March 30, 2014

The 10 Laws of Boundaries by Cloud & Townsend

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:59 pm by kellyfdennis

fence-and-grass-10047568The Law Of Sowing and Reaping – Actions have consequences. If someone in your life is sowing anger, selfishness, and abuse at you, are you setting boundaries against it? Or are they getting away with not reaping (or paying the consequences for) what he/she sowed?

The Law of Responsibility – We are responsible TO each other, not FOR each other. This law means that each person refuses to rescue or enable another’s immature behavior.

The Law of Power – We have power over some things, we don’t have power over others (including changing people). It is human nature to try to change and fix others so that we can be more comfortable. We can’t change or fix anyone – but we do have the power to change our own life.

The Law of Respect – If we wish for others to respect our boundaries, we need to respect theirs. If someone in your life is a rager, you should not dictate to him/her all the reasons that they can’t be angry. A person should have the freedom to to protest the things they don’t like. But at the same time, we can honor our own boundary by telling them, “Your raging at me is not acceptable to me. If you continue to rage, I will have to remove myself from you.”

The Law of Motivation – We must be free to say “no” before we can wholeheartedly say “yes”. One can not actually love another if he feels he doesn’t have a choice not to. Pay attention to your motives.

The Law of Evaluation – We need to evaluate the pain our boundaries cause others. Do our boundaries cause pain that leads to injury? Or do they cause pain that leads to growth?

The Law of Proactivity – We take action to solve problems based on our values, wants, and needs. Proactive people keep their freedom and they disagree and confront issues but are able to do so without getting caught up in an emotional storm. This law has to do with taking action based on deliberate, thought-out values versus emotional reactions.

The Law of Envy – We will never get what we want if we focus our boundaries onto what others have. Envy is miserable because we’re dissatisfied with our state yet powerless to change it. The envious person doesn’t set limits because he is not looking at himself long enough to figure out what choices he has.

The Law of Activity – We need to take the initiative to solve our problems rather than being passive. In a dysfunctional relationship, sometimes one person is active and the other is passive. When this occurs, the active person will dominate the passive one. The passive person may be too intimidated by the active one to say no. This law has to do with taking initiative rather than being passive and waiting for someone else to make the first move.

The Law of Exposure – We need to communicate our boundaries. A boundary that is not communicated is a boundary that is not working. We need to make clear what we do or do not want, and what we will or will not tolerate. We need to also make clear that every boundary violation has a consequence. A boundary without a consequence is nagging.

March 24, 2014


Posted in Uncategorized at 3:30 pm by kellyfdennis

Grace on the Moon

One of the benefits of being a kid is the array of choices of sayings and attitudes that are commonly used, and the inventive ways they can look at the world.  These choices are just for kids, which holds some of the appeal, since grown-ups don’t bother with them any more.

In thinking about some of them, it occurs to me they can be applied to the very adult problem of an eating disorder.  If you say them with great confidence and conviction, they can help you see things in a new light, and establish or maintain a recovery attitude.  Here are five ways to talk to your eating disorder like a child:

1.  When you hear the old nagging voice in your head telling you that you ‘have’ to binge, purge, or use some other behavior, put your hands on your hips and say out loud:   You’re not…

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March 16, 2014

Self-Appreciation: The Flip Side of Self-Compassion

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 6:02 pm by kellyfdennis


Originally blogged by Kristin Neff

“Sometimes it’s more difficult to see what’s right about ourselves than what’s wrong. For some of us even thinking about our positive traits makes us uncomfortable. Praise and compliments can make us squirm, and we often don’t know how to respond without self-consciousness. Flattery feels a lot better than insults, of course, but how many of us really take the praise in? Own it. Delight in it. For a whole host of reasons it’s often trickier than you might think to feel positively about ourselves; most of these stem from fear.

One fear involves setting up overly-high expectations. Underplaying our good points means that we’re more likely to pleasantly surprise others by doing well rather than disappoint them by doing poorly. We’re also afraid of letting go of the devil we know. If we’re in the habit of cutting ourselves down, recognition of our positive qualities will feel alien to us. Another fear is the perception of being vain. Nobody likes a narcissist — except the narcissist.

