Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Lynn's Approach to Working with Individuals
My approach to working with people is based upon the idea that we were all born with a full range of possibilities and strengths, but as we went along our way, various events, injuries, and hurts were accumulated. We formed responses or patterns based upon those hurts that served us well in the past, but now, brought into the present, hold us back or keep us stuck. I draw upon the methodologies of Internal Family Systems (IFS), Gestalt, object relations, E.M.D.R., and the thinking of Harvey Jackins, the founder of Re-evaluation Counseling (R.C.).

I mostly do not do straight "talk therapy" by which I mean you just talking about what troubles you. I try to use the above methods to help you shift things in a tangible way in your life. IFS looks at how we often have "parts" of ourselves - the artistic part, or the strong part, or the practical part that we express strongly – but when we are "stuck" sometimes these parts are at odds with each other. Gestalt provides tools for "dialoging" either with parts of ourselves or with those not present in the room whom we have conflict with. Object relations and RC are ways of understanding how your family of origin helped form who you are today. E.M.D.R. and R.C. are tools for catharsis and changing the old message that may limit you. While E.M.D.R. was designed originally work with trauma I find it can help people shift any old message that they hold which is limiting their life, and I'm amazed at the more rapid speed with which it can do this, over some traditional therapies.

My work with you would be to help you to identify and understand the connections between current experiences and how the past impacts your current response, facilitate catharsis, gain new insight, and to release old patterns. I would explore with you which of the above methods is most effective for you. Each person is unique and we must find what works the best for you. Often it seems like a problem is very much rooted in the present, and the work is to understand what gives the problem power and to change that. This approach can be very practical and specific or can be focused on long-term foundational issues, depending upon your preference. In general I try to help people figure out a positive picture for the future that they wish to go towards. I do believe it is possible to reclaim our true selves and to embrace new possibilities.

Lynn Fitz-Hugh's Approach to Couple's Counseling

I love working with couples because when couples make progress there is so much more happiness and love for everyone involved. With couples, patterns often cloud how we see and respond to our partner. We attract a partner who holds a combination of both the best and worst of both our parents. We may also chose a partner with traits we have surrendered. However, as time wears on, some of the same things which have been hard about these traits in the past rise up and cause problems in the relationship – patterns arise in how couples respond to each other. At such times there is both a huge opportunity for healing and growth, or for alienation and dissolutions. Research shows that most couples wait years after when problems start to seek counseling. If you are debating whether to seek couples counseling, I encourage you to because you can experience so much more intimacy and happiness in your relationship by doing so. Why limp along in struggle or hurt?

Couples tend to develop patterns in how they communicate and interact with each other (including sexually), which can be frustrating and unsatisfying. My work is to help you understand how this happens in your relationship and remove obstacles to closeness between you, and to help you better communicate with and understand each other. I think it is possible to heal from hurts that have happened in your relationship, and to use these experiences to strengthen the relationship. In working with couples I draw upon the work of Harville HendrixJohn Gottman, and David Snarch.  I am a certified Imago couples counselor.

I also have a specialty working with cross-cultural couples which I have been doing since 1994 and have received various trainings in. Cross-cultural couples struggle with all the same kinds of issues as other couples. Culture is somewhat like air –we live with it always and as a result are generally not aware of it. Often we are not aware of the imprint of our own culture, and that the opinions and behaviors we hold are culturally influenced - leading to conflicts which are actually based in culture. While I by no means am familiar with every culture, I have learned how to help couples identify when an issue is cultural. I then try help the couple move away from any sense that one way is the right way, and to help them build a bridge across the cultural divide. When one party comes from a more privileged culture it is also often important to help them see where they have privilege and where their partner does not. Sometimes if one party has immigrated to this country there are issues that develop as response to the immigration process itself, or due to forced economic dependency during that time, or language barriers for the immigrating partner.

The Spiritual Path for Counseling with Lynn Fitz-Hugh

Pastoral counseling is a form of counseling where a priest or clergy person helps someone examine their life from the perspective of that clergy person’s religious beliefs. That is NOT what I do. First of all, I only do spiritual counseling when my clients request it. Secondly, when I do – I do it from the basis of your spiritual beliefs as you verbalize them to me. I will, if is seems appropriate, share some of my beliefs, but always owning them as my own and offering them to be examined, accepted or, rejected as suits you. I see spirituality as separate from religion – although in many people’s lives they overlap. So I also work well with people who identify as spiritual, but as belonging to no particular church. I believe the Holy One has many paths towards the Divine available to us.

The questions: "What is the meaning of Life? (Conversely, why does my life feel meaningless?) What is the spiritual purpose of my Life? Why do we die? How do I make meaning out of evil or suffering?" are all questions that our life experience can profoundly confront us with - as it has confronted humanity all throughout the ages. Sometimes our attempt to do therapy on our life problems cannot progress without addressing these questions. And sometimes we cannot make progress on these questions without addressing some of our life problems. This interaction, for me, is the spiritual path of counseling.

One piece of work I will do with clients if they request it, is a discernment process about life's purpose or calling. I have taken and modified from The Celestine Prophecy a process for discovering one’s "evolutionary question" – or soul's purpose in this life. This involves looking at the impact of parents, significant life events, and spiritual experiences to uncover the "clues".
If it is of concern to you - I will help you figure out how you feel about spiritual/theological questions you feel confused about and/or find a church/religion that supports your path.
I'm also familiar with the ideas of "manifesting" or the "Laws of Attraction" and the Kabbalah (As represented in "the Secret" and the works of Donald Neale Walsh, James Redfield, Wayne Dyer, Shakti Gawain, etc.) and am happy to work with people who are attempting to work with these ideas in their life.

Issues I would love to work with you on:

  • Going after unfulfilled dreams
  • Achieving your real career potential
  • Couples counseling for couples who want an enriching and growth-producing partnership
  • Cross-cultural issues for couples and families
  • Getting the most out of life transitions of all types
  • Issues of oppression you have experienced and how they have affected you
  • Learning to be more assertive and communicate more effectively
  • Improving the sexual quality of your relationship
  • Traumas and phobias
  • Eliminating writer's block - finding your authentic voice to write/compose
  • Eliminating the patterns that prevent healthy romantic partnerships
  • Integrating your own spiritual beliefs with the rest of your life
  • Creating more real closeness with the people in your life 

Experience and Training

I have worked in the social services all of my adult life, I have been a therapist since 1994, and I have a Masters of Science in counseling. I am a Washington State Licensed Mental Health Counselor. Additionally  I am a trained mediator. I have given hundreds of hours of workshops and trainings. I worked for 7 years for the Multi-Cultural Counseling Service, and I have experience working with clients from a variety of cultural, multi-cultural, and economic backgrounds. I am a certified Imago couples therapist. I have received special training in E.M.D.R. (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), is a highly researched process created by Francine Shaperio, to help people process trauma and is especially effective with P.T.S.D. (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), anxiety attacks, and phobias. This method duplicates what we do in R.E.M. sleep (dream state) while we are awake and have our conscious attention on our traumatic memories or fears. This method is very effective at reducing fears, nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, and avoidance responses. I have also been trained in brainspotting, a specialized kind of E.M.D.R.  If you suffer from these sorts of problems, I hope you will contact me -- you don't have to be stuck with these sorts of symptoms. E.M.D.R. is also good for improving your ability to perform to your full potential.

How to Contact me.