Shannon Kolakowski, PsyD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and author. Dedicated to helping people create the best relationships they can have, Dr. Kolakowski seamlessly integrates the latest clinical research with her own personal experience and insight to help clients and readers be their best selves– both within and outside of relationships. Because Dr. Kolakowski specializes in the treatment of depression and anxiety disorders as well as relationships, she brings an added depth to her understanding of how clients can improve all aspects of their life. She cares deeply about her clients, and works to establish a strong, trusting relationship with each individual.
Dr. Kolakowski is the author of Single, Shy and Looking For Love: A Dating Guide for the Shy and Socially Anxious and When Depression Hurts Your Relationship. She has been featured in publications such as The New York Post, Redbook, Scientific American MIND, Men’s Health Magazine, Shape, Salon, Business Insider, Women’s Health Magazine, Brides, and Good Morning America online. She writes a relationship blog for The Huffington Post.
Dr. Shannon’s Latest Articles
(Scientific American MIND) Dating is typically a situation where people feel scrutinized, have to meet new people, and may fear they’ll do something embarrassing. In this way, dating only adds fuel to the anxiety fire. Rife with opportunities for awkward conversations and infinite unknown factors, dating often is seen as overwhelmingly scary and decidedly unappealing… READ ARTICLE
(Scientific American MIND) If your relationship is struggling, depression may be the culprit. A resounding body of research has shown how closely depression is related to relationships in a cyclical fashion: depression affects the quality of your relationships, and the features of your relationship can affect your level of depression… READ ARTICLE
How To Effectively End Any Argument (Huffington Post) Arguments are a normal part of life — it’s certainly not expected that you never disagree with the people that you care about. But what can help is finding a way to disagree that doesn’t drive a wedge between the two of you. Wouldn’t it be a relief if there were a way to end an argument more effectively, bringing the two of your towards a common ground? READ ARTICLE
(About.com) The link between worry and Generalized Anxiety Disorder is clear: excessive worry is one of the main features of GAD. But what about your beliefs about your worry? Can the way you feel about your worry affect your level of anxiety? A new research study shows that holding positive beliefs about your worry–believing it helps you to function as a better person, or helps you to avoid negative things in life–contributes to maintaining your worry and anxiety. In fact, the results show that the more you buy into the positive beliefs about worry, the more severe your worry may be.Read more about the Five Ways That We Believe Worry Helps Us, including five strategies to reduce your level of worry.
(Huffington Post) Major life transitions — moving to a new city, becoming a parent, retirement — can be an exciting and invigorating part of life. Yet transitions, even happy ones, can also be stressful and bring up mixed feelings. READ ARTICLE
(Huffington Post) Valentine’s Day is almost upon us, and you’re not alone if you sometimes feel unsure of the best way to celebrate with your loved one. So this year I thought I’d share some ways to spend the big day that will not only be fun for you both, but that will also actually help improve your relationship… READ ARTICLE
(eHarmony Advice) A painful breakup can cause you to fall into depression. You miss your ex (even if you know the breakup is for the best), you’re feeling miserable and crying often, or maybe you just feel numb and empty. You might be second-guessing yourself, feeling bad about yourself, having trouble concentrating at work, and can’t sleep or eat normally. My first suggestion is to definitely seek professional help if it feels unmanageable—most people who get help find relief from their symptoms. When you’re ready, ease back into dating by…READ ARTICLE
Praise for Single, Shy, and Looking for Love
“Shannon Kolakowski demonstrates that there’s no need to feel powerless in dating. Single, Shy, and Looking for Love will help both women and men identify the source of dating anxiety, and it offers real strategies for getting out there and finding love. This excellent book contains powerful techniques for mastering shyness and focusing instead on dating strategies that work. If anxiety is keeping you from finding the love of your life, please read this book. It might just change your life.”
—Shawn T. Smith, PsyD, clinical psychologist and author of The User’s Guide to the Human Mind and The Woman’s Guide to How Men Think
“Dating is a process of deliberate exploration. At one level we are exploring human relationships, but at another level dating opens us up to the world within. It opens us up to our hopes, aspirations, and values, but it also opens us up to our fears, anxieties, and judgments.
In the normal mode of mind we often suppose that the difficult material in that second territory is merely something to be gotten rid of so we can get back to dating. This book takes a much different approach: that territory is worthy of attention and exploration. It is part of the very fabric of our emotional lives that we bring to relationships themselves. If you are interested in exploring human relationships, consider the possibility that you have a much larger territory to explore as part of that very process. This gentle and wise book will show you how.”
—Steven C. Hayes, PhD, Foundation Professor and Director of Clinical Training at the University of Nevada and author of Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life
“With Shannon Kolakowski’s empathic guidance you will learn to accept and love yourself—including your anxiety and shyness. Furthermore, you will develop new skills that will help you find love. If you are shy or socially anxious and want a loving relationship this is the book for you.”
—Michelle Skeen, PsyD, author of Love Me Don’t Leave Me
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When Depression Hurts Your Relationship tackles a hidden issue that could be affecting your relationship with yourself– and your partner. “With depression, you may become critical of your partner, or doubt your relationship altogether. You may lose interest in intimacy, feel empty, and feel hopeless about the future”, according to Dr. Kolakowski. Fortunately, Dr. Kolakowski lays out manageable steps to prevent your depression from sabotaging your relationship.
“When Depression Hurts Your Relationship is an outstanding book, packed with easy-to-read information and strategies that will help couples navigate the stormy waters of depression. Shannon Kolakowski comprehensively tackles how depression negatively roots itself in the bonds of a partnership and offers solutions that are gentle, frank, and straightforward. One of the most wonderful things about Kolakowski’s writing is that she delicately weaves science and research in such a way that it doesn’t overwhelm the reader. Instead, When Depression Hurts Your Relationship empowers, informs, and inspires with hope and encouragement.”
—Deborah Serani, PsyD, psychologist and award-winning author of Living with Depression
“Kolakowski has written a wonderfully practical book to help people dealing with depression and struggling to preserve their relationships. She integrates her psychology expertise in very simple and easy-to-follow ways. From attachment to coping styles, Kolakowski addresses the psychological aspects of depression that contribute to hurting a relationship, and offers practical and easy exercises to break away from harmful patterns. The book is a great resource—not only for people dealing with depression in their relationship, but also for any couple wanting to improve their communication style, add mindfulness in the relationship, and gain sexual intimacy. As a professor and psychologist working with couples, I intend to recommend this book to my psychology students and couples as an easy read and addendum to clinical work.”
—Dinelia Rosa, PhD, president-elect of the New York State Psychological Association, director of the Dean Hope Center for Educational & Psychological Services at Columbia University, and adjunct associate professor at the clinical psychology
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