So how do we celebrate our admirable qualities in a healthy way? I believe the answer is self-compassion, which involves treating ourselves with kindness, a sense of common humanity, and mindfulness when considering our perceived inadequacies — though in a different guise. I like to call it “self-appreciation.” When we can enjoy what’s good about ourselves, acknowledging that all people have strengths as well as weaknesses, we allow ourselves to revel in our goodness without evoking feelings of arrogance or overconfidence.

Let’s first consider kindness as it applies to self-appreciation. Would you take your friends’ good qualities for granted without ever acknowledging them or letting your friends know what you like about them? Probably not, yet many of us do so to ourselves. It’s a great gift of self-kindness to appreciate ourselves and to demonstrate our approval with sincere praise. We don’t have to speak this praise aloud, making ourselves and others uncomfortable in the process. But we can quietly give ourselves the inner acknowledgement we deserve.

The sense of common humanity inherent to self-appreciation means that we appreciate ourselves not because we’re better than others, but because all people have goodness in them. To appreciate others’ goodness while ignoring our own creates a false division between us and them. But as a distinctive expression of the universal human condition that animates all our experience, we honor everything when we honor ourselves. As the Zen master Thich Nhat Hahn writes, “You are a wonderful manifestation. The whole universe has come together to make your existence possible.” Celebrating our achievements is no more self-centered than having compassion for our failings. We can’t really claim personal responsibility for our gifts and talents. They were born from our ancestral gene pool, the love and nurturing of our parents, the generosity of friends, the guidance of teachers, and the wisdom of our collective culture. Appreciation for our good qualities, then, is really an expression of gratitude for all who have shaped us as individuals. Self-appreciation humbly honors those who have helped us become the person we are today.

Self-appreciation also entails mindfulness. Just as we need to notice others’ good qualities in order to appreciate them, we need to consciously acknowledge our own positive features. However, we’re often so focused on our mistakes and flaws that we don’t even see when we get things right. What do you notice most when you get a work evaluation, the nine points of praise or the one point of criticism? Some may be concerned that if we focus too much on what’s right about ourselves we’ll ignore much needed areas of growth. This is true only if our focus is, in fact, “too much.” If we take a lopsided view of ourselves — “I am perfect and have no weaknesses whatsoever” — that would certainly be a problem. But the truth is that every human being has both positive and negative traits. Rather than running away with an exaggerated storyline about either, good or bad, we instead need to honor and accept ourselves as we authentically are. No better and no worse. The key is having balance and perspective so that we can see ourselves without distortion.

William James, one of the founding fathers of Western psychology, once wrote that “the deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” Luckily, we can meet this essential need without depending on other people to approve of us. When we treat ourselves with the same kindness with which we treat our good friends, we’ll have the support and care required to help us thrive.”

To learn more about self-compassion you can visit Kristin’s website at There are informational videos, research articles demonstrating its benefits, a way to test your own self-compassion level, and a variety of exercises and guided meditations. You can also read more about self-compassion in her book “Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind,” published by William Morrow.

For more by Kristin Neff, click here.

March 11, 2014

Secrecy and Bulimia

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 2:46 pm by kellyfdennis

ImageFeelings of guilt and shame are at the root of Bulimia Nervosa. While the symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder can sometimes be apparent, the symptoms of Bulimia are easier to hide. Most people with Bulimia are of a normal weight or even slightly overweight. The persons disordered eating habits or obsessive bingeing and purging behaviors may go unnoticed by those around them. Although many people do struggle in secret, estimates suggest that 5% of adolescent and college-age women in the U.S. are bulimic and 10% of patients with Bulimia are male.

The person who struggles with Bulimia’s urges to consume large amounts of food are most often emotionally driven. Binges and purges provide release, but not pleasure. Food becomes the enemy and is not seen as physical nourishment. Most people who struggle with Bulimia have other psychological and emotional characteristics that may contribute to the illness. Depression, anxiety, social anxiety, substance abuse, self harm by cutting may be co-occurring.

