March 13, 2019
There is a lot going on at the Relationship Repair Shop right now!
Tomorrow I am giving a presentation to Capital Women’s Care and also to employees at Cisco in Maple Lawn, Maryland.
And…. drum roll… I am presenting an interactive workshop on May 18, 2019 at the Epworth United Methodist Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland. This workshop is free and open to the public, however there is limited seating… so get your tickets right away for the number of people in your group who want to attend – or come alone to learn as much as you can – whatever floats your boat…
Here is how you can Register yourself and your significant other or family members to improve your relationship satisfaction!!!
I will be excited to see my followers and clients there for more information and an opportunity to improve your Relationship Repair Counter! And, I am planning to ask Mr. Knarr if he will make an appearance and join me for a live demonstration of how we use Relationship Repair in our family!
See you soon…
March 11, 2019
My high today is that spring is in the air…
My low today is that I don’t have enough time to write a really long blog post with one of my detailed stories 🙂
So, I will just give you this little icebreaker idea to get some communication and connection going in your family if you are in need of more of that…
Many families and couples are looking for ways to have more communication, so I often suggest for people to add in “highs and lows” into their dinner conversation or their discussion before bed.
My eight year old loves doing “highs and lows” during family dinner so much that sometimes when I forget to start the process, he says “Sissy (his name for my twenty year old daughter), what are your highs and lows today?” Everyone in our family likes to be the General and the boss, but what order we go in for “highs and lows” is something that my eight year old always gets to decide!
For other ideas to connect, I also suggest that you go to the app store and download the Gottman Card Deck. It has a bunch of questions that you can use to get conversation going in the car, at dinner, or anytime that you want to improve your emotional relationship but need an icebreaker idea to get the ball rolling!
Enjoy… and if you need more practice and ideas for emotional connection in your relationships, please Contact a Relationship Repair associate today!
March 8, 2019
Last year, one of my close friends commented on how hard it is to be “in the trenches as a parent.” She went onto describe the hard work involved of teaching your children to do chores, to set the table, to learn manners, to be polite….
Some parents do ignore teaching some of these things, and according to my friend they are therefore not in the trenches. LOL. So true.
Alas, I AM IN THE TRENCHES, with my friends and my sisters and many of my clients. In fact, this week I just so happened to have more parents than usual who were in my office trying to figure out how to get their children to comply with their teachings! This is not easy; however, I feel I am equipped to giving parenting advice since my own children are thriving – and because I have walked the walk with many families to a healthier, better adjusted child.
Today, there are so many distractions to keep us from doing the hard work of parenting, and sometimes it’s easier in the short run to just ignore the bad behavior and keep things moving. I am sure there have been times I have been guilty of letting certain things go that perhaps I shouldn’t have …
I find that many parents struggle to figure out how much control to exert over their child. From a family systems perspective – there is an unhealthy rigid amount of control that parents can exert, and exerting unhealthy control creates risks for mental health problems (including problems in school, legal problems, substance abuse, and more) for our children. There is also a problem if we do not exert enough control over our children because they need structure and boundaries. Without enough structure, our children are also at risk for mental health symptoms.
Good Lord, what is a parent to do??? How do you know the right balance, and how do you figure out that balance while you are fixing lunches, doing laundry, running car pool, and paying bills? All while knowing that if you don’t get your parenting right, there could be long term consequences for your child. After all, no parent wants to feel they have messed up their child!
If you are in the trenches and feeling confused about how much to control your child’s life or about how to get your child to comply with your parenting expectations and rules, here are a few ideas.
1. Take a parenting assessment.
There is a parenting assessment I sometimes have parents complete online that helps me know if they are generally too strict or too permissive. A healthy balance somewhere in the middle is what we are going for when it comes to creating a well-adjusted child and a functional family. I am often coaching people on ways they can then move towards the middle of that parenting continuum.
