April 16, 2018

I’m Giving A Little Love From My Heart

Posted in Compassion tagged , , , , , , at 12:49 pm by kellyfdennis

pexels-photo-257360.jpegSo, are you having a bad day? Or maybe a mediocre one? Did you and your daughter have a disagreement before she left for school? The car wouldn’t start; when you finally got to work your supervisor said “we need to talk” and the talk wasn’t great. You couldn’t find your favorite pen, the dog peed on your best shoes… UGH! I hate bad days.

For all the bad, I want you to know that you are deserving of good. You are capable, strong, tenacious, fearless, and bold. You know what bad days feel like and you conquer them anyway and go on to face the next day. Do you sometimes feel like giving up? Sure, sometimes the tasks seem insurmountable.

I want you to know that even with all that stuff, you are lovable, lovely, worthy of respect and good caring from those you love. You are smart, kind, caring, and courageous. Even when you’re in your jammies and your hair’s a mess and you haven’t brushed your teeth, you are still an awesome person, waiting to give and receive love and affection.

You, my love, are my hero; courageously encountering your day even though you may struggle with depression, anxiety, an eating disorder, ADHD, have children on the spectrum, are recovering from trauma and abuse.

Now, go and do what you need to do for yourself, to take care of yourself, to love and nurture yourself. Just like you do for everyone else. Shut off the TV, turn off your phone, say “no” to watching the neighbors kids, and just do something lovely for yourself, right here, right now. I want you to take care of yourself. You deserve it.

 

February 7, 2018

Inner Critic

Posted in Mindfulness, Self Image tagged , , , , , at 4:49 pm by kellyfdennis

Kellysmile1The harsh internal critic was called the “pathological critic” by psychologist Eugene Sagan to describe the negative inner voice that we all possess.  I call her the “nasty girl that lives inside my head”.  Gender is a moot point, though, the pathological critic can take on either gender.  Therefore, your harsh internal voice may be a “nasty guy” if you are male. I’ll use female pronouns, but these principles apply to any “nasty” voice regardless of gender.

The thing about this nasty girl is that she thinks she’s being helpful. She seems to assume that if she beats me up enough, I will change my ways! That doesn’t usually happen, though. I tend to just feel crappy when she is saying nasty things to me. I have found it very  helpful to recognize when she’s “talking” and acknowledge her existence and what she’s “saying” by telling her, “Thank you, I hear that you think I’ll mess up that thing I’m working on, if I don’t try harder; but really, I’ve got this, thanks anyway.” Then I move on and shift my thinking. I  might have to do this several times in one hour depending on the situation!

Recognizing the difference between your own wise “voice” and the irrational nasty “voice” can be a little dificult at first. That “voice” has probably been in existence in your mind for a long time. Mindfulness can be very helpful in beginning to separate out what is the “wise” person “voice” and what is the “nasty” person “voice.” I have recently put up two videos on my You Tube channel that begin to teach the basics of mindfulness mediation. While they are not targeting the nasty and wise voices specifically, they do help you to get in touch with what’s happening in your mind and body and take you out of autpilot.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel to get access to all the content from past uploads as well as future uploads which will include a “Wise Voice” meditation.

Be Well and Have A Wonderful Day!

January 2, 2018

Try Some Therapy in the New Year

Posted in Well-being tagged , , , , at 12:15 pm by kellyfdennis

Discover a New Day logo smallDid you (or someone you know) ever have the experience in which life is going along pretty well, you feel reasonably successful in most areas, but there is just one area you can’t seem to get a handle on and it really brings you down and frustrates you? Perhaps you have a great job you love, but you can’t seem to get a handle on snacking excessively while TV watching in the evening. Maybe you’re a great mother with awesome kids, but there is this nagging negative body image that compels you to work out, even when you don’t really want to or need to work out. Maybe you’re a father who is a super sports coach for your child’s team, but you feel incredibly awkward and tongue tied in social situations with your peers.