The good news is that counseling can help those struggling with Bulimia. As with other eating disorders, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy teach tools to help people manage the emotions and physical present in the illness. The Bulimia Recovery Program online is an great tool to use as an adjunct to therapy. So stop struggling in secret. Reach out and find freedom from the self-destructive cycle of Bulimia.

Until next time…embrace those things in your life that lead to wellness.

March 10, 2014

10 Ways to improve Body Image

Posted in Eating Disorders tagged , , , , at 11:41 am by kellyfdennis

Be honest and kind to yourself as you examine your beliefs, thought patterns, and assumptions about your body and the bodies of other people. This is fruitful but demanding work.

• Expand your idea of beauty.

Expand your concept of what is beautiful. View art. Observe different cultures. Spend time in nature. Constantly remind yourself that everyone is beautiful in his or her own way. Think about people you admire. In what ways are they beautiful?

• Let go of perfectionism.

In the same way that you are learning to accept yourself—flaws and all—you will also be learning to accept your unique body. Striving to reach an arbitrary idea of physical perfection is a form of self-sabotage, and is not possible anyway.

• Fully experience your senses.

Get more in touch with your body by noticing all of your senses. Concentrate on smells, sounds, colors, and touch. Best of all, connect with taste! Eat something you love (that’s not triggering). Try something you hate! Your body enables you to have physical experiences, so get brave and enjoy them.

• Reconnect your mind and body.

Certain activities—yoga, stretching, dancing, Pilates, Tai Chi—bring the mind and body together by focusing on the physical experience of the moment. These are wonderful practices for both quieting the mind and building a friendship with the body.

• Tolerate negative body talk without acting on it.

You don’t go from bulimia to loving your body in one day. Acknowledge that it’s a process, and that negative body talk is inevitable. But don’t act on the thoughts by turning to old habits. Instead, learn to talk back, or decide that you just aren’t going to listen right now.

• Understand the deeper meanings of negative body talk.

Negative body talk is a symptom of an eating disorder, just like bingeing and purging. There can be deeper meaning behind the phrases “I feel fat” (I feel worthless), “I have to lose weight” (My life lacks meaning), and “I hate the way I look” (I hate my life). When you have these thoughts, recognize that they are code for bigger issues, and investigate.

• Talk back to harmful body thoughts.

When you hear yourself being self-disparaging, talk back. Use positive affirmations and use rational, rather than emotional, language.

• Process body trauma with support.

Sometimes, body image issues are symptoms of past trauma, such as teasing, abuse, rejection, or abandonment. Healing the pain of trauma is a challenging and intimate process. I recommend working with a qualified therapist.

• Write a love letter to your body.

Thank your body for all the good things it does for you. Appreciate it for giving you a life. Tell it the kinds of things you would say to a soul mate, because, after all, your body is your soul’s companion!

March 8, 2014

OCD: A Life Sentence?

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:39 pm by kellyfdennis

Words from a person working on overcoming OCD. In support of CBT and exposure therapy.

March 1, 2014

5 Reasons Why It’s Healthy to Encourage Children to Play

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:29 pm by kellyfdennis

I would add that play is important for adults, too! Adults who play have more empathy, are better creators, innovators, and problem solvers. Lets Go Play!!

Topical Teaching


Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist, Katie Hurley, lists 5 reasons why play is beneficial for children:

1. Stress relief:

Play provides an opportunity for young children to process and work through the negative emotions they encounter throughout the day. Being a kid might seem like all fun and games, and perhaps their “problems” seem insignificant at times, but they do encounter stress along the way. heir problems feel big and overwhelming to them.

Children work through all kinds of emotions when engrossed in unstructured play. They might start out feeling stressed, but once lost in a world of imagination, they gradually let go of their stress and restore a sense of calm.

2. Emotional regulation:

Parents often ask me how to teach their children the art of emotional regulation. Little kids tend to have very big feelings and they often react before they have time to even process the event that…

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ponderings on life, food, God, and love

Grace on the Moon

Do Not Weigh Your Self-Esteem on a Scale

on anything and everything

my thoughts on what I see