Kalli N. Rimikis-Kerr, M.A. '89 M.A. in Family & Marital Counseling

Read about Kalli N. Rimikis-Kerr, M.A. '89 
and her career as a private practitioner.

Read about Kalli N. Rimikis-Kerr, M.A. '89
and her career as a private practitioner.

Kalli N. Rimikis-Kerr graduated in 1989 with a master‘s degree in Family and Marital Counseling. A licensed marriage and family therapist, she owns her practice specializing in divorce.

Q: Tell us about your work.
Kalli:
I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Private Practice. I specialize in all areas of divorce, so my office is actually in a suite with divorce attorneys. It is a wonderful collaboration of our two disciplines and we work well together. Half of my practice is in working with couples, helping them forge healthier, more fulfilled relationships with one another. The other half is my work with individuals. Primarily, that work centers on helping adults whose parents divorced and assisting people in relinquishing the shame, hurt and anger associated with their parents’ divorce. I also teach people how to better parent their children during divorce.

Q: What is your impact on the individuals or communities with whom you work?
Kalli:
During divorce, people are looking for ways to cope with incredible confusion, sadness and loss. By working with the parents and helping them understand their own feelings, the hope is that they are then better able to handle their children’s feelings and help them deal with the impact of divorce. Parents parenting is a top down model that I have seen work really well. Parents feel good about helping themselves and their children, and of course, the children have better adjusted parents.

Q: How did your Adler University experience affect where you are today?
Kalli:
Adler stressed social responsibility and my work embodies that notion every single day. I feel best when I help people, and I am lucky that I get to do that hour after hour every day! For me, being socially responsible means benevolence, kindness, compassion, and respect for others- the qualities that I experienced with my professors and that I try to give to my clients.

Q: Was there a particular Adler University faculty member that has most influenced you?
Kalli:
I was lucky to have studied with the best of the best: Dr. Bernie Shulman, Dr. Harold Mosak, and Dr. Adelaide Starr. Hands down, though, I owe so much to Dr. Seymour Schneider who sadly passed away a few years after I graduated. I remember talking with him many times and picking his brain about everything under the sun, and each time he would sit with me he would tell me: “Remember, the only caveat to me talking with you is that you have to do the same when you are in my chair”. Priceless.

Q: What do you consider to be your greatest professional accomplishment?
Kalli:
I started my career with a wonderful group of colleagues, all graduates of the Chicago School. My Adlerian approach and their psychodynamic training made for a wonderful work dynamic. So I learned, early on, to not be afraid of incorporating different perspectives into my work. That was an important first step towards my later decision to start my own center working in conjunction with the divorce attorneys. It’s unconventional, but when an attorney joins the session and talks with my clients who are frightened of the overwhelming divorce process, it normalizes and minimizes their fear. So, I consider my greatest career accomplishment being about my willingness to think creatively and being open to new ideas.

Q: What is the single most important piece of career advice you can give someone in your field?
Kalli:
There are two, actually: First, I want to repeat what Dr. Schneider passed onto me: Be generous with your time and remember how intimidating it may be for someone to ask for your help. Second, I think it is important in a field like psychology and psychotherapy, to really narrow your focus. Specialize. No one can be an expert in everything, so decide what it is you really love, and make that the focus of your practice.

Q: What advice can you give a student just joining Adler University?
Kalli:
Enjoy yourself! Of course, you're about to take steps to expand your knowledge and continue educating yourself, but the experiences and the people that will touch your life will change you, so allow that to happen and enjoy it in the process. Be really present in those special moments, whether it is an intellectually stimulating discussion in a class, a good friendship that will develop with a classmate, or a professor that will mark you for life. Allow all those experiences to wash over you.