Kenneth L. Stewart, Ph.D.

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Licensed Psychologist

Kenneth Stewart, Ph.D. 
I have been working with others since 1975 when I began my private practice. My current private practice is in the Minneapolis, St. Paul area. From 1988 to 1994 I directed a Masters' program in Marriage and Family Therapy at North Dakota State University. In addition to my clinical practice, I am also an adjunct associate professor at St. Mary's University in the Masters degree program in Marriage and Family Therapy. I also do independent supervision of clinicians and supervisors. Before all this, from 1970 to 1975, I was in the parish ministry of the United Methodist church. 

The Stories We Are
We are stories. And the story we have about ourselves, what constitutes our identity, who we think we are, has been formed over the years by the meaning we have made of all the experiences. We live our lives and we try to make sense of what happens to us in the form of a story that we tell ourselves. In his book, The Beast in the Nursery: On Curiosity and Other Appetites, Adam Phillips says:

"All our stories are about what happens to our wishes. About the world as we would like it to be, and the world as it happens to be, irrespective of our wishes and despite our hopes. Our needs thwarted by the needs of others, our romances always threatened by tragedy, our jokes ruined by the people who don't get them. The usual antagonism of daydream and reality"

I like that idea. But we are more than that somewhat dreary picture of disappointment. Our stories , who we are, is not only about our disappointments, but our triumphs, our successes, our failures, and all the "humdrum bidding for work and food" in between. If the story people have about themselves is painful or unhappy or fearful it's my hope that when we are done, they have a much more satisfying story.

The Things We Know
In my work I like to think I help people come to "know" what they know. Too often I find that people have had their own knowledge, their own experience, the evidence of their senses, discounted by others. Other people and stressful experiences have "told us" that what we know isn't valid or doesn't count. So, therapy is a process of helping people recover and value what they know. When we recover what we know and have learned over time, we come to have less self-doubt, higher self-esteem, and a greater sense of personal competence.

The Time we Live In
Often I help people "live in time" in more fluid ways. When we get in trouble in our relationships or have personal pain, it may in part be because we have become "stuck in time." For example, if we get stuck in the future .. . we be obsessed with what's about to happen, what could happen, and we become anxious and fearful. When we are caught up in anxiety, our thoughts are racing, hundreds of possibilities are continually being rehearsed in our mind to account for all the contingencies that might come up in the near future. Or if we are stuck past longing - for some treasured time that has slipped away, some nurturing we didn't get, some relationship that didn't work out we get depressed and lonely. Or if we are stuck in past injustice , abuse or loss, we are angry, revengeful or depressed. It's not that we shouldn't have memories about the past, or hopes and fears about the future ... but to not get stuck in time in either the past or future. Living fully in the present, in the here and now is where we begin. After all, its here in the present where our bodies are, where we live. Leaning how to live with mindfulness and intentionality in the present is very important in my opinion, and one of the keys to happiness and fulfillment.

On Curiosity and Certainty
The core of my work is inviting people to develop more curiosity about themselves, others, and their world. Sometimes, instead of doubting what we know, we come to believe so strongly in what we know that it becomes an unwavering "certainty" that results in rigidity and fundamentalism. When we are caught up in excessive certainty we easily bully and overpower others with our self-righteousness, our "truth", our reality. But our reality, our truth is not the other person's reality or their truth. Respectful relationships have large doses of curiosity. By this I mean genuine interest in others, genuine curiosity about the world, genuine openness and curiosity about the other's story. their experiences, their beliefs, their "reality." Too much certainty is another way of having too much pride, and we know where that ends up. It's no accident that the tragic flaw in the classic Greek dramas like Oedipus Rex was pride, the unwillingness to question one's own certainties.

All images on this website are photos that I have taken over the years.

More can be seen at my photo website