People often think of counseling as something only needed by people with diagnosed mental disorders; and certainly, counseling is very helpful in those situations and many of my clients fall into that category. However, counseling can also be helpful for those frustrating little stuck spots that annoy an otherwise pretty content existence. Counseling can help with creative blocks, learning better communication skills, and learning how to get along better with the in-laws!

Counseling is also great for life transitions: kids taking off for college, getting married, bringing children into a relationship, retirement. All of these are healthy, but can cause distress from some people. Talking about it, really does help.

The collaborative approach I take with counseling allows you to explore any of those little troubling areas that might be getting in the way of Discovering A New Day! Take that first step and give me a call! (717)951-0266.

Be Well and Have a Wonderful Day!

December 5, 2017

Thinking About Thinking

Posted in cognitive behavioral therapy tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:06 pm by kellyfdennis

figure-thinking-with-question-mark-100152866 I am similar to many other counselors who use an “eclectic” theoretical approach when counseling. However, I’d have to say that I do use a large percentage of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques when counseling. I use these techniques for a couple of reasons: CBT is empirically based, which just means that there has been a substantial amount of research confirming its efficacy; I find the techniques are easy for clients to understand; and the approach just makes sense.

Essentially, the premise behind CBT is that the way we think affects they way we feelwhich inturn affects the way we behave. See, it just makes sense! The tricky part for most people is learning how to “think about one’s thinking”. Generally, we go about our days on autopilot; we may not even be aware of the “thinking” going on inside our minds. Remember when you were first learning how to drive? You had to consciously think, “I’m turning left, so turn on the left turn signal. I’m stopping, so I need to gently apply my foot on the brake.” Now, if you’re an experienced driver, those thoughts happen pretty much outside of your conscious awareness.

Similar thoughts happen for us on a daily basis. We’re going along on our merry way and, for what seems like no reason at all, we begin to feel blue, anxious, irritated, etc. Most of us look for a person or a situation to blame for this feeling when really, it’s caused by a thought that we are having.  So, you might be saying “No, that doesn’t seem right, if a guy cuts me off in traffic, I get mad because he’s a jerk!” Well, to a certain degree that’s true…but you get mad because the thought you’re having is, “That guy’s a jerk!” What if the thought you had was, “I guess he just didn’t see me coming.”? Hmm…maybe you wouldn’t feel so angry.

Something to “think” about, isn’t it?

Be Well and Have A Wonderful Day!

November 28, 2017

I’m Giving A Little Love From My Heart

Posted in Compassion tagged , , , , , , at 10:06 pm by kellyfdennis

treeinsun2So, did you have a bad day? Or maybe a mediocre one? Did you and your daughter have a disagreement before she left for school? The car wouldn’t start; when you finally got to work your supervisor said “we need to talk” and the talk wasn’t great. You couldn’t find your favorite pen, the dog peed on your best shoes… UGH! I hate bad days.

For all the bad, I want you to know that you are deserving of good. You are capable, strong, tenacious, fearless, and bold. You know what bad days feel like and you conquer them anyway and go on to face the next day. Do you sometimes feel like giving up? Sure, sometimes the tasks seem insurmountable. Do you sometimes believe that you are the only person on the planet with sense, and wonder what the heck has happened to the rest of us? Yep.

I want you to know that even with all that stuff, you are lovable, lovely, worthy of respect and good caring from those you love. You are smart, kind, caring, and courageous. Even when you’re in your jammies and your hair’s a mess and you haven’t brushed your teeth, you are still an awesome person, waiting to give and receive love and affection.

You, my love, are my hero; courageously encountering your day even though you may struggle with depression, anxiety, an eating disorder, ADHD, have children on the spectrum, are recovering from trauma and abuse. You do what you have to do to take care of your family, your job, your life.

Now, go and do what you need to do for yourself, to take care of yourself, to love and nurture yourself. Just like you do for everyone else. Shut off the TV, turn off your phone, say “no” to watching the neighbors kids, and just do something lovely for yourself, right here, right now. I want you to take care of yourself. You deserve it.

