Dr. Ellen Kenner
Clinical Psychologist
host of "The Rational Basis® of Happiness"


How to Ask
Dr. Kenner
a Question

(This has been a free public service since 1997)

Ask by phone:
The toll-free number is
Why free? See below.

Ask by e-mail:
Although you won't receive as thorough an answer as if you were to phone in live, you can still email Dr. Kenner a question

When to call:
Call any time before 10pm (Eastern Time). If she is not available, she will return your call as soon as she is free.

Call or e-mail?
You will receive the fastest, most accurate answer if you ask by phone. Most calls are answered. Not all emails are answered due to their large quantity.

What you can not ask:
Dr. Kenner does not take calls regarding suicide, medication, legal issues or any matter that threatens life or property and you must contact a local mental health professional, lawyer, doctor or the police if this is the case.

Why for free?
This has been a free public service since 1997. Why would a well known clinical psychologist answer your question for free and pay for the phone call too? Because Dr. Kenner makes her answer available on her podcast / talk show so others with the same issue can benefit. The show is a public service and is question-driven; your questions are the motor of the show.

This is not therapy
Although you will be receiving helpful advice from Dr. Kenner, remember that this is not therapy and cannot replace a fully contextual one-on-one relationship with a mental health professional.


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What's New

Independence -
1-The role of honesty in relationships 2-After being a full time housewife I have become a bitchy mom.
Begins at 1’30”
(today's podcasts)
(all podcasts)


Dating -
1-Physical vs intellectual independence 2-How do I ask out a girl I know has a boyfriend?
Begins at 1’37”
(all podcasts)


Enjoy all of Dr. Kenner's short podcasts on many topics.

    Today's Romance Quote    

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All quotes are from Ellen's and Ed's romance book:
The Selfish Path to Romance - How to Love With Passion and Reason
Buy now through Amazon
Table of Contents

    This Week's Article    

Secrets Happy Couples Know About Selfishness

Sara, like many others, has bought into the code of self-sacrifice: She feels good only when she martyrs herself, but that “good” feeling is short-lived and is soon replaced by feelings of self-betrayal (her shakiness) and resentment toward the man she once adored. ...(more)

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  Happiness and Self-Esteem  
    Self-esteem more      

Why is self-esteem important to your overall mental health?

Well, imagine the opposite. Imagine having no self-esteem. Imagine that you don't regard yourself with any esteem, that you either lie and cheat and steal, or you were always playing the role of the doormat, doing for everybody else and never doing anything for yourself. What type of mental health would you predict?

Take both cases. Take the first  case. You lie, you cheat, and you steal. You have no self-esteem. You can't esteem yourself, hold yourself in high regard, if you are making a mess of your character, your personality, by your choice. What  emotion would you have toward yourself? In private you're going to pretend it's self righteous: "I deserve this stuff that I stole and I can tell lies if I want to. Everybody is corrupt." People who are corrupt like to see the whole world as corrupt because they don't want to recognize they have choice, free will. But when they look in a psychological mirror, they will feel self-disgust. Now, that case  doesn't lead to mental health. That leads to emotional and behavioral problems. It leads to feeling hatred and envy toward anyone else who leads their life in a healthy manner. So you don't want to go that  first route of lying, cheating, or stealing. You want to treat your own subconscious, your own mind, your own character, well.

What about the second route, the more common route? "I don't want anything  for myself. I just want to do for everyone else. There's no self. You're humble. If you accomplish something great in your life you say "Oh shucks, it was just luck." You keep putting yourself down. You  won't esteem yourself. You won't value yourself. And after a while you believe it.  You believe that you are not a value to yourself. And after a while you start to feel bitter. You feel depressed because there is nothing for you in life. You're doing for everybody else and that's supposed to bring you pleasure; you see your husband getting on with his life because you're a slave to him, you're a slave to your kids, you're a slave to your boss, you're a slave to everybody and you'll never accept anything in trade from them. You treat yourself as worthless and then you wonder why other people treat you as worthless and why you don't have any self-esteem. It's a recipe for depression turning into a bitterness.

So many times in therapy, and I'm sure therapists around the country would agree, I hear "You know I've spent my whole life doing for everybody else. I'm sick of it. I want something for myself, but I  feel so guilty when I say that. I don't want to be selfish!" You need some selfishness, not only some selfishness, you need a lot of self-valuing, respecting your mind, building yourself into a healthy individual. This is not a me-only person. People usually equate selfishness with that and that's wrong. It's essential to value yourself, to be selfish.

Answering the question "Why is self esteem important to your mental health", because self-valuing is the source of mental health. It's based on your own choices and your own actions. You earn your own  mental health, so work towards that end. You want to get a sense of self pride, not because everyone pats you on the back with unconditional love and tells you you're wonderful while you've done nothing to earn it, but because you've made the choices and have taken the actions in your life that have earned you an invaluable sense of self-esteem.

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  Publications Dr. Kenner has written many articles and presented many seminars and courses around the country. She is co-author of a serious guidebook on romance and has produced over 500 podcasts. See search bar above for topics.    

Courses and Seminars
What is Happiness

Humor How humor can help or hurt your chances for happiness
Emotions Emotions and logic are allies in your search for happiness
Terrorism Sometimes the way we cope with terrorism in our own minds and the way we deal with it socially have the opposite effect we intend

Dr. Kenner is a licensed psychologist with an active private practice. Below you can find a therapist and good self-help books. Cognitive Therapy is the gold standard of psychology. Find a Cognitive Therapist anywhere in the country.    

Therapy In Rhode Island
Therapy Outside Rhode Island
How to Choose a Therapist
About Dr. Kenner
What is Happiness

Ask Dr. Kenner a Question
Definitions Explanations of various
points discussed in this web site
Self-Help Articles

Obstacles to Happiness are not always obvious
Understand Your Emotions Emotions and logic are allies in your search for happiness

Thinking Skills (Under Construction) Happiness requires that you are satisfied that your mind deals with people and events in a rational manner
Valuing Skills (Under Construction) Happiness requires that you choose only rational values to seek out and work to obtain
Self-Help Books Dr. Kenner reviews books and audio she recommends on parenting, therapy, self help, career, romance, happiness and other topics.
Self-Help CDs

  Radio Show Hear Dr. Kenner's show The Rational Basis of Happiness® on many radio stations coast to coast and online. Times of day and days of week vary from station to station. In her 15th year on air, she has been a "top 250" talk show host for the past six years.    
About the Show
Call in to the Radio Show
Ask Dr. Kenner a Question
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The Rational Basis of Happiness® and The Rational Basis® are registered trademarks of Dr. Ellen Kenner. This web site and its contents are copyrighted and are proprietary products of Dr. Ellen Kenner. Any  unauthorized use, reproduction, or transfer of this web site or its contents, in any medium, is strictly prohibited.
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