Kathy Renfree

Kathy Renfree

Kathy Renfree is a counselor in private practice. She also enjoys teaching as an adjunct faculty member at the same university where she earned her counseling degree.

  • Things Left Unsaid

    Oct 12, 2011
    I must admit to a fascination with greeting cards. I think it started when I was about four years old. I have an early memory of being with my mother in a small drug store in my neighborhood that sold the sundry soaps, Band-Aids, batteries and medicines. This drug store also had an aisle of beautifully decorated cards for many different occasions. Since I was only about 40 inches tall or so I was eye height to the “birthstone” birthday cards. These were cards with a fake gem attached by glue that represented the “jewel” for your birth month. So, if you had a birthday in April your “birthstone” was a Diamond, May an Emerald, March an Aquamarine. I often would stare at the cards and covet them – until one day I stealthy poked at a card that had a Peridot, a lovely green, glued to it. I dislodged it at the very moment the store manager saw me, and I got in trouble. I think what I mostly felt was shame at being caught – and of course my mom was mad at me as well. You would think that forever more I would shy away from greeting cards – avoiding the resurgence of a bad memory.
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  • Personal Responsibility

    Aug 10, 2011
    A few weeks ago, I shared with someone whom I look to as a mentor, that I had noticed the lack of individuals willing to take personal responsibility for their problems. As I spent more time thinking about this, I realized, of course (!), that I was not taking personal responsibility for my own corner of the world. It is so easy, and really quite soothing to find someone to blame when things don’t go my way. To fixate on another person, institution, or “they” fools me into believing, in all my self-righteousness that I am guilty of nothing. When, of course, underneath all of my whining, bemoaning, persecuted, almost martyr like way to sainthood attitude, there I am – guilty, guilty, and guilty of what I so knowingly diagnosed in the world.
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  • The Playground Revisited

    May 31, 2011
    I have noticed, for quite awhile actually, a phenomena that I call the Playground Revisited. When you think of the word playground, what does it conjure up in your mind? In mine, I recall skinned knees on the blacktop – my elementary school was bereft of grass to run on. I recall being picked for teams of Red Rover or Capture the Flag. I have visions of patting heads in Duck, Duck Goose. I recall running away from the boys that would chase the girls with worms or bugs. But I also recall the times that I wasn’t picked for a team, or teased by the boys. I can remember whispers, looks, laughter, and relief when the ring of a bell would end recess. I can also remember moments of fear, some of anxiety, some of envy and some of hurt, with teasing and taunts mixed in.
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  • Dismantling The "Uns"

    Mar 07, 2011
    What does it mean to feel unlovable? Undeserving? Is unlovable often heaped on top of a helping of undeserving? How is it possible that both unlovable and undeserving dove tail neatly into low self-esteem, self-recrimination, and unworthiness? How is it that all of these create the mantle of never good enough? It often seems as if never good enough leads to depression, anxiety and the never-ending search for perfection. That ever present belief that “if I do this, then I will no longer feel unworthy, unlovable and undeserving.
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  • Compassion

    Jan 28, 2011
    On the day of the shooting of so many people, young and old in Arizona, I was submerged in an overwhelming wave of sadness, not only for the victims and their loved ones, but also for the shooter and his parents. My heart flooded with compassion for all those affected by this tragedy. In situations like these, our first impulse is to try to make sense of what happened. The way we go about doing that is to fit it into some framework that we understand. We immediately look for someone or something to blame, allowing us to firmly gear our outrage and emotions toward a fixed representation – one that fits neatly into prescribed descriptions of criminals, “bad guys”, those with odd behaviors or philosophies that repudiate our way of life. We latch on to political or ideological factions as the cause of tragedy. To settle our hearts and minds we neatly place and label what occurred so that we can sleep at night.
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