About Us

Stepfamilies can be challenging, we get that. Not only do we get that, we’ve lived it!

We created Modern Family Therapy of Denver to address the unique challenges of stepfamilies. As members of stepfamilies ourselves, we understand the different dynamics which exist in stepfamilies, and we’re passionate about supporting families as they change and grow. The various services we provide all share the same ultimate goal: strengthening relationships so members can thrive both inside and outside of the family environment.


Understanding differences.

Our approach begins with the important recognition that most stepfamilies are inherently different than first-time families in critical ways. (Consequently, many traditional family therapy methods are unhelpful and even damaging when working with stepfamilies/couples.) When families understand these differences, they often feel relief in knowing there are specific reasons (often beyond their control) that contribute to why stepfamilies experience more stress and can feel less cohesive than first-time families.

Consider the whole family.

We view the family as a whole system in which members (including ex-spouses) are interconnected and impact each other in profound ways. With this in mind, we identify which relationships within the family need to be strengthened and made more secure. We know that when specific relationships within the family are more secure the whole family is affected in positive ways, such as a general decrease in tension when the family is together.

Identify patterns and causes.

Often family members come to us when they feel stuck in the entrenched patterns of communication that result in frustration, pain, and disconnection. We work together to identify these patterns and their underlying causes. This process often leaves family members feeling more understood, accepted, and, most importantly, closer to one another. When we feel more understood and accepted, we are less angry and defensive, and patterns of communication can change naturally for the better.

Our theoretical approach.

Although we use a variety of therapy models to produce change, the foundation that guides our work is attachment theory and its essential component of bonding and connection. While there are frequently exceptions to this rule, bonds are typically not as strong with stepparents and step siblings as they are with biological parents and siblings. While this is absolutely normal, the vast majority of our clients long to be closer to (or have less conflict with) certain family members. We work to facilitate a process that encourages a level of bonding between members, making a positive impact on the whole family.

Is your Denver-based blended family experiencing growing pains?

We can provide you with tools and understanding to help ease the transition.

Contact us today

Our Team

Shelly L. Whitney, LCSW, MFTC

Registered Psychotherapist

Virginia Walton, MSW

Registered Psychotherapist