October 29, 2019

Balance Fear with Kindness

Posted in Compassion, Well-being tagged , , , , at 9:27 am by kellyfdennis

black and white sun in sky“Monsters don’t sleep under the bed, they sleep inside your head.” It is said, “Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as unguarded thoughts.” Thoughts are curious things, they can create fear and dread, or peace and love. May your thoughts today and the days to come be ones that build you up, not cut you down.

May you be healthy and strong, peaceful and happy. May you think thoughts of love and acceptance, for yourself and for others. May you be free from suffering and experience love in abundance. May you notice the sparkle of a snowflake, the twinkle of the stars. May you feel a gentle breeze upon your face and the warmth and compassion from those who are important to you. May you experience the courage to face a fear, and the confidence to accept yourself just the way you are. May you be kind and experience kindness.

That’s the way to make peace with the monsters that live inside your head.

May 29, 2019


Posted in cognitive behavioral therapy, Mindfulness, Well-being tagged , , , at 10:06 am by kellyfdennis

person people woman hand*

The feeling of anxiety is a part of human nature. Looking for danger and negatives kept our ancestors safe. They had reasons to be hypervigilant. In our modern world, occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. You might feel anxious when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or making an important decision.

Anxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear. For a person with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time. The feelings can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, school, and relationships.

However, being hyper vigilant 24/7 triggers the fight, flight, freeze response in our brain and body, which cause the fear center of the brain to become more reactive over time, leading to a vicious cycle of fear, anxiety, worry and insomnia. Thinking patterns of individuals with anxiety disorders are based in rumination about the past and/or apprehensive expectation (worry) about the future.

There is good news, though. Mindfulness, meditation, and cognitive behavioral therapy can help a person break out of the anxious thinking cycle and actually reverse the damage that anxiety does to the brain. It does this by helping the person focus on the present moment experience, thereby disengaging from the rumination and worry. It also activates parts of the brain that are in charge of relaxing and secreting feel good chemicals. Check out my latest You Tube video to get started on your path to less anxiety!

Be well and have a wonderful day!

*Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

May 15, 2019


Posted in cognitive behavioral therapy, Compassion, Mindfulness, Well-being tagged , , , , , , at 1:53 pm by kellyfdennis

man in blue and brown plaid dress shirt touching his hair*

Losing a loved one, getting fired from a job, going through a divorce, and other difficult situations can lead a person to feel sad, lonely,and scared. These feelings are normal reactions to life’s stressors. Most people feel low and sad at times. After a good cry or talking with a friend, we usually feel better.

However, in the case of individuals who are diagnosed with depression, the manifestations of the low mood are much more severe and they tend to persist. Crying does not help and talking with a friend is hard because one tends to feel alienated, because others can’t seem to understand why they can’t just “snap out of it.”

Major Depressive Disorder is a debilitating illness. Those suffering describe feelings of hopelessness, emptiness, despair, isolation and lonliness. One of the most difficult parts of treating depression is the negative cycle in which sufferers engage. Feelings of low self worth, negativity, and hopelessness beget more of the same thoughts and the cycle sends the person into despair.

Fortunately, when the individual learns to distance themselves from the cycle of negative thinking, he/she can begin to see a glimpse of light and hope. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness, and Meditation are awesome tools to help begin the process of distancing.

Check out my YouTube video for a Cognitive therapy-based mindfulness mediation designed to help you begin to learn the process of not engaging with every negative thought.

Be well and have a wonderful day!

*Photo by Nathan Cowley on Pexels.com

October 20, 2018

Update: self Compassion Workshop

Posted in Mindfulness, Self Image, Well-being tagged , , , , , , , at 11:35 am by kellyfdennis

aquatic bloom blooming blossomPhoto by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The first Self compassion workshop was well received. Thanks to those who attended. Self compassion is such an important topic right now, but it can be misunderstood. I think the research done by Kristin Neff and colleagues has brought to light that we will experience less depression, anxiety, stress, and a decrease in many negative behaviors if we learn to talk to and treat ourselves as we would a good friend (that’s self compassion).

Join me on my journey to offer a series of workshops on this topic. Each workshop will be unique, so even if you’ve attended one, you will benefit from the others as well.

Next up: Intro to mindfulness meditation: 11/3/18 & 11/10/18.

October 13, 2018

Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation

Posted in Mindfulness, Well-being tagged , , , , , at 6:33 am by kellyfdennis

abstract art awareness branches

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Saturday, November 3, 2018 & Saturday, November 10, 2018

9:00 am-11:30 am

Counseling office: 304 N. George St., Millersville, PA 17551

This 2-session course is designed to introduce the concepts of mindfulness and mindfulness strategies in a purposeful way in order to facilitate the integration of mindfulness into your daily life.

“Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally. It’s about knowing what is on your mind,” Jon Kabat-Zinn. As we learn to create purposeful present moment awareness we begin to see the changing of things in our lives that cause us stress. We learn to relate to our difficulties in life with more openness, compassion, and acceptance.

Mindfulness concepts covered will include:

Mindfulness and the scientific research

Mindfulness of the breath and body

Obstacles to mindfulness

Mindfulness with difficult emotions

Mindfulness with difficult thoughts

Mindfulness Meditation practices will include:

Mindfulness of breath and body

Sensory mindfulness

Mindful eating

Mindful movement

Each session will be a combination of practice, lecture, and group discussion. Each session is taught in a supportive environment with no more than 15 people. The sessions are open to all ages, backgrounds, and religions.

Cost: $150.00 for 2 sessions and materials needed for the course.

