About

Welcome!

I’m so glad you found us here at UnTangled. This has become one of the warmest and most welcoming communities I’ve ever known. If you’re looking for a place where you can be totally yourself—which is to say, fully human, both messy and beautiful—look no further. Before you jump in, though, here’s a little more information about me and what’s happening here at the blog…

About Me

I’m a licensed clinical psychologist. I received my Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Penn State University in 2005. I am a co-founder of Artisan Clinical Associates in Naperville, IL, along with my good friend and colleague David Clinton. I currently see clients on Mondays and Tuesdays in Naperville.

The rest of the week I write.

My blog posts have been featured in Reader’s Digest and the Huffington Post, as well as on the Disney parenting website, Babble.com. In 2014, my writing led to an appearance on the TODAY Show. That was totally surreal, and a total blast for our whole family.

I’ve written a short eBook entitled, The Marriage Manifesto: Turning Your World Upside Down. It has received 4.5 stars on Amazon, where you can purchase it. But you can also get a free copy by signing up to receive my weekly blog posts via email. If you’re interested, you can click here to do so.

In March 2017, my first full-length book will be published by Zondervan, an imprint of HarperCollins. It is entitled, Loveable: Embracing What Is Truest About You, So You Can Truly Embrace Your LifeI’m really excited to share it with you.

About the Blog

What is UnTangled all about? In short, UnTangled is a place to explore the redemptive life. There are so many places in the world where we are told to seek the good life. But this search so often ends up in perfectionism and disappointment. Here, we’re exploring the redemptive life—a life in which the pain, brokenness, and mess of being human are not brushed under the rug but rather invited into the light. For more thoughts about the good life versus the redemptive life, you can read my post, “What’s the Difference Between the Good Life and the Redemptive Life?

I chose “UnTangled” as the blog title for two reasons. First, I’m a therapist, and I believe the therapeutic endeavor often feels like a process of disentanglement, including disentanglement from the influences of our personal history, the cultural messages we have unwittingly consumed, and the vicissitudes of being human. Second, I hope the blog will provide a similar kind of experience, somehow unraveling confusion and providing direction in the stories we are telling with our lives.

I typically post to the blog one time per week, on Wednesdays around 5am. I like the way one regular, weekly post mimics the rhythm of psychotherapy. I will occasionally post a second time each week, but I have never posted more than twice in a week.

How to Connect

If you would like to explore ways to live a redemptive story right now, you can subscribe to the blog by clicking here. You can also follow UnTangled on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

A Sampling of Popular Posts

  1. Words From a Father to His Daughter (From the Makeup Aisle)
  2. A Daddy’s Letter to His Little Girl (About Her Future Husband)
  3. Marriage Is For Losers
  4. The Reason Every Kid Should Talk Back to Their Parents
  5. A Dad’s Letter to His Son (About the Only Good Reason to Get Married)
  6. The 9 Most Overlooked Threats to a Marriage
  7. Why I Don’t Believe in Grace Anymore
  8. Karma Envelopes
  9. The Beauty of Being a Quitter
  10. A Daddy’s Letter to His Little Girl (About How Fast She’s Walking Away)

You can also check my blog’s archive page for a list of every post I have ever written, organized by category and date.

A Little More About Me

At Artisan Clinical Associates, I work with a wide range of individuals in various treatment contexts including individual therapy with adults and adolescents, marital/couple therapy, family therapy, and the evaluation of individuals who have immigrated to the U.S. and are seeking legal permanent residency. My areas of particular clinical interest include interpersonal and relationship problems; resolution of marital conflict and communication skill training; treatment of substance abuse and relapse prevention; experiences of depression, anxiety, and trauma/abuse; and issues of self-esteem, self-confidence, and development of personal identity. In addition, I think it’s important to openly work with issues of faith and spirituality when they naturally emerge during the process of change and growth.

I completed my clinical psychology residency at Hines VA Medical Center in Maywood, IL. My research has focused on the role of spouses’ core interpersonal needs in the resolution of marital conflict. I’ve also taught at Wheaton College as an adjunct assistant professor.

