Be StepWise was founded in 2009 by Alison O’Mahony in response to a growing demand from step-parents for information and support for their family life. Our services have been specially designed for the unique nature of a step-family. Step-parents want discreet support. They want advice that is relevant to their own family situation.
Alison O’Mahony was brought up in Gloucestershire with her four younger brothers. She has fond memories of her early childhood and draws on her own good experiences from her early years. But when she was a teenager, her mother died very suddenly. Her father met her step-mother six months later. Alison’s father and step-mother had a daughter, Alison’s half-sister. Alison had great difficulty accepting a step-mother. Alison’s step-mother found her teenage step-children a challenge.
Alison went to Art College and studied jewellery design. She took a job in high-end jewellery retail in London, becoming the store manager a year later. She later joined an international firm of jewellery manufacturers and worked abroad for some 8 years. Her experience enabled her to become a management consultant with a large London firm. She ran and spoke at conferences, managed a department and consultancy clients, and designed and ran training programmes for senior managers in leadership. Alison developed into a coaching specialist. During this time Alison spent time with a man who was getting divorced andwho had children of his own. She was an unwelcome step-mother.
Later, Alison met her husband who had been widowed nine months before, and gave up paid work to become a step-parent to his two young children. Later she had two children of her own.
While her children attended school Alison trained as a parenting practitioner. She ran and developed The Nurturing Programme for parents at her children’s school. Realising that support for step-families was scarce, Alison trained as a Systemic Family Therapy practitioner at the Institute of Family Therapy, graduated from Birkbeck University London and then started her own business: Be StepWise.
Alison has had experience working as a Family Therapy Practitioner in the NHS CAMHS Dartford, Wimbledon Guild (a charity in South West London), Newminster Children’s Centre in Merton and a Private hospital for acute eating disorders in South London.
Her step-family are very close and this year she is very pleased to be becoming a step-grand-mother.
Founder of Bestepwise
Alison is an experienced and expert specialist step-parenting practitioner. She holds a Post -Graduate Certificate in systemic practice with families and couples, is a trained parenting group facilitator, is a qualified coach and mentor. In a previous career she was a management consultant. She was a step-child, has four brothers and a half-sister and became a step-mother to two children when she married and has two children of her own.
Kim is a highly qualified and knowledgeable in the field of post-divorce families and blended families. She is a Chartered Counselling Psychologist registered with the Health Professions Council. She is a coach specialising in relationship difficulties. A step parent for 25 years and mother of 2 children, she understands first-hand the complexities, difficulties and joys of blending two families.
Be StepWise works in schools. The OFSTED framework highlights specific standards that schools are measured by in relation to parents. These include: 1) The effectiveness of the school’s engagement with parents and carers. 2) The effectiveness of this engagement in promoting learning and well-being and 3) the effectiveness with which the school promotes community cohesion. Nowadays parental support is very likely to mean step-parenting support. We can negotiate the scale and the type of service to be delivered. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Be StepWise works with businesses. Organisations understand that stress and problems at home cause time off work, loss of productivity and a demotivated workforce. We contract with firms to provide support for their staff. We also provide talks and seminars for organisations in lunch-time and evening groups. “Very interesting.” “All very informative.” “The talk had clearly been geared to us and that was impressive.
TV & Media
Be StepWise is proud to be a resource for media companies. We think that more people should know about step-parenting dilemmas and how it affects society. Be StepWise have worked on TV with: The Kirsty Allsopp and Phil Spencer show, The Danielle Lineker ‘My new step-family’ TV production, CPL productions, Channel 5 and Betty Productions Ltd. And Radio stations: London radio, Jnet Radio, Radio Nottingham.
Who We Are
Be StepWise associates are independent professionals who have come together to work as a team because we have an interest in, and special empathy for, step-families. Professionally we are counselling psychotherapists with additional qualifications in coaching, parenting and occupational psychology.
Be StepWise professionals are registered with professional bodies. These bodies have standards of conduct and codes of ethics. The standards include requirements for professional supervision, continuing professional development and conforming to rules governing confidentiality and data protection.
what we do
People talk to us about every aspect of step-family life before starting a step-family and before meeting their partner’s children. When they are planning to move in together; how to settle down; when things are not as expected; problems with the children, the extended family, your partner; anything else to do with blending a family.
Be StepWise provide a service on-line and in person.
• On-line – website, a blog, videos, articles and an email response service.
• In person – face-to-face help for step-parents, individually, as a couple or a family at workshops, seminars or events.
• Skype or telephone services for those who we can’t meet in person.
How We Work
Our Commitment To You
We are a team of qualified, experienced professionals who have great empathy with step-parenting and step-family life. We will meet your specific requirements carefully and sensitively.
In a step-family there are differing perspectives on everything. There can be a lot of hurt feelings due to the amount of change step-families go through. These can drive disruptive and upsetting behavior. We are able to put challenging behavior into context. Once things are contained, new ways of being and thinking become possible.
Be StepWise are here mainly to help step-parents and in so doing help the whole family.