2. Create and practice an easy method for enforcing limits.
In my own household, we have “being on restriction (from privileges).” I usually recommend some version of this to parents who are struggling with setting limits with their child. I have parents write down the privileges their child enjoys. In my house privileges are playing in the neighborhood with friends, television and electronic devices, and unhealthy treats and snacks. My go to parenting line is this: “I can see you are sad or don’t feel like it, however if you choose to not pick up your socks like I asked you to, you will be on restriction. I hope I want have to put you own restriction because I really don’t like having to do that.”
This usually gets compliance. Restriction from all privileges works better than taking away just one thing because American children can just go enjoy one of their other many privileges if we only take away one.
When giving a reminder and setting a limit does not get compliance, then I recommend giving restriction for a short time for a younger child (anywhere from 30 minutes – 2 hours for a younger child, depending upon their age) or longer for an older child (a whole day or half day if it is a weekend). During restriction there are extra chores and to be off restriction the child must give an apology and verbally accept responsibility for what they did wrong.
3. Read about unhealthy control of your child to learn what not to do and read about healthy parenting strategies to learn what to do
Some people were raised in an environment with unhealthy emotional control or parenting tactics, so this is where they learned what not to do; often, without realizing it! Many, many of my former clients have had to do the hard work of reading about what parenting behaviors are considered too controlling or shaming for their child. The book, “If You Had Controlling Parents” by Dan Neuharth is a good title to read in order to learn about parenting behaviors that might be considered emotionally controlling or unhealthy.
A great book to learn what to do is “Love and Logic “parenting. There is Love and Logic for preschool children and different age categories. Many of my clients have benefited from practicing the parenting approaches in this book series; which are basically how we can respectfully set limits with our children in the most loving way possible.
I hope some of these ideas will help you with your time in the trenches, because being a parent is not for the faint of heart! If you need some help do not hesitate to Contact one of our repair associates for an appointment.
March 6, 2019
Last weekend we went on a family ski vacation, and on Saturday night we went snow tubing in what the ski resort called the Northern Lights. We took turns going down the mountain with different members of the family… there were soothing lights changing on the mountain side and cool music playing. It was a neat atmosphere! At one point I flew down on the snow tube with my 17 year old son Luke, and at the bottom I was waiting for my husband and younger son. My seventeen year old started to run ahead, and I said “go on ahead” – his older sister and her boyfriend were just ahead of us… going up the mountain for another turn!
All of a sudden, Luke turned around and came back to me. He said, “It’s okay Mom, I’ll wait with you. Remember you taught me to never walk ahead of a woman, to always walk next to her.” (I had forgotten that I taught him this on some previous occasion, but I liked the sound of it!) I really didn’t mind if he went ahead for another turn down the mountain, but this little mother-son moment was pretty great!
Luke told me what a fun time he was having, and I thanked him for waiting with me. We chatted for a few minutes. Then we walked up the hill together with my husband and younger son. What a special moment we shared, and it makes me emotional now to just think of it.
I am definitely sensitive to people walking ahead of each other instead of next to one another. I was in a romantic relationship much earlier in my life in which my partner nearly always walked ahead of me. It was a way to devalue me and one of many ways in which I was neglected. In my years of experience, I have heard many women complain that men walk ahead of them. In all cases, the men were emotionally neglectful and insensitive of their partner. Friends do not walk ahead of each other. They walk together as companions.
Of course, there are times when someone might need to run ahead on occasion for some practical reason (rushing to the bathroom or to take in food quickly that the hostess is waiting on). I am speaking here of a pattern of walking ahead of someone for no real logistical reason.
I recall we had a neighbor from 2005-2010, and I always saw the husband walking ahead of his wife. Every single time I saw them walk in or out of their house to their automobile, he never once walked next to her. Isn’t that sad? I could imagine how that relationship was faring. Besides the fact that he was clearly showing his power and control over her, I can only imagine that later she was probably not wanting to get close to him for an intimate moment.
I sincerely hope that you are not being emotionally neglected or abused in your relationship. And, I also hope that you are not the one being insensitive to your partner by walking ahead. Because we only have so many moments on this earth to experience love, companionship, and conversation.