I am married with three children, and I enjoy reading and learning from my children how to be a kid again. I began writing publicly in January 2012, via this blog. But I have always enjoyed writing privately. It helps me to “untangle” my own thoughts, and I’m thankful for the opportunity the blog has afforded me to achieve even more clarity about my vocation and this life we are living, through conversation with readers and blog followers.

My Contact Information

You can contact me via e-mail or follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Google+.

Website Photographs

The header photo is the work of David Clinton, M.A., LCPC. He’s an excellent photographer, and an even better therapist. Credit for the author photo goes to Bureau Gravity

Disclaimer

This is my personal blog. While I write about both personal and professional experiences, my writings should be considered a matter of personal opinion. They do not reflect professional advice. This medium does not lend itself to the level of detail and intimacy required to provide professional advice. If you are in need of consultation, I highly recommend you seek professional counseling. If at all possible, you should seek a reliable referral from a trusted source. The Psychology Today therapist search engine is an excellent tool for doing so. 

Kelly is a licensed clinical psychologist and co-founder of Artisan Clinical Associates in Naperville, IL. He is also a writer and blogs regularly about the redemption of our personal, relational, and communal lives. Kelly is married, has three children, and enjoys learning from them how to be a kid again. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Disclaimer: Kelly's writings represent a combination of his own personal opinions and his professional experiences, but they do not reflect professional advice. Interaction with him via the blog does not constitute a professional therapeutic relationship. For professional and customized advice, you should seek the services of a counselor who can dedicate the hours necessary to become more intimately familiar with your specific situation. Kelly does not assume liability for any portion or content of material on the blog and accepts no liability for damage or injury resulting from your decision to interact with the website.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • mindfullyhealing

    Hi…I’m working on a blog post about feelings/anger, and wanted to know if I can provide a link to your awesome blog post (Angry Kids, Angry Parents)?

    • drkellyflanagan

      Absolutely; I’d be honored. I’ve been tossing around a few ideas that would involve linking to your blog, as well. As they become more formed, I’ll be in touch!

      • mindfullyhealing

        Thanks so much!

  • Carol

    I enjoyed your article on marriage for losers. Any chance I could email you and ask some questions?

  • Veronica Armstrong

    Wow, Dr. Flanagan. LOVE your blog, especially the recent Marriage posting. Do you practice Yoga? I am a Yoga instructor and I see so many common themes. Keep up the good work Doctor. Thank you!

    • drkellyflanagan

      Thanks for your kind words, Veronica. I do not practice, but I do find the principles of mindfulness and attentiveness to be a valuable part of living a full life. Best to you in the instruction that you give to others!

  • Cheri

    Please notify me by email of your new posts. Have read 2 so far, and they have blown me away! God bless you! You have a wonderful gift and are blessing others through these writings.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Hi Cheri, Thank you for your feedback! Unfortunately, the blog is not equipped for me to manually add you as an email subscriber. However, you can go directly to the blog (http://drkellyflanagan.com) and in the right sidebar there is an area for you to enter your email address. I hope that helps!

  • www.santoshverma.photoshelter.com

    Dear Doctor,
    Just ‘discovered’ your blog today, and spent the entire afternoon absorbed with it.
    I am a Christian, and am a photographer/photojournalist based in Mumbai, India.
    My personal work is a collection of ‘Contemplative Photography’ images.
    Please allow me to share a link of my work with you: http://www.santoshverma.photoshelter.com. The other one is : http://www.aneyeforindia.com
    Thank you for being such an amazing, insightful, sensitive, and deeply touching ministry on the journey.
    Santosh

    • drkellyflanagan

      Santosh,Thanks for your kind words, and after a brief glance, I’m looking forward to finding more time to sit down and enjoy your work!

  • Santosh Verma

    Dear Doctor
    Whenever you do want to ‘relax, unwind, refresh’ do explore the Galleriies.
    And, you could also do a ‘search’ for themes -Christian, Mystical-such as Silence, Solitude, Prayer, and such.
    Thank you for being such a Blessing!
    Saantosh

  • Tim Owen

    Wonderfully Awakening and Inspiring Article Doc K, thank you.

