Stefanie Schenk →

Stefanie Schenk →

Stefanie Schenk

Nothing feels quite so lonely as feeling alone in a relationship. We choose partners we dream will complete us, only to find they are uniquely adept at exposing our wounds, getting under our skin, and triggering our greatest insecurities. At best, we feel indifferent to our one-time ally. More often, our comrade-in-arms has become our biggest adversary. That is no accident.

Shell-shocked and battle-weary, couples in conflict no longer feel aligned or connected to the person who once made them feel safe. We attack; we retreat; we dig in. We weaponize words; we lob bombs; we build walls. In the fog of war, we see no other way out. We survive, but just barely so. And no matter how angry we may feel toward our partner, we save our biggest resentment for ourselves. We wonder: How did I lose myself in this relationship?

Whether you are in crisis or at an impasse, it is never too early or too late to choose a different way of relating. Whether your relationship has been brought down by scorched earth tactics or worn down by a steady war of attrition, it can be different. Come prepared to lay down your armor and artillery and to move beyond the conflict cycle. Learn to build bridges rather than throw bombs. Rediscover the sense of self you lost as a casualty of war. Reup your investment in relating to yourself and each other in a healthier way. Align together on the side of your relationship. It will not be easy. But it will be better.

Before studying Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Northwestern University, I received my Bachelor of Arts from Cornell University where I was a Psychology major and my Juris Doctor degree from The University Of Michigan Law School. Our work together may draw on Emotionally-Focused Therapy, Relational Life Therapy, psychodynamic, and Gottman principles. What inspires me daily is the knowledge that the very thing that enables partners to hurt each other so deeply can be redeployed to heal and elevate them. Working with couples to build back the trust, refind the why, and reimagine a happier and healthier future together is an ongoing privilege.

You do not need to feel this way. Right now, the scariest part of going to counseling may be the unknown. But is more of the same any less terrifying? You no longer have to feel alone in your relationship. Let’s take the next step together.

Stefanie is pursuing a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling through The Family Institute at Northwestern University.

Supervised by Michael Villarreal, LCPC, State of Illinois #180010064