Dr. Patricia Papernow is widely recognized as one of the world’s foremost experts on “blended families.” She is entering her fifth decade of working with, learning about, and teaching others about stepfamily relationships.
Dr. Papernow provides training and consultation all over the U.S. and internationally to clinicians, as well as to guidance counselors, pediatricians, nurse practitioners, clergy, lawyers, judges and others who are often on the front lines with stepfamily challenges.
She is the 2023 recipient of the American Family Therapy Academy’s Award for Distinguished Contribution to Family Therapy, and the 2017 recipient of the Award for Distinguished Contribution to Family Psychology from the American Psychological Association’s Couple and Family Therapy Division.
Dr. Papernow’s second book, Surviving and Thriving in Stepfamily Relationships: What Works and What Doesn’t, has been called “the best book ever written on the subject,” “a remarkable achievement,” “a lifesaver,” and “an incredibly good read.” It is full of both practical evidence-informed guidance and deeply moving clinical vignettes. Written for both helping professionals and stepfamily members and helping professionals it continues to receive rave reviews from both.
Her third book, The Stepfamily Handbook: From Dating to Getting Serious, to Forming a “Blended Family, co-authored with Karen Bonnell, combines Karen’s considerable skills as a post-divorce co-parenting coach with Patricia’s deep knowledge of stepfamilies. Together they have created a practical step-by-step guide that takes recoupling parents and their partners from falling in love, to moving wisely toward more commitment, to creating a successful stepfamily.
Dr. Papernow is also the author of over 30 professional articles and book chapters. She is frequently interviewed by national and local media. Her first book, Becoming a Stepfamily, is also widely recognized as a classic in the field.
Dr. Papernow is the Director of the Institute for Stepfamily Education and a psychologist in private practice in Hudson, MA. She now devotes most of her time to supervision and training. As a clinician, Dr. Papernow draws primarily from the Internal Family Systems model, also integrating her training in couple and family therapy, Gestalt therapy, attachment, trauma, interpersonal neurobiology, preventive mental health, and learning differences.