My Office--Suite 928

Modern & Upscale Office in Illinois

I was interviewed about office design for therapists for Freshpractice.design Blog:

“1) HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE STYLE OF YOUR THERAPY OFFICE?

I’d describe the style of my office as modern industrial. My office building was built in the late 1800s with Romanesque architecture and I wanted to keep some of that theme in my office. I plan to take photographs of some of the architecture in the building and frame them as wall art soon.

My Office--Suite 928

My Office–Suite 928

2) WHAT VIBE DO YOU HOPE YOUR OFFICE GIVES YOUR THERAPY CLIENTS?

I am hoping my office gives client a soothing but interesting vibe.

I feel most at ease when offices are free of clutter so I try to keep that to a minimum by having a paperless office and having lots of storage.

My old office space was very dark so I hope my office also gives clients a light and energized feeling.

3) DO YOU HAVE ANY CREATURE COMFORTS IN YOUR OFFICE FOR CLIENTS?

I have offer clients coffee, water, and tea and have a blanket for clients to use if they get cold. I also have a Tangle ‘fidget’ for those clients that need something to play with to stay focused.

I also have a charging station for clients to charge their cell phones.

Since I often give clients worksheets or writing prompts I have clipboards and pens as well. I also have a mini fridge for snacks/drinks but that’s just for me.

4) WHO DESIGNED AND DECORATED YOUR YOUR THERAPY OFFICE? DID YOU GET HELP FROM PROFESSIONALS, COLLEAGUES, FRIENDS, OR FAMILY?

I initially asked other therapists on Facebook to show me pictures of their offices for inspiration but quickly got overwhelmed. I normally am against hiring outside help, but I recognized early on that decorating was not my strength.

I hired a local designer who was able to help me come up with a vision, scoured the internet and provided me with 4 or so options for each piece that I ultimately picked out and bought myself.

I also hired a painter/someone to put together my furniture. This saved me lots of time since I did not want to stop seeing clients in my other office while I was decorating.”

Read the entire interview here.

11 Qualities

11 Qualities Every Truly Happy Relationship Has In Common

I contributed to the following article for the Huffington Post about qualities every couple should develop in order to have a long and happy relationship:

11 QualitiesFriendship

“Couples who are good friends know each other well, give each other the benefit of the doubt and are fond of one another. When you take the time to strengthen your friendship, you’re more successful long-term. Making friendship a priority will help you weather any storm that comes your way.” ― Danielle Kepler, a therapist in Chicago, Illinois”

Read the rest of the article here.

6 Tips For Surviving The Holidays If You Don’t Like Your In-Laws

I contributed to the following article for the Huffington Post about tips for surviving the holidays if you do not get along with your in-laws:

“Consider this present a peace offering.”

“Create a sense of solidarity with your partner

Tense situations with in-laws and spouses often occur in marriages and sometimes you may wonder where your partner’s allegiance lies. You both have been part of another family for a long time; that family has its own holiday traditions and customs. A turf war between the spouses and in-laws may ignite, since both parties want the partner’s attention during the holidays. One way to end the war is to create a sense of ‘we-ness’ with your partner so you’re both more inclined to side with each other rather than the parents. This may mean having to hold your ground and stand up for your spouse. It may seem harsh, but slowly parents will adjust to reality and accept that spouses comes first. Remember which team you are on. You are a spouse first and a son or daughter second.

― Danielle Kepler, a therapist in Chicago, Illinois “

Read the rest of the article here.

Apologies 101: What You Need to Know About Giving and Receiving an ‘I’m Sorry’

I contributed to the following Everup.com article about how to give an effective apology:

““An apology is really just you accepting some responsibility for your part in the argument,” explained Danielle Kepler, LCPC, a clinical therapist based in Chicago, IL. “It shows you care about the relationship and that you recognize what you may have done wrong.” An effective apology also makes some type of “repair attempt.

Kepler also said some of us hesitate to apologize because we fear the other person’s reaction, especially if emotions are still running high. “You shouldn’t apologize until the other person is in a place where they can listen to it and hear it,” she said. So if you’re fighting with your S.O. after coming home late without calling three nights in a row and insults are flying, it might be wise to wait until everyone calms down before delivering an apology.

Kepler also noted that apologies aren’t always reciprocal–and we shouldn’t expect them to be. “When you do ask someone to forgive you, just prepare that you may not get that ‘I’m sorry, too’ response right away … or at all. You’re not owed an apology back.

“I’m sorry you’re upset”—This isn’t an apology that expresses sincerity. “You’re apologizing for someone else’s feelings and it’s very condescending,” Kepler said.”

Read the rest of the article here.

This Common Behavior Could Easily End Your Marriage

I contributed to the following article for the Huffington Post about ways to avoid criticism, one of John Gottman’s 4 Horsemen:

Couple with back to each other in forest

Erase the words “always” and “never” from your vocabulary.

“Saying your partner ‘always’ does something or ‘never’ does something will most likely get them on the defensive quickly. This turns your complaint into a character flaw or defect of theirs. Instead, keep your complaints specific and about a certain incident. That way, your partner is more likely to listen and be responsive.” ― Danielle Kepler, a therapist in Chicago, Illinois 

Read more of the article here.

 

7 Fights Couples Tend To Have Right Before A Breakup

I contributed to the following article for the Huffington Post about common fights couples tend to have before a breakup:

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The “I’m sorry you feel that way” fight

For an apology to mean anything, it has to be genuine. When you tell your spouse “I’m sorry you feel that way” after you get into a heated argument, you’re dismissing his feelings and essentially issuing a non-apology apology, said Danielle Kepler, a therapist based in Chicago, Illinois.

“Instead of reducing the tension, this sort of apology comes off as condescending and contemptuous,” she said. “Apologizing for your partner’s feelings does not convey that you understand where they are coming from. Failed repair attempts are another sign of a possible unhappy future.”

Read more of the article here.

 

4 Things You’re Likely Doing That Will Eventually Kill Your Marriage

I contributed to the following article for the Huffington Post on how to avoid Gottman’s 4 Horsemen patterns that eventually ‘kill’ your marriage:

HP4Predictors

Criticism:

Think about what’s really bothering you before criticizing your spouse. 

“Before approaching your partner, take a few moments to figure out what the issue you need to bring up actually is. Then, take time to change your criticism into a complaint: Instead of saying ‘You always leave your shoes on the floor,’ say, ‘I’d appreciate it if you put your shoes in the closet.’” — Danielle Kepler, a therapist based in Chicago, Illinois

Contempt:

Make a point to show how much you value and appreciate your partner. 

“Contempt develops when either partner feels unvalued. Make it a habit to tell your partner one thing they do each day that you appreciate. It can even be something small, like making you coffee in the morning.” — Danielle Kepler

Defensiveness:

Try to be sympathetic toward your partner. 

“Slow down and listen for something, anything, you can agree with that your partner is saying. Try to take responsibility for a small part of the issue. ‘I see your point’ goes a long way.” — Danielle Kepler

Contempt:

Come up with a safe word that conveys your need for a break.

“When you’re starting to feel overwhelmed, communicate it to your spouse with a signal. Once you are both calm, continue the discussion.” — Danielle Kepler

Read more of the article here.