Welcome Kiley Remington

Welcome Kiley Remington

The Cedar Rapids Relationship Center is excited to announce the addition of a graduate student from Mount Mercy University to our office.  Kiley is currently in her final year of the Marriage and Family Therapy Program.  She will be working out of our office to gain experience providing therapy for clients.  She will be working under the supervision of Jennifer Gage at our office while also receiving supervision through her professor at Mount Mercy.

This is a great opportunity for those in our community who do not have mental health insurance or would prefer not to go through it.  Kiley will be seeing clients for the flat fee of $10 a session.  If this is something you are interested in, do not hesitate to contact her and set up a time to come in.

Q: What does the first meeting look like?

Q:  What does the first meeting look like?

After doing therapy for awhile you start to notice a trend in the questions and the concerns that clients have before therapy even starts.   I am hoping to address some of those here.

Q:  What does the first meeting look like?

Knowing what to expect when you walk into a new situation can be helpful and reduce anxiety. Every therapist has their own way of doing an initial session.  There are some common elements that you will see at most therapy offices.  I have outlined the structure we follow at our office.

  1. Paperwork: Therapists are required to maintain a certain level of medical records. To help them to do this they will have “initial client paperwork” to have you fill out. At our office, our forms include the following forms. First is the Client Information Form, which provides basic contact information and helps us to bill your insurance. The next form is An Informed Consent Form.  Here we have outlined our office policies and included all of the disclosures needed to begin therapy.  The final form is an Assessment Form.  This form allows us to collect some background information and helps us to understand all of the factors impacting your life.  We will then make a copy of your insurance card to be included with the other forms.  One thing to remember is that even when you come in for couple sessions this paperwork will need to be filled out. Usually an Assessment Form is filled out for both partners. The information for only needs to be filled out for one of the partners and there is a place on the consent form for both parties to sign.  You can access our forms here.
  1. Meeting the therapist: Now that you have the paperwork filled out, it is time to come into my office and meet me. Here you find a place to sit where you are comfortable and then I introduce myself.  One of the most important parts of therapy is being able to connect with your therapist.  Part of the first session is getting to know the office and the therapist.  You being able to feel comfortable there is very important.
  1. Office Policies: At this point of the initial session I cover some of the office policies that were outlined in the informed consent forms.  An example of one that I talk over with all my clients is the idea of confidentiality.  I feel it is essential for clients to understand what they say is confidential and where the limits are.  I also answer any questions regarding insurance or fees. I encourage my clients to ask me questions and I do my best to answer them.
  1. You tell your story: After all of the office stuff is taken care of and any questions are answered, I turn it over to you. Sometimes people don’t know where to start.  I usually help by asking “what has led you here to my office.”  While you are telling your story I will ask some questions to get clarification where I need.  I also take notes so I don’t lose any of the details.
  1. Goals: The final part of the initial session is to help you identify what you want/need to change. This can help us determine goals for our sessions and give us direction moving forward.
  1. Scheduling: We end by scheduling our next session and settling any co pays or fees.

Sometimes clients struggle with the initial session because the main purpose of it is to learn what is going on in your life and what has led you there.  Because of this, we don’t get to the “working phases” of the session.  Clients sometimes report that they feel like they have just talked and haven’t fixed anything.  The second appointment will feel more collaborative than the first.  Time is an important piece of therapy.

Q: What do I do if my partner refuses to attend couples counseling with me?

Q: What do I do if my partner refuses to attend couples counseling with me?

After doing therapy for awhile you start to notice a trend in the questions and the concerns that clients have before therapy even starts.   I am hoping to address some of those here.

Q: What do I do if my partner refuses to attend couples counseling with me?

One issue that comes up is when one partner wants couples counseling and one partner does not.  The partner who would like to initiate therapy is left feeling like they are stuck, unable to move forward.  One thing that I tell all of my clients or potential clients is that you can start therapy by yourself.  There are many benefits of doing this and your partner may decide to join you at a later stage.

Going in for individual sessions allows you to explore your feelings and roles in the relationship in an environment that is free of judgment. It allows you to identify and deal with any personal problems that you may bring into the relationship. Sometimes the best thing you can do for your relationship is be the best version of yourself you can.  Individual therapy can help you to achieve that.

If your partner decides to join you in therapy later, you can talk to your therapist on how to handle this.  The person coming in can feel at a disadvantage due to the relationship already developed with the therapist.  I personally work to balance this out by meeting with the new partner individually for several sessions to allow them to get to know me and feel comfortable in the space. I never want someone to feel targeted or ambushed when they walk into my office. After there is a therapeutic relationship established with both partners we can move forward with couple sessions.  If things still feel unbalanced I may suggest a new therapist for the couple’s work.

