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 My Dog Taught Me

    Aug 12, 2010
    My dog Cooper has taught me many things since that snowy day two years ago when he became part of my family. My son first saw Cooper – curled in a cage – looking forlorn and so sad. His big brown eyes cautiously looked our way, but he did not rise to come to the side of the cage as some of the other cats and dogs had. Cooper stayed coiled in a donut shaped mass of fur and eyed us somewhat suspiciously. We asked to meet him, the staff corralled us to a room, and Cooper was brought to us. Cooper timidly came over, sniffing our outstretched fingers and then reared up on his hind legs as if to say “nice to meet you.” It was close to closing time and we knew we had to leave. My husband, typically cautious and never quick to make an important decision, walked up to the front desk and said, “We’ll take him!” We hustled Cooper to the car and made a stop at Petsmart to load up on doggy supplies. What fun we had picking out a new toy, a new bed and special tasty morsels. Cooper (formerly Shorty – an insulting name even though he was vertically challenged), pranced along with us in the store as if to say – “hey look, I won the family lottery” to the other dogs in the store.
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  • This Blog: Brought To You By The Letter U

    Aug 05, 2010
    When you think of the word unfold, what pops into your head? Clothes that slip and slide upon themselves and never look neat? The letter you tri-fold that keeps opening as you look for an envelope? The plot of a thriller – movie or book? A blossom in the garden or the origami cranes with loose creases? To me the word unfold represents the unbidden, the unexpected and the unplanned. Unfold is the gift of a call from a friend, the spontaneous invitation for fun in a moment of loneliness. Unfold represents what happens when we do not plan, we do not anticipate and we do not avoid. Unfold is powerful.
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  • What’s on Your Refrigerator?

    Jul 27, 2010
    For some reason I feel compelled to put things on the door of my refrigerator. I do not think I am alone in doing this, and I believe that the refrigerator door can sometimes represent where we are in our lives. On my refrigerator, I have about 20 magnets of various shapes and sizes. Some of the magnets hold up pictures of people important to me and others hold up sayings or cartoons that I find funny. I have some inspirational magnets – like “If you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right” and “I want to be the person my dog thinks I am.” I also have a fortune from a cookie that I had a while ago. A cute, tiny bee magnet holds it on the door. It says,”You can’t ride in all directions at once.” I remember when I broke open the cookie and read the fortune I thought, hmm, what is this fortune telling me? Slow down, focus, plan, and don’t bite off more than you can chew? I guess it could be all of these. That is why the fortune earned a place on my refrigerator. So each day, when I see that fortune, it reminds me to pay attention to what I am doing and to be careful to not do too many things at once.
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  • Creativity and Counseling

    Jul 19, 2010
    The other day I was reading an article in Newsweek magazine (ink on paper, I turned the pages!) called “Creativity in America: The Science of Innovation and How to Reignite Our Imaginations” by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman. In the article Bronson and Merryman point out that, in this country, research shows that creativity is declining. As I read the article I thought of all the times I have encountered the need for creativity – in the classroom, in counseling sessions, in parenting and in cooking, to name a few. From a teaching perspective, I noticed the difficulty some students had when challenged to come up with observations or solutions to problems that were not in the text. When I would mention that the test would include a case study, some of the student’s would be distressed and ask for a study guide. They would also ask me what would be on the test. Not what the test covers mind you – but what questions I would ask. I would always respond: the tests tell me if you’ve read the text, but your response to the cases tells me you found a way to use the information. I don’t think they liked that!
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  • Feelings…Where Have They Gone?

    Jul 15, 2010
    One of the things I have noticed is the difficulty clients have in identifying their feelings. Often they answer the question: how are you feeling, with an answer about what they are thinking. I notice this especially when they talk about the problems they might be having with relationships. There are so many reasons why people have difficulty defining what they are feeling. What comes to mind for me is they often focus on looking outward for answers rather than inward. It is much easier to say what they think instead of sitting for a moment and thinking about what they feel. Another reason for not being able to say what they are feeling comes from the fact that as a society we spend very little time unoccupied.
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