Greetings and Welcome to my website!
My name is Julee Peterson.
This website is about helping blended families and stepparents across the nation. I am able to coach your family experience through my personal experiences and practical knowledge. Many times when joining a blended family it isn’t all you think it’s cracked up to be. The initial challenges are enormous, along with the responsibilities and expectations that all seem to revolve around the kids and step-kids. Giving up may be the easy route but when you look into it a bit further, the odds aren’t so bad. The book The Good News About Marriage by Shaunti Feldhahn and Tally Whitehead states, “It appears that remarriages do face a moderately higher divorce rate…but the ultra-high rates commonly cited and spread via the Internet appear, as far as we can tell after years of research, to be pure urban legend” (page 89-90). With that said, it’s my goal to help families blend better and beat the perceived odds.
I also have a private practice throughout California, via Zoom, where I focus on conflicted marriages and high conflict couples using Emotionally Focused Therapy. In this way, I am able to help Blended Families sort through the unique dynamics, transitions and emotions that come with newly formed family relationships. My expertise lies with teens, children, couples, and family communication. I work from an Attachment Theory, strengths-based belief where I help clients realize their own strengths and help guide them toward the changes they wish to see in their lives and relationships.
Those are the basics of my professional background.
My interest in Blended Families and came from becoming part of a Blended Family and noticing a lack of information and guidance for blending smoothly. All of the books I read (with the intentions of side-stepping mistakes) warned what NOT to do and didn’t include what TO DO, so I made the mistakes I wanted to avoid. This is where my “practical knowledge from personal experience” comes from. Frustrated and disillusioned, I entered graduate school determined to find a way to help blended families build their relationships, heal the hurts, and find a better way to handle relating with each other. I want the norm for Blended Families to be peace and connection as a household standard rather than the stigma of strife and dissension. I’m also on the side of not adding issues to issues and quibbling about whether to call your family a Blended-Family, Step-family, or Mixed Family. Here’s my thoughts on that.
I married a widower who had twin 14-year-old sons and after a few years I began wishing the boys “Happy Anniversary” as well as my husband because I realized it was taking the same amount of effort, in different ways, that I put into my marriage to build strong, respectful and peaceful relationships with them. It wasn’t always fun, but I learned to embrace the challenge and accept the unique blended family dynamics and used a growth mindset to help shift the tides to calmer waters. That was 11-years-ago and with time passing, kids maturing, adding to our family with a baby girl in 2012, and the consistency of keeping my expectations, and efforts, high and emotions low, our family has grown and flourished.
In the beginning, being part of a blended family felt unfamiliar and overwhelming on many levels: effort, responsibility, logistically, financially, relating and learning to live together. You may be saying to yourself, “This is not worth the effort!” I encourage you to hang-tight and get some guidance through the stages of blended family formation. Finding a pathway to peace, managing the dynamics and emotions can seem impossible, however; there are specific skills that can be taught to help tackle the task ahead. It takes hard work, but feeling outcast and un-connected from who you want to be connected with can feel excruciating.
I believe every blended family deserves an opportunity to thrive and create their unique way of blending, traditions, family cohesiveness and connection – or not. It’s my privilege and passion to help clients work toward the belonging they search for, and to gain an improved sense of direction in their lives. I am a certified Blended Family Coach and Step Family Coach, I hope we get the chance to set goals, create solutions and blend your family!
Researching ways to help yourself are the first steps toward change. Getting support for yourself and your blended family (or first family) can aid in reducing the struggles in your relationships and life. For more support, please visit my services page to make an appointment, or simply use the contact me form. Please explore the rest of the website where I answer frequently asked questions and provide a blended viewpoint through my blog.