Click here to get an idea of what an initial session looks like.

Couples and Infertility

Couples and Infertility

“First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage.”

Everyone that read that line knew exactly how it was supposed to end. Unfortunately this “ideal” is often not reality. Many grow up with this dream for their future. Find a partner who you choose to spend the rest of your life with, marry and eventually have children. In couples struggling with infertility, this dream can seem more like a reminder of how others have it so much easier than they do. Dreams have a way of motivating us at times but also give us a sense of being stuck when we struggle to bring them into reality.

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Is Divorce Contagious?

Is Divorce Contagious?

Forget the flu. Did you catch the Divorce Bug?

Imagine this.  Your best friend comes over to tell you that she and her husband are getting a divorce.  You are shocked.  You knew they had some problems, but they always seemed to work through them.  They seemed so happy last week. You probably spend time listening and consoling your friend, but maybe you should be avoiding her?  Are you going to catch the divorce bug from her?  What will this do to your relationship?

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Can Love Be Created?

Can Love Be Created?

The Love Experiment

More than 20 years ago there was a psychologist by the name of Arthur Aron.  His claim: He could make two strangers fall in love.  This modern day “Cupid” claimed he only needed a few things: 1 male, 1 female, a laboratory, a list of 36 questions, and eye contact.

Let me explain a little further.  In this study, a heterosexual man and woman entered a lab through separate doors.  They proceeded to sit face to face and answer 36 questions of a personal nature.  Finally, they stared into each other’s eyes for four minutes.  The result:  Cupid’s arrow was right on target.  They were married six months later.  Hmmm…skeptical? Too good to be true?

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Introducing Rhonda

Introducing Rhonda

Hello CedRhonda Estling, Marriage and Family Therapist, Couple Therapy, Sex Therapyar Rapids Relationship Center community!

I just wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself and announce my addition to the CRRC team. My name is Rhonda Estling and I am also a Marriage and Family Therapist. CRRC was a shared dream between Jennifer Gage and myself feeling passionately about starting a practice with a focus on relationships.

In addition to working with adults and relationships I have a passion about helping to build healthy sexual relationships with oneself and others. Under the supervision of an approved AASECT supervisor, I am working toward my own AASECT certification and have attended numerous trainings to this end. For more information about AASECT you can visit AASECT.org.

I am excited for the opportunity to work with one of my best friends and doing the kind of work I am truly passionate about. If you have any questions about the services I provide or my fees please feel free to give me a call at 319-804-9278 or email me at Rhonda@crrelationshipcenter.com.

The Formula for Finding the Perfect Gift

The Formula for Finding the Perfect Gift

What is the formula for giving your partner the BEST gift this holiday season?  All you need to know is what their love language is.  Never heard of love languages?  I tell you all about them here. Don’t know what YOUR love languages are? Take the test here. Once you have that figured out…here is what you do…

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Speaking the Same Love Language

Speaking the Same Love Language

The Five Love Languages

Gary Chapman’s, The Five Love Languages is based on the idea that we each have our own ways we express and experience love. He believes unhappiness occurs in relationships when these ways differ than between partners.  The different ways one can express love have been divided into five categories, or languages.  Imagine you and your partner each spoke a different language, now imagine trying to tell your partner you love them. It might be a little tricky.  Some of the message might get through, but the depth of the feelings gets lost.  The same thing happens when you speak different love languages.

Below I have written a brief summary of each of the five languages. I have also included tips on what you can do if your partner’s language matches one of them.  The idea is to try your best to express your love in ways that mean the most to them.  Speak their language!  You will get the most bang for your buck.

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5 Small Actions That Show Your Love.

5 Small Actions That Show Your Love.

Could it really boil down to a few small gestures to keep you connected and show your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife that you deeply care for them?  Research shows that consistently doing the following five gestures has a huge impact on a couple’s level of happiness.  The best part is that most of us aren’t withholding these gestures on purpose. We just don’t realize how massively important they are.  They feel too simple to put much thought into, and at times may feel awkward.

All of the happiness habits are simple, learnable and doable.  So now that we know they are important what if you try to add them to your relationship now.

The research did show that there were gender differences when it came to these 5 gestures.  What makes women feel loved is slightly different than what men respond to.  So what are the magical five acts that will impact your relationship? …

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