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Welcome to Our Newest Associate Chana Johnson, M.S. LGPC

July 17, 2019

Chana Johnson is our newest associate!  She has recently completed her M.S. degree in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling and is now licensed in Maryland…

Chana’s Relationship Repair Shop will be located in Owings Mills, Maryland starting in September.   She is also currently accepting new clients at the Laurel location on Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays.

Ms. Johnson has also completed Level 1 Gottman Couples Therapy Training and will continue to be supervised by Dr. Stephanie.

You can read more about Chana’s professional biography at http://drstephanieonline.com/associate-chana-johnson/

Chana Johnson, LGPC, NCC

“Adulting” Is it an option???

July 16, 2019

By Terrie Tyrie, LCPC

I remember graduating college and taking care of myself – housing, transportation, doctor’s appointments, and paying bills.  I would not have chosen to “adult”; however, I was unaware that I could choose not to be an adult!

Now it seems with this new noun – “adulting” – there is an option and a choice to become a responsible adult.

As a parent, now I have two twenty-somethings living at home.   I can see that we have given these children the ability to choose to adult. We tend to parent kids well into their twenties.

How do we stop this trend?  We let the consequences of our society happen at home.

If you take a look at how our society works, there are consequences for our actions. Such as, if you give an honest day’s work, you get paid. However, if you don’t…you do not get paid. The way to teach emerging adults this simple idea is to allow consequences for behaviors that are life learning skills at home.

For example, my client has kids home from college this summer and they are not contributing to the household chores. I asked them what is the consequence?  The client says, “they are adults I cannot restrict them like I did when they were teens.”

I say, “but you are still driving them places or lending them your car.  So, if you have to clean their dirty dishes then you do not have the time to drive them or you will have to use your car to go to the store since they did not pick up the item needed for dinner.”  Using consequences to teach lessons to our emerging adults is what it takes for them to begin to understand that “adulting” is not an option but a requirement.

If your child does not read his mail, they might forget to pay a bill.

If your child does not do their laundry, they may have to go to work in a dirty uniform.

If your child does not schedule an appointment to get their teeth cleaned, then they may get cavities and have to pay the bill.

Therefore, as parents we must stop reading their mail or washing their laundry or making their dentist appointments and allow the consequences that they must face if they do not “adult.”

If you need more help with parenting your adult children.. or children of any age, please Reach Out for help from one of our Relationship Repair Associates.

Fighting Against Lies … At Home and At School

July 8, 2019

Fighting against lies is something that I do every day.  What I mean by this is that helping people to change their negative cognitions about themselves is a daily therapy practice.   Most of the negative cognitions such as “I am not good enough” and other lies that people tell themselves started with someone being mentally or verbally mistreated by other humans.

From a spiritual standpoint, we can think of lies as sin.  Lies that tell us that we are “less than” as opposed to “beautiful and unique.”  Lauren Daigle sings about this in her song “You Say”

“I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I am not enough.  Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up.  Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low?  Remind me once again of who I am because I need to know…”

As a marriage and family therapist, I am concerned about how people are mentally and verbally mistreated within their private families and relationships.  In addition, lies and mental abuse also happen in our schools.  Every year, I have at least some children and families who are responding to school bullying and are being ostracized.

Tomorrow evening, I am attending the Howard County Schools forum on bullying.  It is at 6:30 pm at Hammond High School.  One of my primary concerns is that even in one of the most affluent and prominent school systems in the United States, there is not enough being done when it comes to bullying.

I have observed that usually the bully/perpetrator does not have to do anything to reconcile with the victim.  The child who engaged in an act of physical or verbal violence and his or her parents does not have to listen to or hear how it affected the victim.  Did it cause the victim emotional pain or trouble sleeping?  Stomach pain and doctor’s visits?  Were there academic problems that resulted?  How did this impact the child’s family and his or her parents?