 

November 27, 2017

Need to Chill Out? Try This.

Posted in Compassion, Mindfulness tagged , , , , at 12:55 pm by kellyfdennis

Goat These are trying times; add the holiday hubbub in there and you may be feeling stressed out! Of course, there are two kinds of stress, eustress and distress, but it’s usually the distress that we notice the most. It can cause irritability, difficulty sleeping, headaches, elevated blood pressure, and elevated blood sugar levels as well. So, what if you could do a few things every day to help you feel less stressed out? That’d be great! Right? Well, actually, even though we there are things we can do everyday to help ourselves with our stress, we are also really good at talking ourselves out of doing them.

So, do what you need to do to get yourself to try one or all of these things this week:

-Bring your attention to the here and now by focusing on a physical sensation for a few moments. One example is to pay attention to your feet, right now. How do your feet feel in your socks and shoes, or barefoot resting on the ground, or in boots standing in line? What do you notice about the physical sensations in your feet? Just notice, no judgment, just curiosity.

-Breathe. I know it sounds cliche or maybe too simple to actually work, but conscious breathing is a great thing because it reduces the over stimulation of the “fight or flight” response which contributes to your feeling stressed out. So, stop what you’re doing, take a deep breath in through your nose, allowing your belly to expand, and then blow it out through your mouth. Do it 3 times, a couple of times a day, and I bet you’ll notice a difference in your stress level.

-Do some active muscle relaxation. Stand up and reach your arms to the sky, bend over and touch your toes, turn your body to the left and then to the right. If you have a little more time, practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation, a yoga pose or two, or take a nice warm bath. All the while noticing how good it feels to relax your muscles.

-And finally, Feel the Love! Place your hand on your heart (skin to skin contact is best), visualize someone who is dear to you, a person, a pet, a spiritual figure, and then allow yourself to feel the love coming from that person, pet, or figure, and allow yourself to feel the love flowing from you back to them.

Some pretty easy and not-so-time-consuming ways to de-stress this holiday season. I hope you’ll try it!

Be Well and Have a Wonderful Day!

 

November 14, 2017

Can’t Make It to the Office? No Problem!

Posted in Online Counseling tagged , , , , , at 10:28 am by kellyfdennis

computerandtabletwvseeTry video counseling!

Sometimes it just doesn’t work to stop what you’re doing and come into the office for a counseling session. One of the kids woke up sick, you woke up sniffling, the furnace broke and you have to wait for the repair man, or maybe you’re at a conference across the state and don’t want to miss your session. All very good reasons to try video counseling.

I use VSee, a HIPAA compliant platform similar to FaceTime or Skype, but secure. It’s a free program, you can download it on your computer, your table, or your phone and take your counseling session wherever you go! I like it better than telephone counseling because we can see each other and feel more connected.

So, instead of canceling or rescheduling next time you have a conflict, give video counseling a try!

Be Well and Have A Wonderful Day!

August 2, 2017

Hypnotherapy

Posted in Well-being tagged , , , at 11:46 am by kellyfdennis

I recently became a member of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. For many years after taking training in clinical hypnosis, I have been using hypnosis as a part of counseling for those who request it, or for those to whom I suggest it might be a nice adjunct to therapy. It is interesting to me the responses I get from people and the mistaken beliefs they hold about hypnosis. I thought I’d share some of the myths about hypnosis incase you’ve ever considered it, but are afraid to try because of something you may have “heard” about it.

Myths about Hypnosis from the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis website:

People often fear that being hypnotized will make them lose control, surrender their will, and result in their being dominated, but a hypnotic state is not the same thing as gullibility or weakness. Many people base their assumptions about hypnotism on stage acts but fail to take into account that stage hypnotists screen their volunteers to select those who are cooperative, with possible exhibitionistic tendencies, as well as responsive to hypnosis. Stage acts hep create a myth about hypnosis which discourage people from seeking legitimate hypnotherapy.