    Be honored to receive Your input upon the unique first draft of our “losing.”
    Story of an American who moves to Norway, marries, becomes a papa…all while learning The Viking ways!

    “Alone we are all lowly, but together we shine with brightness so intense that none of us alone can even think of it.” FULL STORY at: http://tinyurl.com/BelovedMiracles

  • Gary McCall

    Great article on a new view of marriage, Marriage Is for Losers. I found you through a LinkedIn group called “Better Marriages.” Instead of looking for what you can gain, your challenge is to consider what you give up in order to have a relationship with someone you love. It is never easy trying to understand another person. Making everyday choices about life is a constant. The big decisions take even more work. Thank you for the inspiriation you provide.I will be a regular reader.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Gary, thanks for your kind words, and welcome to UnTangled! I hope the other posts and the community discussion are edifying for you, as well.

  • Dr. Okech

    Great job doctor!

  • Susan Kihara

    Thank you for your blog. I am an avid reader and some of the articles you have written have really resonated within me. Thank you for being the scribe who makes the reader reflect inwardly and want to make a change in their life. I am still poring through your blog but so far, my favourite have been the one on living passionately not mindlessly and loneliness. Keep writing, you inspire many.
    Susan, Nairobi Kenya.

    • Dr. Kelly Flanagan

      Thank you, Susan! Blessings to you in Kenya.

  • Jay

    I’ve enjoyed all of your posts so far. Do you see any reason why same-sex couples, spouses and families couldn’t benefit from your advice? I’ve already found your posts helpful in my own relationship.

    • Dr. Kelly Flanagan

      Hi Jay, I’m glad you found UnTangled and that the posts have been helpful to you! I don’t see any reason my writing wouldn’t be helpful to same-sex couples, and if I understand you correctly, it sounds like your experience attests to that. Let me know if I answered your question, Jay. Thanks for reading, and blessings to you!

  • Danielle Bauer

    It seems like in order to be a good psychologist one needs to be a good writer…this is great because your patients will have the opportunity to read your advice then come in for a visit and ask questions on their perspective. Great site!

    Dr. Danielle Bauer
    http://www.bauerbraceswheaton.com

    • drkellyflanagan

      Thanks, Danielle! Good to run into another Wheaton-ite. I’ve got three little ones, two of which will definitely need braces. We’ll keep you in mind!

  • Tim Tedder

    Hi Kelly,
    I stumbled

    • drkellyflanagan

      Tim, somehow I missed your comment when it came in a few weeks ago. Thanks for such encouraging words about the book. And thanks for the work you do!

  • Just Thinkin’

    Dr Kelly

    I am so grateful to have discovered your blog and writings. Thank you. My wife and I love each other very much and have 4 beautiful young children. But we have realised that we are in the habit of sniping at each other and we realise this has to stop. We would like to understand more about this habit and figure out a way to deal with it. Is it a common problem, and have you got any thoughts we can put into practice?
    I have looked for writings on this aspect of communication and cant find much.
    Thanks

    • drkellyflanagan

      It’s a great question, but unfortunately one I can’t answer in this medium. I know exactly the kind of communication pattern you’re talking about, but the underlying cause may be any number of things. I would definitely recommend seeing a counselor, who can get more familiar with the details of your story and offer some insight into what might be triggering the communication. Best of luck to you!

  • Eunice

    Hi Dr Kelly,

    Thank you for your posts! i have found them so meaningful and edifying. One question that has been burning in me, however, is — are you a Christian? It seems there are many Christian-like themes on this blog, but it also seems that you would take care to leave a God of a certain faith out of the picture…I am just curious to know…

    In addition, I came across a biography of you on Wheaton college’s website, but it showed you as a female with female pronouns! May I ask whether that is the same person?

    Thank you and please keep up the writing! I am so encouraged by how you are voicing out your thoughts as a psychologist

    • Ahneishia Washington

      Eunice, strange enough I was wondering the same thing and just about to ask. Great blog either way : )

  • Ryan

    Dr. Kelly,

    Just found your blog and have to admit you give some insightful advice and considerations.

    My husband and I recently adopted and are excited and anxious about the future. I am particularly anxious as parenting is an entirely new stage in my life. We’ve been married for three years now and going strong, and hope that with raising a child our marriage will be stronger than ever. What’s a good piece of advice or article for two new parents?