In my own experience as a parent and as a family therapist, when children are the victims of bullying the school simply says there will be an investigation, but the parents are not told what the outcome is.  The bully does not have to ever have a real relationship with the victim or their family, so the bully can continue to objectify the victim.  Within the victim/perpetrator model, the child who engaged in an act of violence does not have to soften and see their victim as a human person with feelings and reactions.  The bully can continue to objectify, and the bully’s parents can continue to ignore whatever mental health problems the bully might be having that is causing them to perpetrate.

I want to find out why this has been the current response from the school system and what we can do to change it.

We can do better.  It does seem that the school principals are overwhelmed with many problems to handle.  So, if there are not enough resources to do better, then perhaps we can get parent volunteers to help.

Learning to respond to relationship complaints and provide repair (i.e. “you hurt me when you hit me or pushed me or called me a terrible name”) is a critical life skill.   This critical life skill allows people to more successful as a parent, as a future husband or wife, and in the workplace.  Non-defensiveness and providing relationship repair are primary skills that create successful marriages, friendships, families, and businesses!

What if we started requiring children to repair relationships with their classmates after incidents of bullying as part of the investigative outcome along with getting a detention or suspension or whatever else.

What are your concerns about bullying in the schools?

If you email me your questions and concerns to stephanie@drstephanieonline.com, I will take them with me to tomorrow night’s forum to vocalize and find out answers to as many things as I can.  By next week, I will write a report of what I have learned and next steps I will be taking as a mental health professional to advocate for best practices in our local schools…

All my heart,

Dr. Stephanie Weiland Knarr

 

 

 

 

We Are Hiring a PT Therapist For the Upper Marlboro Location

July 3, 2019

Dr. Stephanie’s Relationship Repair Shop is looking for a part time LCPC or LCMFT  therapist to join our Upper Marlboro, MD location. We serve individuals, couples, families, and children. This 1099 contract position has the best of Private Practice without all of the hassle of credentialing, EHR, marketing, billing and collection from insurance companies. We offer flexible hours in a private office setting. 

Job Type: Part-time

Experience:

  • Psychotherapy: 3 years (Required)

Education:

  • Master’s (Required)

License:

  • LCPC, or LCMFT (Required)

Language:

  • English (Required)

Work Location:

  • One location (Upper Marlboro, MD)

Hours per week:

  • 20-29 hours (Must be willing to work 8-10 evening/weekend hours minimum for this position)
  • Days/Times Available to Create Schedule:
  • Tuesdays 9am – 4:30pm
  • Wednesdays 9am – 8pm
  • Fridays 3pm – 8pm
  • Sundays 9am – 8pm
How to Listen So Others Will Love to Speak To You

June 25, 2019

Whew!  I advertised this LIVE training class on Facebook and had 57 viewers.  This is about a ten minute class and is focused on how to listen to a loved one or a coworker who is stressed, blue, angry, or grieving.

I hope you will take everything to heart and try out these new listening strategies in your relationship to build trust and closeness…

Please note, that none of the listening techniques are about giving advice, which is the mistake that many people make when someone shares something that is bothering them!

If you like this training video – please go my Facebook and share with others in your network!  The more likes and shares I get on Facebook, the more Facebook rewards me and I can keep providing free videos and training to all of you 🙂

If you need help with improving your listening and communication skills, please Contact Us to get an appointment with a Relationship Repair Associate…

Sometimes It’s the Little Things…

June 22, 2019

A small change in your relationship communication can make a big difference. I recommend that you not surprise the listener by blurting out your complaint!

Check out this video from a live feed I did yesterday on Facebook!

Never Ever Give Up

June 18, 2019

I recently had a new client reach out asking if it is too late for their relationship?

Here’s the straight truth.

Unless your partner will not even speak to you or interact with you, there may still be a chance.

If… and only if you change your reactions.

If you respond the way that you have typically responded in the past and they are saying that your past responses have pushed them away, then if you are more invested in saving the relationship than they are… you will initially have to do more of the work!

Sometimes this is hard for my clients, and I need to encourage them to put fairness aside.  …A lot of people sabotage their relationship improving because they get tripped out being worried about fairness.

I get it – if you start to make changes in your reactions, you are fearful that your partner might not also make changes and then makes you feel vulnerable and scared of being mistreated.