Another myth about hypnosis is that people lose consciousness and have amnesia. A small percentage of people, who go into a very deep level of trance, will fit this stereotype and have spontaneous amnesia. The majority of people, however, remember everything that occurs in hypnosis. This is beneficial, because most of what we want to accomplish in hypnosis may be done in a medium depth trance, where people tend to remember everything. In hypnosis, the client is not under the control of the hypnotist. Hypnosis is not something imposed on people, but something they do for themselves. A hypnosis simply serves a facilitator to guide them.

I would add that we naturally go in and out of states of hypnosis pretty regularly. Have you ever been traveling on an interstate and suddenly, it seems, you are at your exit and you really don’t remember getting there? We also are in natural states of hypnosis in those groggy moments between sleep and awake in the morning and being awake and falling asleep at night (hypnogogic).

Our conscious mind is very powerful. Sometimes it can be helpful to get it out of the way and be able to tap into the unconscious mind which can help to facilitate lasting change. Talk to me about it sometime!

Be Well and Have a Wonderful Day!

 

August 3, 2014

Good Enough

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 5:20 pm by kellyfdennis

business-lady-celebrating-success-10084081I read an article from the Renfrew foundation today about recovery. Even though I am very aware of the different perspective on Eating Disorder recovery, I was struck by the differences in the ways that clinicians and clients define “recovery”. Some state that “all ED behaviors and thoughts about behaviors must be non existent for two years”. I was somewhat surprised by this idea. As I thought about this more and read further into this clinician’s definition of “ED behaviors”, I thought to myself, “I don’t have an eating disorder, but there sure are days when I have negative thoughts about my body.”

I resonate with Martina Verba’s idea of “good enough” recovery. She states that recovery is about embracing imperfection and experiencing recovery as a path rather than a destination. She found in her study while there were individuals who reported freedom from weight/food related thinking, most stated that they might experience weight/food related thoughts, however,they stated these thoughts could just be considered “fluid” and not “destroy the day.”

So recovery is different for each person struggling with an eating disorder. How do you define recovery? I’d love to hear your perspective.

June 27, 2014

Separating True Identity From an Eating Disorder Identity

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 4:30 pm by kellyfdennis

Contributed by Mansi Totlani, MA, LPC of Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center.

Recovery from an eating disorder involves far more than establishing a healthy relationship with food. It requires breaking old habits and learning new skills to cope with the ups and downs of life. It takes strength, dedication and patience to face the inevitable challenges. Additionally, it takes a real commitment to rediscovering oneself. An eating disorder does nothing for the individual; it only takes. It takes her health, robs her of connection to friends and family, and worse, it seeks to steal her entire identity.

The longer an individual has an eating disorder, the more she is defined by it.  All decisions, reactions, activities, perceptions and values are viewed through the eating disorder’s lens. The more it takes over, the less of “her” remains intact.

Once in recovery, the eating disorder identity begins to fade, allowing her true identity to reemerge. This can prove difficult. Often, the woman or girl simply has no idea who she actually is anymore.

When embarking on the process of self-discovery, the person first needs to define what a meaningful life looks like to her. It might be finishing high school and attending college; or getting married and having children, or being an effective role model to her children in the case of a midlife eating disorder.

Next is the question of compatibility. Is an eating disorder compatible with the vision, or does it exist as an obstacle? Successfully completing high school isn’t realizable if bingeing and purging is part of daily life; similarly, whereas marriage is possible, having children may be hindered by chronic anorexia.

So the question remains:  does what an individual values, what she desires for her life, her personal goals and aspirations – are they worth the challenge and hardship involved in recovery? The simple truth is that eating disorders are opposed to a meaningful life; the two can’t coexist.

The process of rediscovering identity continues with each additional day spent in recovery. Likes and dislikes, values, personality traits, morals, even unknown talents are revealed through new activities and experiences. Every new revelation has great value because it contributes to recreating the whole — the whole person that the eating disorder sought to destroy.

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