Steven Ringsmuth Stolpman, MS, LMFT
Welcome! I’m Steven and I’d like to find out if I would be a good fit to be your therapist. After working for a few years in education and treatment for teenagers with mental health issues, I decided to get my graduate degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at St. Cloud State University. I enjoy exploring the relationships that make your life meaningful… and challenging. I like learning new things, talking about ideas, and coming up with relevant metaphors. I work with couples, families, and individual clients 13+, but welcome families with younger members, too. I welcome people from all religions, non-religions, cultures, and backgrounds. For fun, I like table-top board games, drawing, reading, and nature photography. In my free time, I can be found throwing a frisbee for Dashwood, a red British Labrador Retriever, at one of the area dog parks. He really loves to play with everybody.
How I Work
You have the biggest say in what the session is about. I will also work to help you feel comfortable talking about difficult topics, exploring what arises, sharing relevant information and teaching related skills for coping or problem solving. The most important thing to me at the end of the session is that you felt heard, supported.
At the beginning of a session we will take some time to get situated, and then either you, or we will find a focus. I usually start by asking about day-to-day life, updates, immediate concerns, and also positive things despite challenges since your last session. Generally it will become a conversation about new and old situations, different ways of looking at a situation, and what kinds of connections may lead toward personal change. Part of that conversation may be an activity (do you like to play uno, mancala, chess, or complaining about the weather?). If needed we may pause the session to notice how a particular topic is affecting you, if it feels like too-much (or too-little) and how to dial-it-back. We may pause to practice a grounding technique, a guided visualization, or belly breathing, or to find something that supports your immediate sense of being safe and connected. If it ends up being relevant, I like to share about science (eg. the human nervous-system or circulatory system) related to mental health. At the end, we summarize, reflect on the session itself (did you feel heard and supported?), and discuss next steps to practice or explore.
What Sets Me Apart As a Therapist?
On one hand, I’ve been told by multiple clients “you have a calming presence.” On the other hand, multiple clients have also said, “Steve, you ask a lot of questions. . .” I think both those things are part of my personal way of being a therapist, as well as supportive listening, metaphors, conversation, play or any creative activities that open up new ways of looking at things, and ultimately help clients feel heard and supported in the direction of personal growth. In general I like to look at the problem from different angles throughout the session. One way I do that is connecting therapeutic topics to day-to-day life by using metaphor and examples pulled from conversation. For example, you will hear me talk about about my puppy, Dashwood, (he’s a good listener, and my partner and I hope he will eventually earn therapy dog certification) as I work in some connections between examples of Dashwood the labrador and aspects of positive communication, relationship building and motivation.