However, the reality is that if you are invested in still trying to save your relationship and your significant other is less invested and has one or both feet out the door, then you might have to stick your neck out.   You will need to make the first changes without even talking about your complaints or concerns about the relationship.  Just focus only on changing YOUR reactions!

Please keep in mind, I have seen many couples go through separation and sometimes even divorce, and then still get back together and have a happy relationship.  Anything is possible, and if you are not ready to give up … then don’t!!!

For a first step, putting in the work means really listening to what your partner has been saying and showing them that have you heard them?  How do you do that?

There are many ways you can improve your active listening and validation skills.  You can also think of one concrete, solid thing they have asked you to change or improve on as a person.  Change it.  Tell your partner that you are changing it.  Tell them you were an idiot to not have changed it sooner!!!  Then do the follow-through.

This is not actually about Never Giving Up On Your Relationship.  It’s About Never Ever Giving Up On Yourself!!!  Whatever improvements you make to your ability to listen, to repair relationship complaints, and to grow personally will always benefit you… even if not with this partner… it may help you in your life and your future relationships in ways that you never imagined.  In that case, you are taking your relationship crisis and finding the silver lining.  See what I mean?

***The only exception to the advice in this post is if you believe your significant other has been very abusive to you over a long period of time.  In that case, then you would be putting yourself at risk to keep trying to save your relationship with someone who has completely de-valued you and abused you throughout your relationship.  If you are confused about your relationship and need advice, you should schedule an appointment with a Relationship Repair Associate.

If you would like some more advice on listening, Register for my free class next Tuesday.

Free Eight Week Online Class to Improve Your Romantic Relationship – This Week Only!

June 17, 2019

Happy Couple University is available for you to learn and grow your relationship.  This is a great supplement to Couples Therapy because it teaches some of the things that you would learn in therapy, however in this case it will be free 😊

With a caveat – at least one person from your relationship (better if both) must be willing to join and engage in the Happy Couple University Facebook Group where you can engage with other couples who are learning how to improve their relationship.

The HCU Facebook Group is the premier place to learn about the premier Couples Therapy Events that are happening in the Metro area and nationwide.

Please Register Now.  The coupon code at Happy Couple University Checkout to have Zero Cost is FREEJUNEOFFER

I Am A Fortunate Woman…. What I Learned from My Dad

June 15, 2019

I recall being about 12 years old and getting dressed up in my Sunday best, but what I was getting dressed for was better than church!  I must have been excited because I still remember the dress I wore (lavender and white checks, just below my knees) … I was going on a sales call with my Dad to Iowa Beef Processing in Sioux Falls.  It was fun getting to have time just with my Dad during the drive (normally I shared his attention with four younger siblings).  I remember driving down a road (probably Hwy 91 where there are like no other cars from miles) and him teaching me the importance of giving good customer service.  I saw his business Weiland Doors go from being a very small operation in his wood shop to having a larger manufacturing floor that afforded our family a very nice lifestyle by the time I was in college.

To this day, I still have a problem with getting “burned up” when I am not getting good customer service.  In fact, it just happened today.  I start out calm and then when the business representative makes a lame excuse or doesn’t ask how the problem is negatively influencing my life, I am less than patient.  I think my reaction might be because I was taught to have much higher expectations!

I think the process should be to show the customer with a complaint value, ask questions to find out how they are being negatively influenced by a poor service or product performance, then validate them and find out what they would like for a resolution.  When I am the unhappy customer and all of this goes well, I am quite patient and polite since mistakes do happen.  However, when it does not, I can admittedly become agitated.

My observation is that my Dad is the same way, when he gets bad customer service or poor relationship repair, he will get aggravated.

What I know now is that my Dad also generally gave good customer service in his personal relationships.  With this, I feel very fortunate… I have come to recognize that many women do not feel their fathers listened to their concerns or feelings.

I also saw role modeling for marriage- I still remember my mother complaining to him about something (we were in the kitchen and I don’t recall the exact complaint) and my Dad said, “You’re right… that was thoughtless of me.  How can I do better?”

