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.  

Fifteen 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.  Denette is now Dallas' first certified trainer of Mindful Self-Compassion.  She earned this credential through years of training at the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion, co-founded by Dr. Kristin Neff and Dr. Christopher Germer, well known authors and pioneers of research on this topic.  For the past five years, she has taught Mindful Self-Compassion classes in Dallas.  We recently caught up with Denette to learn more about this growing practice.   

Question: You've been practicing meditation for more than 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:  Practicing meditation and other mindfulness activities 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. 

If you would like more information on Mindful Self-Compassion, visit the research page on Denette's website and also the schedule of classes for adults starting on April 1st. 


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