    Thanks,

    Ryan, Connecticut

    • drkellyflanagan

      Ryan,
      First of all, congratulations! I admire you and your husband for jumping into the adoption journey. Great questions, too. My piece of advice would be to read fewer books and talk to more parents you trust. Friends, parents of friends, etc. Find out what they’ve learned the hard way and then ask each of them for one book recommendation. If I’m going first, one that comes to mind first is “Everyday Blessings” by the Kabat-Zinns.
      Blessings!
      Kelly

  • Tracy

    Can you put your book, “THE MARRIAGE MANIFESTO”, on audiobooks in iTunes? I listen to audiobooks with my iPhone and would love to buy it and listen to it. I have very little time to sit and read. I drive quite a bit and that would be great if you could do that. Thanks

    • drkellyflanagan

      Tracy, Thanks for asking! That’s a great idea. I’ll definitely consider doing so!

  • matt

    Hi Dr. Kelly
    I just read the beginning and end of your ebook.
    This was the most interesting sentence:
    “Marriage is never meant to be the place where we are finally satisfied. Marriage is meant to be the beginning of an insurrection.”

    I am one to feel sometimes like marriage should satisfy me, but you’re saying it is something different. I am not married yet,…and probably the main reason is that I am discouraged/mad that the divorce rate is > %50. but I have a girlfriend who I would very much like to make my wife at some point and want to do my best to make it a lifelong journey with her. So thank you for your book. I want to read the whole book with her, but maybe not right now.

    take care..
    matt

    • drkellyflanagan

      You’re welcome, Matt! I hope the book can enrich your relationship with your girlfriend, even before marriage. My best to you both.

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  • sexless in cincinnati

    I wonder if you have any solutions for spouses stuck in a celebate marriage. I know so many at midlife who haven’t had sex for years despite being great friends and committed to each other. In every case it is the man who has zero initiative. All of these couples have fought, cried, talked, brainstormed this subject to death. No matter what “gains” are made, their relationship returns to a baseline of zero sexual connection. I have been mostly celebate for 18 years and would have left him except, besides loving him and enjoying his company and the rest of our lives together, I know so many other women, and a few men, in the same boat there is no guarantee I wouldn’t end up in another sexless relationship. Is it just that people who need sex end up with people who don’t?

    I subscribe to your blog. And I love the post about losing for your spouse. I do that every day. Just haven’t found a way to be completely at peace with it yet.

    • drkellyflanagan

      It’s a really good question but, to be honest, so many aspects of a relationship (both good and bad) come together in the area of sexuality, that it’s difficult to give any specific feedback without understanding all the other factors, as well. I’d certainly recommend finding a counselor who isn’t shy about discussing sex, so you can process together how your sexual relationship functions within the broader context of your marriage.

  • Jake Hyet

    Hi There,

    I am Mark Long, I have 5+ years of online writing experience and guest blogging. I would love to guest post on your blog.

    Let me know of you can accept my guest post on Sports, Games, Kid soccer, etc & other related blog post of your site(http://drkellyflanagan.com/). I will be glad to receive any special guidelines I need to follow to write post for you. If so please mail me. Also, if you have any special topic in your mind, you can share it with me. So that I shall write for your blog.

    I will make sure my post will,

    a. Abide all your guidelines and instructions.

    b. My post will be of extremely high quality

    c. There will be no grammar or spelling mistakes

    d. I check all my post with copyscape premium for originality check.

    Waiting to hear from you.

    High Regards,

    Mark Long

    Writer & Editor

    Email : marklonggss@gmail.com

    Google+ Profile : https://plus.google.com/u/1/105524751103291038085/

  • Melissa Fuller

    Hi there Dr. Kelly Flanagan, my partner and I read your article “The 9 Most Overlooked Threats to a Marriage” together and thought it was incredible. You have great insight and communicate it well. We were both wondering what MBTI type you are? I noticed someone has asked you this before in a comment back in May but I unfortunately couldn’t find a response. Thanks and I hope you happen upon this post to respond 🙂