Huffington Post Stonewalling

This Marital Behavior Is Not Only Annoying, It’s A Sign You Might Divorce

I contributed the following to a Huffington Post article about stonewalling, one of Joh Gottman’s Four Horsemen:

“2. Be aware of the physical reaction you have before you stonewall.

“If you’re a stonewaller, you usually have an internal physiological reaction (increased heart-rate or rapid breathing, for instance) and an external reaction right before you close up: Maybe you physically turn away from your partner or close your eyes and deeply sigh. These are all signs your partner needs to start paying attention to. Discuss what you do during times of distress so you both can recognize the stonewalling warning signs.” ― Danielle Kepler, a therapist in Chicago, Illinois”

You can read the full article here.

Feeling Lost

When You Feel Lost

I contributed the following to a PsychCentral article about feeling lost and ways out.

“You also might feel like you’ve lost sight of the person you want to be, said Danielle Kepler, LCPC, a clinical therapist based in Chicago, Ill., specializing in adults who are struggling with anxiety, depression, and life transitions, as well as couples with relationship issues.

It also can feel like you’ve always felt this lost, and you always will, Kepler said. “You might struggle to remember a time when you felt like your ‘old self.’” You may “see no way out of it.”

Thankfully, there is a way out. There are many ways. Consider giving these a try.

Reflect on your values. What matters to you? What’s important? Ferreira suggested working through a values worksheet (which you can find online). “Pick one or two values that resonate with you and do something that is in line with that.” She shared this example: One of your values is justice, so you start volunteering at a local non-profit.

Kepler suggests clients think of someone they greatly admire. This might be a mentor, colleague, or friend. She asks them to identify the specific qualities they admire. For instance, maybe you admire your colleague’s friendliness and kindness and ability to assert themselves, she said. “These are often values that the client themselves feel are important; it’s just somewhat easier to identify them in other people than themselves.”

Read the entire article here.

Huffington Post Contribution

6 Signs You’re In A Band-Aid Relationship (And What To Do About It)

I contributed the following to a Huffington Post article about signs you may be in a relationship that you might not really see going anywhere and that you are just staying in it due to comfort.

“Below, experts offer six signs you may be in a Band-Aid relationship and what to do about it.

1. You stop trying to fix the relationship.

You used to try to work on the relationship. These days, though, you’re more inclined to shrug off your problems; your requests have fallen on deaf ears so often, you figure, why bring it up again? That’s a huge red flag, said Danielle Kepler, a therapist in Chicago, Illinois.

“It might seem like you’re just compromising by not bringing it up, but when you don’t express your wants and needs to your partner, you are creating a win-lose situation,” Kepler told us. “It will slowly build up resentment between you two.”

If you’re in a Band-Aid relationship, ask yourself these questions before making any serious decisions.

2. If you were trapped on a deserted island and got to bring someone with you, would your partner be your first choice?

It may sound like a silly hypothetical question, but your answer says a lot about the state of your relationship, Kepler said.

“Who you choose should be someone that you genuinely want to spend time with and care about, someone that you can spend days on end with, comfortably,” she said. “If your ‘desert island person’ isn’t your partner,  you might want to consider how strong your bond is right now.”

Read the entire article here.

Huffington Post Contribution

10 Ways To Ruin Your Marriage Right Before Bed

I contributed to the following article for the Huffington Post about ways couples ruin their marriage right before bed:

Huffington Post Contribution“7. You tell your partner to sleep on the couch.

“Ever get angry at your partner and say to them ‘I don’t want you to sleep in the bed tonight. You have to sleep on the couch’? Regardless of the argument, you want to be able to say to your partner (through words or actions) that you still love them despite your problems. This can be as simple as both going to bed in your shared bed or holding hands as you fall asleep. By taking ownership of the bed and kicking your partner out to the couch, you’re turning away and creating physical and emotional distance between both of you.” ― Danielle Kepler, a therapist in Chicago, Illinois”

Read the entire article here.

Signs Couples Should Go To Therapy

There’s Only One Sign A Couple Should Go To Therapy

I contributed to the following article for the Huffington Post about the signs a couple should consider going to therapy:

Signs Couples Should Go To Therapy

Image by Huffington Post

“It gives you a safe, open space to address complaints you haven’t voiced to your partner.

“Take a behavior that six months ago was slightly annoying to you, such as your partner forgetting to turn off the lights before leaving the house. At some point, you might start to think, ‘I bet other people’s spouses remember to turn off the lights and aren’t so wasteful.’ Seek out couples therapy before you get to the point. You never want to unfavorably judge your partner’s behavior and compare it with real or imagined alternatives.” ― Danielle Kepler, a therapist in Chicago, Illinois”

Read the entire article here.

Huffington Post Contribution

Your Marriage Could Be In Trouble If You Resort To This During Arguments

I contributed to the following article for the Huffington Post about ways to reduce your defensiveness in arguments with your partner:

“3. Instead of planning your next counterargument, actively listen to what your partner is saying.

“When someone is ranting and raving, it’s easy to plan your mental counter attack, but when you do that you are no longer listening to them and the message they’re trying to get across might get lost. Try to postpone your agenda and listen for points that make sense to you. Then let them know what makes sense. “ ― Danielle Kepler, a couples counselor in Chicago, Illinois”

 

Read the entire article here.

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.