Make the most of those moments! And if you need help with changing an emotionally neglectful part of your relationship, please Contact a relationship repair associate for assistance!
March 4, 2019
I often have people ask me what they should do if their partner refuses to go to Couples Therapy, but they want to see changes in the relationship!
- Open invitation. Tell your significant other the date, time, and location of your first appointment. Explain you are going to see a Couples Therapist even if they choose to not attend because you want to learn what you can do to improve the relationship. Tell your partner that the therapist can likely be more helpful if they can hear both sides, but you accept right now they do not want to attend. Say, “this is an open invitation. I will give you the information for the first appointment and my future appointments. You are always welcome at any time if you ever change your mind.”
- Systemic change. Talk to your therapist about how to create systemic change in your relationship. Individual therapy can still be helpful. Your therapist can assist you with identifying positive changes that you can make – changes that might just have a domino effect to creating a more satisfactory relationship!
- Be persistent. I have helped many clients to be persistent about seeking change in their relationship. Therapy often helps people become crystal clear and less confused about the change they are seeking – in addition to why this change is important or necessary for their physical and emotional health. Armed with clarity and support, many clients have then pushed for change and weathered through conflict with their significant other until the change they wanted has occurred!
- Ringing the alarm bell. In some cases, people feel that their partner not going to Couples Therapy is the beginning of the end of the partnership! If you are truly at a breaking point, you can use therapy to help you discern the future of your relationship. If your partner refuses to ever go to any appointments and other changes you have tried are not working, you should ring the alarm bell! This means telling your partner, “I am considering breaking off this relationship (or filing for a divorce) because I am so dissatisfied in our relationship.” I have seen many people change their mind and go to Couples Therapy when their partner rings the alarm bell. But without the alarm bell, they did not go. However, you should only ring the bell if you mean it.
So… if you want a better relationship and your partner is dragging his or her feet…. there is no need to delay! You can schedule an appointment any time at www.therapyportal.com/p/drstephanie/
February 27, 2019
Tyra’s Relationship Repair Shop will be in Upper Marlboro, and Tyra will see clients there on Mondays 3-7 and on Thursdays 10-8.
However, she will also continue to see clients at Dr. Stephanie’s Relationship Repair Shop location in Laurel on Mondays 9-2, Tuesdays 5-8, Wednesdays 10-8, and Saturdays 9-3.
February 27, 2019
Some people find it difficult to ask for their needs to be met…And this week I happened to have several clients who reminded me of how hard it can sometimes be to make specific requests. I myself, used to have more problems with asking for help or telling someone what I would like.
In my case, this was because I had a lot of responsibility as a child. My mother was very sick when I was nine years old for a few years. I was the oldest of five children all under the age of nine, so you can imagine there was a lot to do! I remember being taught how to fry an egg, how to make my little brother’s baby food, and how to make simple dinners from a young age so that I could help my family. By the time I was twelve, I knew how to clean the entire house and make a full dinner while juggling playing with children!
Parentified children become so used to figuring things out on their own that as adults they often still struggle to ask for what they need in their relationships. It takes practice, goal-setting, and creating new habits to change this. I know first-hand that asking for help, love, or support was something I had to really work on in my life!
Here are some examples of simple requests that can be difficult for some people to ask for within their relationships:
- “Will you help me move some boxes out of the back room?”
- “Are you able to take care of this project and run with it for a while? I am swamped…”
- “Would you mind if I stopped by to spend time with you this weekend? I miss you.”
- “Will you please hold me and comfort me while I have a good cry?”
If these types of requests sound foreign to you, it could be that you were never really taught in your family to communicate this way. In fact, you might even feel angry and upset when you have a yearning or a need that does not get met. Even though you have not communicated the need or made a request from a loved one or a coworker…
If asking for what you need is difficult, there is probably a reason why. For example, many people who find it difficult to make requests in their relationships have a history of being neglected in their childhood or early adult relationships. In some cases, it is difficult for adults who had a lot of responsibility as a child (as I discussed above) to ask for their needs to be met. For some people, if there is low self-confidence then it is hard to feel worthy to make relationship requests.
