Diane Feffer

Preston Hollow resident and Licensed Professional Counselor, Denette Mann has a life long mission to growth and well being for herself and to help others interested in that journey.  Her path towards a career in counseling started after earning her MBA at University of Texas at Austin and working for Texas Instruments.

 When Denette moved with her husband and infant daughter for a temporary assignment  in Baguio, Philippines, she witnessed first hand the impact on a population struck by poverty, a recent earthquake and volcanic eruption.  For the next three years, she immersed herself into therapeutic work at a local center, which housed children and protected them from abusive parents.  There she worked alongside Dr. Garry Landreth, the world-renowned play therapist and director of the University of North Texas play therapy program.

 After returning home to Dallas, she redirected her course in life by earning a Masters in Education with a focus on Counseling at the University of North Texas.  Throughout her counseling practice in north Dallas, she has pursued training that honed her therapy skills and moved her forward as a compassionate, caring person in the world.

Ten years ago she began a personal meditation practice.  She sought out further education on the topic of meditation by attending an intense one-week training in MBSR (mindfulness based stress reduction) in New York , led by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn and Dr. Saki Santorelli.  She returned to New York and attended a week long seminar on ‘Focusing,’ a gentle form of therapy that depends on the person’s ability to go inside for the answers to life’s problems.  Additionally she has invested in training on Mindfulness Based Self-Compassion with Dr. Kristin Neff and Dr. Christopher Germer.  She is on target to complete and earn her teacher certification this summer from The Center for Mindful Self-Compassion, founded and managed by Kristen Neff, Ph.D. and Christopher Germer, Ph.D., renowned and published researchers in the specific area of Mindful Self-Compassion.  

As a result of these experiences and choices, Denette has developed a way of utilizing mindfulness and meditation in her therapeutic work with clients of all ages. For the past three years, she has taught Mindful Self-Compassion through the SMU CAPE program.  We recently caught up with Denette to learn more about this growing practice of Mindful Self-Compassion. 

Question: You've been practicing meditation for a decade, what made you delve into Self-Compassion?

Denette:  Meditation practice changed my life.  Learning to be mindful in everyday moments gave me more choice over how I responded to events and to enjoy the small things that happen to us all but are often missed daily.  When I received notification of a training on mindful self-compassion I didn’t have to think about it; I immediately knew that was my next step in my own personal journey and in my quest to be an always improving therapist.

 Question: Is there an extra benefit of practicing Mindful Self-Compassion instead of just Mindfulness by itself? 

Denette:  I learned that self-compassion is an important addition to the practice of meditation and mindfulness. M & M help us change our brain and counter the brain’s built-in negativity bias so we can be in the present rather than being in the past or future worrying, ruminating, regretting and all the other things we tend to do.  What mindfulness doesn’t do is give us tools for getting through tough moments.  Self-compassion uses mindfulness but adds compassion for ourselves in these moments.  The research clearly points to significant additional benefits when mindfulness and self-compassion are used during life’s inevitable tough moments.

 Question: What are your thoughts on the connection between our society's dependance on mobile devices and our search for meditation, yoga and other ways to practice mindfulness?

Denette:  Our dependence on mobile devices is counter to the movement toward mindfulness in the U.S.   Being on a mobile device puts us in our heads and out of our bodies and emotions.   It also is a poor substitute for real connection that human beings are wired to need from birth to death.  The amount of time spent by some on social mobile devices also wires the brain to increase rumination and worry. 

 Question: How would you encourage a newbie - someone who is on the fence about starting 2017 out with Mindful Self-Compassion.  Is there some way they could ease into this practice on a daily basis?

Denette:  There are many paths to learning mindfulness and self-compassion. In classes, formal practices are taught which can be reinforced through home practice. Informal practices are practices that offer individualized ways of implementing these practices in small ways that work for a person’s lifestyle. 

 Question: What type of inspiration and training did you receive through Kristen Neff, Ph.D. and Christopher Germer, Ph.D. with the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion ? 

Denette:   I took the Intensive training from Dr. Kristen Neff and Dr. Christopher Germer. They embody mindfulness and self-compassion and I left the training with a calm that persisted through thick and thin for several weeks. As I continued to train toward becoming a Certified Mindfulness Self-Compassion (MSC) trainer I was required to do online supervisions with Certified Trainers. In these online sessions there were people from all over the world doing their first course as well. This is an exciting time as this relatively new program (about 6 years old) is taking hold in so many different places in the world and the response has been tremendously positive from participants. 

 Question: What advice do you have for the busy professionals who are multi-tasking their way into 2017?   

Denette: My advice to busy professionals is to start the year off by treating yourself to an MSC course.  Research shows that we get more done being mindful than by being mindless and our happiness factor increases significantly in the process. 


Click short link for days/dates/times of two upcoming Mindful Self-Compassion 8-week sessions: 

Registration link 


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