Dr. Kneier has been offering psychological services in Calgary since 1974. He received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in Washington D.C., which included a one-year full-time internship associated with the Harvard Medical School at Children’s Hospital in Boston. His services have included individual therapy and counselling for adults and children; marriage counselling; help for children and parents in separated/divorced families; family mediation; and court-related assessments of children and parents.
Dr. Kneier continues to provide services two days every second week, usually on Wednesday and Thursday. He accepts new clients and offers a wide variety of counselling and mediation services consistent with his experience. Due to his limited availability, Dr. Kneier no longer accepts any court-related or court-ordered cases, and he no longer provides reports for use in court.
ORIENTATION AND GENERAL APPROACH
Dr. Kneier uses a number of treatment approaches tailored for the particular individual and problems presented, and relying on an understanding of psychodynamic and unconscious processes. Most people find Dr. Kneier amiable, understanding, and easy to talk to. He is good at putting newcomers at ease and helping them get past their initial nervousness.
Dr. Kneier's general orientation is analytical and psychodynamic, focusing on the internal often unconscious emotional issues that fuel symptoms and behavioural reactions. He has a keen interest in the interplay between spouses, and between parents and children. Insights from many long-term therapies have led to the development of many short-term interventions for a variety of personal, marital and family problems.
Dr. Kneier constantly finds that understanding and articulating the real story going on inside of us leads to creative and unanticipated solutions. And it is often amazing how reactions and problems are actually trying to tell a very important part of the story. Decoding the messages contained in reactions/problems is an important part of Dr. Kneier's approach. This leads to self-validation, insight, emotional release and creative solutions. This is more fully explained in the Writings section in the paper titled Approaching Problems as Psychological Symptoms.
Helping Adults: Many adult problems are related to the pain carried into adult life from childhood. Other problems arise from the challenges presented as life’s story unfolds: marital conflict, changes in mid-life, serious changes in health, marital breakdown, divorce, work stress or career changes, and the post-divorce realignment (blending) of families, to mention the most common. A strong focus of Dr. Kneier's practice is helping with such challenges and transitions.
While the above represents Dr. Kneier's general orientation, he is careful to approach each individual or couple in a fresh way that fits each individual's unique style and personality. For Dr. Kneier, therapy is a collaborative process, which depends more on his ability to enter and understand the client's world than vice-versa.
Helping Children: Dr. Kneier begins helping a child by consulting with the parents. He focuses on decoding what the child's symptoms or problems are trying to say. This usually provides a useful new perspective on the child, and points the way to new and creative approaches to the child's trouble. The new perspective and approach, which are often paradoxical ("reverse psychology"), offer relief to the parents as well as the child. Often, issues that were very stressful and frustrating become the occasions for creative, interesting and even playful interactions with the child.
Dr. Kneier does not believe in the one-sided proposition that parental stress or problems cause children's problems. He knows that the contrary is equally true: children's problems, temperaments, and behaviors cause a lot of parental and marital stress and difficulties. Dr. Kneier makes the assumption, which always seems to be true, that it is good, caring and insightful parents who come to see him. He knows that they have already tried the reasonable and normal parental approaches to the problem. He knows the parents usually have other children for whom their parenting has worked well. He uses his experience as a children's psychologist to help parents decode the particular difficulty being experienced by the troubled child. He and the parents then become a team to help the child. And the parents themselves become a better team.
Often, some individual sessions with Dr. Kneier are a significant help for a child or teenager. Dr. Kneier has a way of talking to children that seems to help them understand themselves better, feel more normal, and reveal or name thoughts and feelings that have been bothering them.
Children’s Reactions to Divorce: Marital breakdown, divorce, and the blending of families have increasingly become significant challenges to children's adjustment. It was his work with children that led Dr. Kneier to become so involved in these areas. In order to help children with their emotional issues in these areas, Dr. Kneier has found it necessary to relate both to the psychology of children and to the management of families in serious conflict. In the Writings section, there are a number of essays written by Dr. Kneier about children and divorce, and the problems in divorced families.
Alienation: Denial of Attachment: The alienation of an adolescent child from one parent, i.e., the child’s denial of attachment to one parent and refusal to interact positively with that parent, is a growing and serious problem. The child demonstrates resolute refusal to visit the refused parent, and/or strong fear, aversion or other reactions in doing so. The rejected parent is convinced this is due to sabotaging efforts or attitudes on the part of the favored parent. The favored parent is convinced the alienation is due to unwise or disturbed behavior on the part of the rejected parent. While either or both of these things often contribute to the alienation reaction, there is usually a third and more predominant factor. This is the child's reaction to loyalty conflicts that have become intolerable. In extremely polarized divorces, where the parents are in intense conflict about the children, a last resort for the child's mind is to make one parent good and the other bad. This simplifies the child's intolerable loyalty conflict and totally divided life, which stems from trying to love two people who are at war with each other. Parental reactions and behavior contribute to and amplify this process. The alienation establishes peace for the child, but at great cost. It results in the loss of one parent, an escalation in parental conflict, and a number of internal emotional problems for the child.
In the Writings section, you will find Dr. Kneier's essays discussing his theory about the nature, causes, and treatment of this serious problem. There are also papers about the issue of the child's decision or choice.
Mediation: Many families encounter difficulty in making the transition from a married family to a separated/divorced family. Children react in many ways. Parents can find themselves engaged in serious conflict over the children, often to the point of litigation. Dr. Kneier's mediation style draws heavily on clinical experience with children's reactions to divorce, and with parental reactions to marital breakdown. During the mediation, a number of things are done to help the parents re-focus on the children, and thus regain their sense of parenting. At the same time, there are ways of helping parents resolve conflicts, achieve their desires for the children, and move on to becoming a good divorced family.
Since the mediation relies heavily on clinical experience as a psychologist, and since he does not have commensurate experience in financial or legal matters, Dr. Kneier restricts his mediation to issues which involve the children and family matters. He refers clients to lawyer-mediators for financial/property issues.