If you struggle with making relationship requests, you are not alone. However, remember that you are worthy of healthy relationships and you are worthy of love. Being able to ask for what you need in a soft, caring way is a relationship skill that is a predictor for relationship success – so I hope you will work on this and find a way to have your needs met!
February 26, 2019
In order to service more clients, Tyra Berger, LGPC is moving her office to Upper Marlboro. The new address is at 9672 Marlboro Pike, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772.
Tyra will be seeing clients at her Upper Marlboro office on Mondays 3-7, Thursdays 10-8, and other possible appointment times are available by request. You can schedule an appointment anytime by going to the online scheduling link at http://www.therapyportal.com/p/drstephanie/
February 22, 2019
I am delighted to announce a collaboration between my Relationship Repair Shop and Capital Women’s Care of Howard County starting in March! I will be working with individuals, couples, and families at CWC on Wednesdays and Terrie Tyrie, LCPC my associate will be seeing clients there on Thursdays.
We are looking forward to servicing women and their partners who are struggling with depression, stress, relationship problems, or other emotional concerns. I am proud and thankful for this opportunity to repair more relationships – Capital Women’s Care services so many women and families in our local area! If you are looking for an OB/GYN practice – look no further – Capital Women’s Care was voted the Best of Howard County for the past several years!
I also look forward to providing education and information that will assist families to have more successful and satisfactory relationships in the Capital region. Please stay tuned for more information about short educational workshops that we will be hosting at CWC!
If Capital Women’s Care in Fulton, Maryland is a convenient location for you, please schedule a March appointment now by going to the online scheduling link at http://www.therapyportal.com/p/drstephanie/
February 21, 2019
I just had a session with a couple earlier today who was worked with two other marriage therapists before coming to work with me. We had a productive session, but only because I intervened and stopped defensiveness and criticism. When the husband or wife started to get off track to tell me about another problem before we had resolved the one at hand, I did not allow it!
It is important to me that people leave the session feeling that they have accomplished at least one thing – resolved at least one problem, healed at least one wound that they have experience in their relationship communication. Usually, we can resolve several problems in one session; however, my focus is one at a time. We can build on that… and it generally gives my clients hope!
At the end of today’s session, I asked the question “Does This Feel Different.” I got a resounding “YES!” from both partners. Yeeeessssss!
I am telling this story because this is a regular occurrence. People who have been to past therapy that didn’t work. If you have tried past therapy, and you are suffering in your relationships or with emotional symptoms because you are nervous to try a new therapist; please reconsider.
I get complaints all the time from clients who went to a previous therapist and that therapist did not even give them any confidence that they could ever get well or that their relationship satisfaction could drastically improve! Talk about a recipe for more depression!
For example, I have an individual therapy client now who was struggling with terrible symptoms of panic attacks, insomnia, and depression. Her previous therapist just listened and gave her no direction; nothing to try different between sessions. No intervention during the therapy session. No trauma prolonged exposure therapy. No cognitive affirmations.
This is unthinkable to me. I am getting paid to help people heal and diminish their symptoms and problems, not to stay the same week after week with no hope of improving!
I have heard many, many people tell me their therapist did not even give them hope that they could feel better! Some clients think if they are depressed or anxious then they are doomed to feel anxious and depressed, suffering with their “mental illness” forever!
No, No, No. You can be healed. Your symptoms can be relieved. I want the opportunity to try! I like the challenge, and if I can’t personally see you then I supervise my associates – and they come to me when a client is not making progress and improving, so we can figure out what the heck is going to help YOU feel better.
I hope you have not had a difficult experience with a previous professional, but if you have, please do not give up! You can schedule an appointment at anytime at this scheduling link: http://www.therapyportal.com/p/drstephanie/