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Happy Steps

Welcome to Happy Steps, the UK's only research based stepfamily resource centre.  Stepfamilies are now the fastest growing family type in the UK. It's estimated that 1 in 3 of all families are now stepfamilies. Despite this, there is very little help and support available. Happy steps has been designed to gather together a whole range of services to help families and individuals strengthen their stepfamilies and to provide training and tools for organisations and family professionals.


We're constantly adding to the site to offer as much support to stepfamilies as possible, so do come back from time to time to see how we've changed! You might want to take a look at the recent additions which include a new working partnership with Relate; new accredited partners, trained in Happy Steps philosophy and courses; and a page dedicated to businesses run by stepfamilies across the UK that need your support.


I hope you find what you're looking for on the site - if not, please drop us a line and tell us how we can make it even better!


Dr Lisa Doodson, CPsychol, AFBPsS, SFHEA


Support for Stepfamilies


  • Are you're struggling to cope with your stepfamily dynamics?
  • Are you confused about your role in the family?
  • Want to know how to deal with your stepchildren better?

Research has shown that most new stepfamilies can really benefit by getting support and help with common stepfamily issues.


Here's some recent feedback ......


'I've put into practice many of the tips/approaches you shared on the course, some of which I knew already, but had become entrenched in negative patterns and it's paying great dividends. My partner and I are much happier and as a result my relationship with his children has returned to being happy and enjoyable for all of us.'         JL May, 2010


'Lisa has offered me invaluable, friendly support and has given me achievable coping strategies to deal with what felt at times like an unchangeable situation. Things looked much brighter immediately after seeing her for the first time and she has made me feel much calmer and happier than I have done in ages'           SH, London March 2011


Dear Dr Doodson

 I hope you don't mind my unsolicited email but I just want to say Thank You! I'm a 24 year old women with a full-on and full-time career, no children of my own (step type D) and have been with my my partner 3 years and has two children from a previous relationship and I have been a step mum (of sorts) for the past 3 years. Of these past 3 years I have gone through emotions that I have never experienced before with having stepchildren and I have not really been able to relate to anyone or talk to others who have been in the same position. A mixture of anxiety, despair in needing advice and guidance to try and understand what I'm feeling and how to cope with those feelings led me to your book How to be a Happy StepMum. Reading the first few pages- I actually cried (mixture of relief and joy)! I felt like I was reading about me- finally, women that I could relate to and work towards being able to understand why I feel the way I do sometimes and that it's completely normal to feel that way. There is light at the end of the tunnel!         

                                                                                       May 2015


We can help by offering:- 


  •                  - A Step Parenting workshop
  •                  -  A Self Help Guide
  •                  -  1-1 or Couple Coaching
  •                  -  Mediation
  •                  - How to be a Happy Stepmum book


    Support and Education for employees

    Research on stepfamilies has shown that stepparents frequently suffer from greater stress, anxiety and depression than biological parents. Clearly this can and will affect them in their day to day life - both at home and work. However, there is evidence that if they are given targeted support and advice their wellbeing  improves significantly.

    Happy Steps has developed training specifically designed for employees in the workplace. Whether you're looking to supplement your employee assistance programmes with 1-1 coaching, or whether you want to consider offering a lunchtime seminar do give us a call to find out more.


    Reference sites are available on request. Here's a quote from one of our recent clients: 

    'Lisa was very professional and knowledgeable on the subject and provided extremely useful advice in the seminar.  The seminar was informative and interactive and we received very positive feedback from participants.' - Sarah Boddey, European Head of Diversity, Barclays Wealth, May, 2011


    Support for Family Professionals

    • Do you need cost effective training on stepfamily specific issues?
    • Are you looking for advice on how to help support stepfamilies?
    • Do you want to train your staff to run stepfamily workshops?


    We can help with a range of services designed specifically for the Charitable and Public sectors. For more information just select one of the services below.

    Workshop for family professionals              Family Psychology Consulting



    Stepparenting Workshops                                        


    We have experience in working with a wide variety of organisations including local authorities, International Corporations and National Charities. If you would like further information please contact us at

    Latest News....


    Divorce Recovery

    - Free places on workshop

    We are currently looking for individuals who have experienced a divorce or separation and are finding it hard to recover and move on with their lives. An exciting new programme has recently been developed and we are looking for individuals who are interested in being one of the first to experience it. As part of this trial, we want to test the effectiveness of the programme and as such, will be asking participants to complete a series of questionnaires. Psychologists from Regent’s University London and University College London are carrying out this research.


    The programme is relevant for any individual who has experienced separation or divorce – whether through a marriage or a cohabiting relationship - whether recently or at any time in the past.


    If you are interested in finding out more with no obligation please contact Dr Lisa Doodson ( Please pass this on to any friends or colleagues who you think may be interested in this opportunity.

    New Book Launch
    I'm delighted to announce that my new book: Understanding Stepfamilies - An integrated Approach for Therapists and relationship professionals, was launched in April 2016. The book has been written to support professionals in their work with stepfamilies. You can now order from amazon.

    Couple / Individual Coaching
    If you're finding things difficult at the moment why not talk to an expert? Appointments are available in Central London or Berkshire. Skype is also available as an alternative option. For more info contact


    Couple Workshops
    The Happy Steps workshops for stepfamilies are a great way to learn more about stepfamily dynamics and meet others in the same position.  Please email me for more info or to reserve a place on the next workshop planned for May 20th 2017.
    Great resource for stepmothers
    You might want to consider grabbing a copy of my first book - How to be a Happy Stepmum. Check out Amazon for the latest reviews (I don't want you to think I'm biased!)
     Dr Lisa Doodson
    Happy Steps has been developed by Dr Lisa Doodson who is a chartered psychologist specialising in stepfamily dynamics. As a stepmother herself she understands the unique demands of being part of a stepfamily, and is therefore determined to use her skills as a psychologist to develop services and tools specifically designed for stepfamilies. In addition to her work on Happy Steps, Lisa has written a book, How to be a Happy Stepmum, published by Vermillion, based on her research and  works at Regents University, London where she is the Associate Dean for Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.
    Click here if you want to contact Lisa