I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Brendel through my social work graduate program at Aurora University, and was extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to have her as my professor. After I established my career as a school social worker, I reached out to Dr. Brendel to present on Mindfulness to the staff at the high-school I am employed at. Prior to the presentation, the staff were not very familiar with mindfulness, and I felt confident that Dr. Brendel’s contagious enthusiasm and expertise in this area would bring valuable skills for our staff and students.

Dr. Brendel’s presentation was extremely well thought out, logical, and effective. Mindfulness can be an intimidating topic for beginners, but Dr. Brendel’s knowledge and expertise made it simple to understand in a span of less than an hour. She provided evidence-based research on the benefits of mindfulness on the adolescent brain and provided the staff with a variety of useful tools and resources for how to implement mindfulness based techniques into the classroom to improve the well being of the students. Dr. Brendel’s presentation gave me and the rest of the staff the confidence to implement mindfulness based techniques into the classroom as well as a part of my social-emotional curriculum. In the next few weeks after the presentation, many staff members approached me with excitement to discuss how mindfulness has impacted not only their own well-being, but also how they plan to implement mindfulness into their academic curriculum. Dr. Brendel is truly a talented and knowledgeable presenter!  

— Sophia Baier, MSW, School Social Worker for District 200 | February 8, 2018

"Dr. Kristen Brendel has a way of offering the concept of mindfulness in an accessible and practical manner that allows for each unique individual to adapt the practice in a way that works best for him/her. Dr. Brendel is so warm, compassionate and generous with her gifts, ensuring to the best of her ability that everyone that comes to her receives what they have sought. From yoga and guided meditation to support and educational discussions, Dr. Brendel can offer the opportunity for enrichment to everyone."

— Jill Setork, LCPC, Program Coordinator, Waterford Place Cancer Resource Center | February 6, 2018

In the spring of 2017, Dr. Kristie Brendel presented to the social work department in Naperville Community Unit District #203.  Her presentation on Mindfulness and Self-Care was inspirational, meaningful, and authentic.  Although her visit was only a few hours, what she taught has continued to be part of our practice.   Dr. Brendel is motivating, creative, and passionate about her work.  She made such an impact during this presentation that a group of social workers took her MBSR class over the summer.  In addition, she has been asked to return to the district is a variety of different ways to present, support, encourage.

— Stacy Colgan, LCSW, M.Ed., Supervisor of Social Work Services, Naperville Community Unit District #203
February 4,2018

To say I was fortunate enough to be a part of Dr. Kristie Brendel's wellness retreat in Thailand, is an understatement. When you embark on a journey such as this, there are many moving parts. There is uncertainty of one's ability to adapt to a new culture, and one's willingness to open up and receive the gifts presented. I could not have asked for a better guide and guru, in Kristie. The research, planning, knowledge and compassion Kristie put forth, is priceless and unparalleled. Every step of the way, she was instrumental in guiding you along your journey of growth. She is the tool you need in your toolbox. This experience was more than I could have wished for!

— Anne Rick | June 29, 2017

I was able to attend the Per La Vita Wellness LLC retreat in Phuket, Thailand. From start to finish, the trip exceeded my expectations. Prior to the trip, I had zero experience in mindfulness, meditation, and yoga. After the trip, I came away with a sense of better awareness about my own feelings, and people and objects around me. I enjoyed it so much, I promised myself I would keep learning and applying mindfulness practices at home. Dr. Kristen Brendel, PhD was able to keep everyone involved despite your level of experience in mindfulness, meditation, and yoga sessions by giving plenty of examples, encouraging questions, and providing options for more advanced individuals. Kristen did a great job of planning our trip itinerary and made plenty of time available for us to explore and plan extra activities on our own if we chose to do so. Our planned events included a bareback/swim elephant encounter, temple tour, island hopping tours (James Bond island, Maya bay, Phi Phi), experience monks walking the streets in the morning, and a visit to the night markets. The furthest trip from the hotel was less than an hour’s drive, and the hotel itself was beautiful. We stayed at The Slate in Phuket, located right next to the beach. The hotel provided excellent transportation service to all of our excursions in comfortable, extra clean vehicles. Kristen made herself available to us during the entire trip, coming with on all the group excursions and quickly replying to any questions or comments in our Facebook group that she organized. I was given many new unexpected experiences and have so many wonderful memories thanks to Per La Vita Wellness LLC (and Kristen)’s great trip planning. Thank you!

— Ryan Garlisch | June 28, 2017

I had the opportunity to attend the Thailand 2017 Mindfulness retreat with Dr. Kristen Brendel, and it was wonderful! I first met Dr. Brendel as a social work graduate student in her classes, and I could see right away just how passionate she was about mindfulness. She is not only well-versed in the current literature on mindfulness, but she is also well-versed in it's application. I was super excited to sign up for the Thai retreat because I knew that I would be getting mindfulness practice backed up with the scientific research behind it. And as far as retreat planning goes, Dr. Brendel is excellent at what she does. She not only planned out and instructed mindfulness and yoga classes throughout our trip, but also planned excursions (island tours, temple visits, etc) so that group members had something incredible to look forward to each day...with a group discount which was super helpful. She has been there every step of the way for me and all group members, since first expression of interest, all the way through checking in to make sure we made it home safe after our flights. Mindfulness in Thailand was filled with so many positive memories that I will forever cherish.

Thanks Kristie!

— Amanda Elizabeth | June 27, 2017

I attended Kristie's first mindfulness retreat in Thailand in 2017. It's hard to put into words exactly how amazing this experience was. Sure we can all read about mindfulness in other places, but the entire retreat was an exercise in Mindfulness. Kristie provided comprehensive classes about the fundamentals of mindfulness, yoga and meditation as well as organized activities and trips that allowed you to practice some of the information learned. I'm a firm believer that sometimes you need to get outside of the everyday grind to really evaluate your life and behaviors and this retreat provides the opportunity to set aside daily activities and really focus on your inner growth. The benefit of attending this retreat far outweighed the costs. I very highly recommend her retreat for anyone from the very beginner of mindfulness practices to more advanced students of life. This review speaks to the retreat experience itself, but should you have any questions about the location or my recommendations for other potential Phuket, Thailand retreat participants please feel free to comment or message me directly.

Kristie, thank you for refreshing my mind and body as well as providing an opportunity/experience to deepen my relationship with my husband. It was an amazing and life changing week!

— Ann Maxwell | June 27, 2017

I had the blessing of having Kristie as a professor for the Mindfulness and Social Work course. It was life changing! I still use the coping skills that I learned in that class not only for my patients, but for myself. You can just feel love and compassion radiating off of her! She truly does care about each person she encounters!

— Jess Key | July 21, 2016

This woman can change your life! She radiates Love and Compassion. It’s a pleasure to talk with her whenever I can. Having her in your life in any capacity is a choice for growth and empowerment.

— Paul Hansen | July 21, 2016

Dr. Brendel is an amazing practitioner. Her treatment programs are evidence-based and highly effective. I highly recommend her.

— Jamee Adkins | December 4, 2015

I just finished an 8-week Mindfulness Based Stress Release Class with Dr. Kristie Brendel. This class was not fluffy or indulgent, it proved central to my functioning! Believing that the more we sacrifice, the bigger the reward, often pushes us to the point of losing focus and being counterproductive. Being fully in, and embracing the present moment, should not be considered a reward, it should be priority. I highly recommend this class to all!

— Mary Kay Sergo | January 17, 2018