Chestnut Hill College Psychology Professor Co-authors Book on Stepfamily Therapy 

Release Date: Thursday, July 28, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PA –Scott Browning, Ph.D. professor of psychology at Chestnut Hill College and Elise Artelt, a licensed marriage and family therapist from Wayne, Pa., have written a new book, “Stepfamily Therapy: A 10 Step Clinical Approach” (APA Books, 2011). The new publication integrates clinically validated interventions within an original theoretical framework for stepfamily therapy.

Over the last 30 years, systemic approaches to family therapy have been largely successful at treating even the most intractable problems in family functioning. However, stepfamilies have long proven a particular challenge for family therapists. Recent research has confirmed that, given their unique dynamics, stepfamilies are vulnerable in a way that is distinct from typical “first-families,” leaving them often resistant to traditional family therapy techniques.

Throughout the course of this book, the authors envision the stepfamily as comprised of subsystems, a series of overlapping relationships between individuals. This key insight enables clinicians to divide the stepfamily into more manageable units and plan treatment accordingly. The authors guide readers through their 10-step model, emphasizing techniques that range from the conceptual--determining the unique structure of the stepfamily to help guide treatment--to more concrete interventions, from identifying and encouraging empathy, to identifying and challenging unhelpful beliefs, and assisting in work with co-parents

Through the course of the book, the importance of extended family members is stressed, as is the necessity of understanding and valuing racial, ethnic, and sexual diversity within stepfamilies. The ultimate goal is positive communication between family members, with subsystems that are fully integrated into a functioning and happy stepfamily.

Scott Browning, Ph.D., is a professor in the doctoral clinical psychology program at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia and has been a leader in stepfamily therapy both nationally and internationally for over twenty years. As a scholar, teacher, and clinician, Dr. Browning has explored the intricacies of treating stepfamilies and has provided advanced training in the treatment of stepfamilies to clinicians and graduate students both nationally and abroad. He is the author of numerous chapters and articles on the topics of stepfamilies, empathy, codependency and family therapy training practices.

For more information, or to schedule an interview with Dr. Browning, please contact Lisa Mixon at or 215.753.3664.