Academic journal article Journal of Marital and Family Therapy

Stepfamilies: The Step by Step Model of Brief Therapy

Academic journal article Journal of Marital and Family Therapy

Stepfamilies: The Step by Step Model of Brief Therapy

Article excerpt

Burt, M. S., & Burt, R. B. (1996). Stepfamilies: The step by step model of brief therapy. New York: Brunner/Mazel, 206 pp., $26.95.

This book by Mala and Roger Burt is just what the title says it is: a step by step guide to working with stepfamilies, using an approach developed by the authors. This is the second book on stepfamilies written by the Burts, who are both therapists and stepparents themselves. They have developed this brief therapy model, the "step by step" model, for working with stepfamilies based on the approximately 500 stepfamilies they have worked with over the years. Their model was developed, they say, based on what the families themselves have told them they needed. It is intensive, issue oriented, and often crisis related. It is refreshing that in their approach normalcy is assumed until evidence suggests otherwise.

The intended audience for this book is definitely practicing family counselors and therapists, all of whom can expect to have stepfamilies in their caseloads. The Burts collected demographic data and case notes on the 500 families as a basis for this book, and their practical examples, including direct quotes from the families and genograms to illustrate points, increase the readability and relevance of the book. They point out that the data were not collected as a research project, and they note that these families are a biased sample from their own private practice, most of whom are Caucasian and working- or middle-class. …

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