When I was in my 20’s, I was in a relationship in which there was no Relationship Repair.  It was awful.  I would persistently look for resolution and for my concerns to be listened to.  To no avail, so I eventually was smart enough to leave.  I knew there was a better way, and I was not going to tolerate not being valued on a regular basis from any man in my life!  I had my Dad as a role model.

Compared to a lot of people, my Dad is rich in life and in love.  Financially, he built a national company and in his family relationships he has a lot of people who love him dearly.  He has a satisfactory marriage and a lot of happy kids and grandchildren that just love to spend time with him.

It’s no surprise that I have been persistent about providing and expecting good relationship repair in my own personal life.  And when it comes to my professional life, my teaching of how to have a Customer Service Counter for your relationships (including Relationship Repair for your personal relationships), well… I first learned that from my Dad!

Happy Father’s Day weekend to a truly remarkable father.  I am so fortunate to be one of your daughters!

How to listen so others will LOVE to speak to you

June 14, 2019

My next FREE live class will be online via You Tube and Facebook on Tuesday, June 25 at 11:30 am – 11:45am.  Even if you are not able to attend live, please Register and we will send you the video link right after the class so you can watch it later

I will speak on how to listen so others will LOVE to speak to you.  I will be focusing on how to make sure that your loved ones (including your life partner and your kids) feel like they have a voice when they are sharing their thoughts and feelings with you.

For the sake of today’s post, I am going to focus on one aspect of the parent/child relationship that can help kids feel like they can speak to you and have a voice.  There are a lot of kids rebelling against their parents because there is not enough flexibility in the parent/child relationship. A couple of recent examples will show a parent who is listening and changing.

This week, I was working with one mom and her twelve year old daughter on the mother learning to give her children a few minutes to transition from a play or school activity to doing a household chore. The mother acknowledged that she usually expects her kids to jump up the second she commands them to do a chore.  If they do not comply then she gets angry and sometimes punitive.  The kids do not have a voice, and if they complain about needing some time and why they have to do the chore right now – the mother is unyielding.  We agreed that sometimes this mother will instead tell her daughter that she has a certain amount of time to accomplish a task  so that the child has some autonomy and flexibility.  Her daughter now has a voice, and her mother is listening to her.  Of course, there are other times when parents really do need their child to transition right into doing an immediate task.

Within this mother-daughter relationship, the daughter has also stopped opening up to her mother about other thoughts and feelings that she is having.  This is putting the daughter at risk for many problems during the next few years if the relationship dynamic does not change.  The mother needs to listen to her daughter’s needs and not shout commands in a rigid way, otherwise the daughter has anger about too much inflexibility in the parent/child relationship and does not want to open up.

This relationship is now being repaired and is on the mend…

In another parent-child relationship, a dad was recently describing to me that he feels if he tells his children do something, they should do it out of respect and because he said so.  His own parent was too strict, and it was definitely rubbing off now in his reactions.

I actually teach parents to have the one time rule.  With this rule, a child may give their opinion one time as to why they would like something different.  The parent will allow it without assuming the child is mouthing off, rather this is seen as listening to the child’s feelings and opinions.  The parent will consider the child’s request.  For example, perhaps the father tells his 9 year old to go to bed.  However, the child is allowed to say, “Aw, c’mon Dad – it’s Friday night and I am getting older, can’t I stay up until 10 pm?”  The parent will then consider the request and sometimes will be flexible, and say “Okay, that makes sense… yes, you can stay up a little later on Fridays.”

However, if the parent says, “No, not on Friday nights because you have soccer practice at 8 am on Saturday mornings.  You really do need to get to bed,” then the child needs to comply without further argument.  They get one chance to make their case and that is it.

Do you see how this gives children a sense of having a voice, being listened to, and sometimes feeling their voice can be heard?

For more tips on How to speak so others will LOVE to listen to you, please check out some of my upcoming blog posts and Register Now for my online class on June 25!

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Dr. Stephanie's Relationship Repair Shop
9660 Iron Leaf Trail Laurel, Maryland 20723
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