Kelly F. Dennis MS LPC is the facilitator. Please contact Kelly to sign up or for further information: (717) 951-0266 or kelly@kellyfdennis.com

September 4, 2018

A Community Discussion About Depression

Posted in cognitive behavioral therapy, Mindfulness, Well-being tagged , , , at 11:28 am by kellyfdennis

woman looking at sea while sitting on beach

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Depression is a disorder that can strike anyone at any age. It strikes across all barriers, making its sufferers miserable and robbing them of joy and satisfaction. Join Kelly F. Dennis MS LPC and Millersville Community Church for a discussion of the various types of depression and how to deal with them. Kelly is a Licensed Professional Counselor with an office in Millersville, PA. She has experience in helping individuals and families work through mental health issues including, eating disorders, anxiety, & depression.

Kelly uses an approach that combines genetic, cognitive, social, and cultural factors in assessing behavior. Participants will learn about various forms of depression, including Major Depressive Disorder and Persistent Depressive Disorder. During our time together, we’ll learn how to moderate the effects of depression through mindfulness meditation, loving kindness, cognitive therapy, and breathing.

Relief from depression begins with understanding its causes and resulting behaviors. Equip yourself to cope with depression, either in yourself or in someone you care about. Our workshop will convene at Grace Campus on Saturday, September 29 at 9 am. Gather for a light breakfast in the Family Life Center before making your way to the Sanctuary for Kelly’s presentation. The workshop should wrap up around 11:00am. Admission is free, but we are asking that you register in advance by contacting Bruce Heydt at bruceheydt@gracemillersville.org, or by calling 717-872-4571.

August 12, 2018

Why Am I Still So Depressed?

Posted in cognitive behavioral therapy, Mindfulness, Self Image, Well-being tagged , , , , , , at 2:55 pm by kellyfdennis

alone anime art artistic

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Major Depressive disorder has been identified by the World Health Organization as the most debilitating illness worldwide. There are many therapies, medicines, treatments and it still remains the most debilitating illness. One reason for this is that it seems that depression is subjectively experienced differently by each person it affects. One form of treatment that touches on most of the aspects of depression is Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression (MBCT).
•Combines cognitive behavioral techniques with mindfulness strategies in order to help individuals better understand and manage their thoughts and emotions in order to achieve relief from feelings of distress.
•Helps clients learn how to recognize their sense of being and see themselves as separate from their thoughts (inner critic) and moods. This disconnect can allow people to become liberated from thought patterns in which the same negative messages may be replayed over and over.
•During MBCT, I help the person acknowledge that even though these thoughts feel like “truths” in those  moments of feeling low, in fact they are just the symptoms of depression.
•Becoming aware, through mindfulness, that the thoughts are “just the depression voice talking” allows them to step back from the thoughts and decide how seriously they need to take them.
•Perhaps, learning to just notice them, acknowledge them, and let them go.
Schedule an appointment today to talk about using this therapy to help you to feel better!

June 25, 2018

Begin Again

Posted in Compassion, Mindfulness, relationships, Well-being tagged , , , , , , at 9:04 am by kellyfdennis


art beach beautiful clouds

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Every day is a new day. I wish you joy and contentment, peace and tranquility in this brand new week. Ask for help when you need it, help others when you can. Look for the good in people and show them the good in you. Be Well and Have a Wonderful Week!

June 14, 2018

Families are Affected by PTSD, Too.

Posted in cognitive behavioral therapy, Post Traumatic Stress, Well-being tagged , , , , , , , at 8:35 am by kellyfdennis

woman and man sitting on brown wooden bench

Photo by Vera Arsic on Pexels.com

Family members of a person with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) may experience the following:


You may feel sorry for your loved one’s suffering. This may help your loved one know that you sympathize with him or her. However, be careful that you are not treating him or her like a permanently disabled person. With help, he or she can feel better.

Negative feelings

PTSD can make someone seem like a different person. If you believe your family member no longer has the traits you loved, it may be hard to feel good about them. The best way to avoid negative feelings is to educate yourself about PTSD. Even if your loved one refuses treatment, you will probably benefit from some support.


Avoidance is one of the symptoms of PTSD. Those with PTSD avoid situations and reminders of their trauma. As a family member, you may be avoiding the same things as your loved one. Or, you may be afraid of his or her reaction to certain cues. One possible solution is to do some social activities, but let your family member stay home if he or she wishes. However, he or she might be so afraid for your safety that you also can’t go out. If so, seek professional help.


This is common among family members when the person with PTSD causes feelings of pain or loss. When PTSD lasts for a long time, you may begin to lose hope that your family will ever “get back to normal.”

Anger and guilt

If you feel responsible for your family member’s happiness, you might feel guilty when you can’t make a difference. You could also be angry if he or she can’t keep a job or drinks too much, or because he or she is angry or irritable. You and your loved one must get past this anger and guilt by understanding that the feelings are no one’s fault.

Health problems

Everyone’s bad habits, such as drinking, smoking, and not exercising, can get worse when trying to cope with their family member’s PTSD symptoms. You may also develop other health problems when you’re constantly worried, angry, or depressed.


Family members may feel hurt, alienated, or discouraged because your loved one has not been able to overcome the effects of the trauma. Family members frequently devote themselves totally to those they care for and, in the process, neglect their own needs.

Social support is extremely important for preventing and helping with PTSD. It is important for family members to take care of themselves; both for their own good and to help the person dealing with PTSD. (posts.va.gov)

June 13, 2018

Don’t Quit

Posted in Communication, Well-being tagged , , at 7:05 am by kellyfdennis

This is an oldie, but a Goodie. (There is some debate over who the author is.) It seemed appropriate on many levels for today:

“When Things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and debts are high,
And you want to Smile but have to sigh.
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won if he’d stuck it out,
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,
You might succeed with another blow.

Often the struggler has given up,
When he might captured the victor’s cup.
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown,

Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.”

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