

10:00 Stepcouple clinical demonstration: Working with conflicts about discipline

10:30 Break

10:45 Discussion and questions

11:00 Fourth challenge: Building a new family culture while respecting already-established cultures
Understanding the challenge
Three levels of help
I. Psychoeducational level help
II. Interpersonal level help
III. Intrapsychic level help

11:20 Questions

11:30 Soft/Hard/Soft: A skills exercise

12:30 Lunch

13:30 Fifth challenge: EX-SPOUSES (Other Parents Outside the Household) are part of the family
Understanding the challenge
Helping stepfamilies meet the challenge of parenting across households
I. Psychoeducational level help
II. Interpersonal level help
III. Intrapsychic level help
Questions and discussion

14:15 Vignettes: Group practice

15:00 Break

15:15 Clinical demonstration: Meeting with ex-spouses

15:45 Questions and discussion

16:00 Thriving in stepfamilies

  • The Stepfamily Cycle: Normal stages of development in stepfamilies
  • “Mature” stepfamilydom: What do healthy, long-standing stepfamilies look like?

16:30 Wrap-up

17:00 End of day two

Time and place

Time and place

19 – 20  September at 9am to 5pm (registration starts 8.30 on 19th September)

The conference takes place in central Copenhagen in Center for Familieudvikling (Centre for Family Development), Østergade 5, 1st floor, 1100 København K

Registration fee and payment

Registration fee

Register before 1. July 2019 to benefit from the early bird rates. Conference registration covers both days of the conference.

DKK 2495,00 ex. VAT. for registrations before 01.07.2019. Use cupon code: “early bird papernow” at check-out. 

Later registrations DKK 2995,00 ex. VAT.

Students DKK 2195,00 ex. VAT. Use cupon code: “student papernow” at check-out.

Foreign participants please note: the conference price will show up including VAT in your shopping basket. However, only Danish participants are liable to pay Danish VAT, which is why we transfer the VAT back into your account upon registration.


From Denmark: 
You may pay the conference by card, EAN-number or bank transfer (you will receive an invoice):
• If you pay by card the amount will be withdrawn from your account immediately after your registration is complete.
• If you pay by EAN-number or invoice the payment is due a month prior to the conference.

From abroad:
You may pay the conference by card or invoice:
• If you pay by card the amount will be withdrawn from your account immediately after your registration is complete. You can pay with VISA, Mastercard, American Express or PayPal.
• If you pay by invoice the payment is due a month prior to the conference.

Prior to the conference participants will receive handouts for printing along with a detailed two-day schedule.

Coffee, tea, fruit and cake will be available. Lunch can be brought along or purchased at participant’s own expense at a nearby sandwich bar.

Conference organiser

Conference organiser

Center for Family Development (Center for Familieudvikling)


Register now