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About Dr. Steinkamp

Educator, Estrangement Consultant

& Reconnection Strategist 

I'm a communication expert, estrangement coach, teacher-trainer, researcher and mom. I've spent my career working with people to reach their goals through education by developing effective individual and group communication skills, establishing strong self-awareness, growing healthy relationships and becoming confident independent people.

 

I've worked with individuals and families for 30+ years as they strived to better their life circumstances by learning more about themselves, developing a sense of purpose and strategically pursuing their life goals.


In 2019 I began my own journey through a family separation when our adult daughter decided to cut ties. We lost contact for nearly two years. It took months of self reflection, accountability and determination to understand my estrangement grief. Eventually, I came to know how my communication and expectations impacted and contributed to her need to leave. We're now eleven years into our estrangement story and are learning to navigate our relational challenges effectively.

 

In partnership with my adult daughter, I choose to use my experience, training and expertise to help others through the challenges and trials of relational stress, estrangement and readiness to reconnect.

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Hope, help and healing for people and families with distancing or estranged adult children.

My Background

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In addition to my current work with people experiencing family strife or estrangement, I hold a Doctorate in Education. My doctoral research and expertise focus on interpersonal communication and building functional relationships. I received a Master in Arts from the College of Professional Psychology at the University of Northern Colorado and a Bachelor in Arts from Colorado’s Mesa State University.

 

I am currently Chief Executive Officer and Senior Consultant for JES Consultancy. Previously I served as Vice President of Academic and Student Services for Lamar Community College in southwest Colorado, Associate Vice President of Red Rocks Community College Health Sciences Campus in Denver, and Dean of Health Sciences and Human Services at St. Cloud Technical and Community College in Minnesota. 

I also worked as Program Director for the Colorado Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Behavioral Health training people to communicate and work together effectively. 

As I have for the past 30+ years, I work closely with people to better understand their communication styles and how to manage family conflict effectively. Together we strategically create a plan to cultivate and restore their broken relationship. If you are looking for an estrangement coach to help guide your family through your circumstances, schedule a consultation with me by emailing me at Janet@JESteinkamp.com.

Insights and Understanding

So often, people tell me their story by describing a single incident that led to their adult child’s decision to cut off communication. Parents are confused about the decision to step away in the context of that one event. And they are desperate to reestablish contact. My experience is that, upon reflection and open-hearted conversation, we can identify aspects of the relationship beyond that event that likely contributed to the separation. It is the small insights that lead to action – to growth and a sense of readiness to repair. 

 

In my work as an estrangement consultant and communication expert, I identified three critical themes in the questions adult children ask themselves when deciding whether or not to separate. The answers to these primary questions are often at the core of a decision to cut ties:

What role do I see my family taking in my life as I work to create the life I want to live?

  • What if they don’t agree or approve of my choices?

  • What if our values collide?

  • What if my family, friends and loved ones don’t mesh?

  • What are my obligations to them – if any?

 

How do I transition from my family of origin to my chosen adult life and relationships?

  • What boundaries do I want and need to set?

 

How do I define, communicate and maintain boundaries so we can stay connected?

  • Will my family agree to and respect my boundaries?

  •  What are my choices if they don’t?

Core Beliefs

Foundational Beliefs:

 

  • People have a natural affinity to connect with their family of origin. 

  • People can use the time of estrangement for honest self-reflection, accountability, personal growth and acceptance – of themselves and others.

  • People have the power and responsibility to manage their emotions and actions.

  • People communicate most effectively when they understand how they impact those around them.

  • People are best prepared to recognize and meet the challenges of repair and reconnection when they have actively and honestly reflected, grown, and evolved their self-awareness, confidence and acceptance.

  • People’s feelings, temperament, interpersonal skills, and communication style greatly influence the quality of their relationships - both with themselves and others.

  • People do not and can not control the feelings, behaviors, values and decisions of others.​

  • People want to do their best – and do their best in any given situation with what they know and feel in that moment.

  • People can find joy and purpose after someone cuts off contact with them and during their absence.

Lessons Learned

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I’ve learned that moving into the acceptance stage of estrangment grief is a choice. Only then can we begin to make changes that open opportunities to rebuild our relationship. The commitment and courage needed to make this choice – to honestly reflect, recognize the ways we contributed to our situation, and make the needed sustainable changes – is significant. The path to reconciliation is littered with good intentions.  It is often painfully revealing and requires grit to reach the goal - a healthy, sustainable relationship.

I’ve learned that self-discovery and personal growth begin by allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, opening ourselves up to the truths tucked far away in the dark corners, and choosing to have tough conversations with ourselves and others.

 

These choices allow us to uncover the roots of issues that inhibit us from recognizing the needs and desires of those we hold most dear. By holding on to our hopes and dreams for our children as they move into adulthood, we risk losing perspective. We can fail to recognize how we contribute to strained relationships and ultimately to their choice to cut off communication. 

In helping people deal with relational conflict, I’ve developed strategies and tools to assist you in these dark wintery times.

 

When Our Adult Children Walk Away services are designed to assist people who are ready to stop the cycle of chaos, grief and conflict.

Contact Dr. Steinkamp at Janet@jesteinkamp.com to schedule a complimentary 30 minute discovery conversation!

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