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Letter from the President – Tribute to Barbara Lynch

CTAMFT President

Dorothy Timmermann, LMFT, CTAMFT Board President

As we head into the summer months, I am reminded that as New Englanders we experience seasonal transitions that vary greatly and offer opportunities for us to appreciate the changes that occur both in our physical surroundings as well as in our emotional space. So as the grass is growing and the plants flowering all around us, many will also experience the mood lifting experience of more sunshine and perhaps some well deserved time off. Seasonal transitions can also be difficult for people, like any other transition. For some, the summer heat will feel oppressive and the pollen in the air can be quite bothersome. Perhaps summer days will leave some feeling lonely and conjure memories that may include the loss of loved ones. These possibilities and others are all our collective realities.

I’d like to take a moment to send a heartfelt wish for as much peace and joy among our community as is possible over the coming months. Your Board of Directors will take a two-month break after our June 8th meeting. While work will continue through the summer, our structure supports the decreased commitments and finds it is helpful in reenergizing everyone. We look forward to regrouping in September and encourage members to reach out over the summer and find out ways to get more involved with our professional association. Please contact us anytime at ctamft@snet.net.

The Board of Directors would also like to thank Southern Connecticut State University for so graciously hosting our last Networking Breakfast and Meeting. We had a wonderful turnout of students, faculty and community members; and appreciated the opportunity to dialogue in a very personal manner.

Please now spend a moment hearing the thoughts of fellow members as we reflect together on the loss of a great woman and wonderful contributor to our community. Barbara, you will be forever in the hearts of many.

(from the Monday morning supervision group)

Barbara Lynch

Barbara Lynch

Barbara, our mentor, supervisor, colleague and friend. Her death leaves a real void not only in our Monday morning schedules but also in our personal and professional lives. It is hard to imagine our world without her in it, even though we had been preparing for her exit for a long time. Barbara was open to talking about her death in our groups and she taught us so much about saying goodbye, closure and tying up loose ends.

We started our journey as a group in 2005 at Southern Connecticut State University and in 2009 with the increased need for oxygen tanks Barbara moved the group to her home. Much of what we have learned in these groups is embedded in some form within each one of us.

Barbara had strong opinions and was never shy about voicing what she believed. Underneath these strong opinions she also held a strong safety net beneath each one of us, sometimes pushing us to take a new step, sometimes challenging our view of cases. Always planting a seed and allowing us to grow at our own pace. Barbara was always systemic in her thinking and her statements and questions always had a well thought out strategic intervention. She was always thinking one step ahead. Barbara strived to be an artist in everything she did and indeed she was an artist to us, we were always thirsty for her words, point of view and intervention.

We would like to share some of what we learned from Barbara in these Monday morning groups:

Thank you Barbara for teaching us:
1) The power is in the system and that the change needs to come from the system. For always emphasizing that the symptom has a positive function in that system and that we either normalize, maximize or minimize these symptoms to help the system with change. To see that all behavior has a purpose and that these behaviors are ACTS of LOVE. To support the healthiest part of the system first. Stabilize the larger system first. When feeling stuck as a therapist expand the system, bring in more family members. As therapist hold the negative for the system so that system can take on the positive.

2) All about how clients recreate their family of origin (FOO) and that the roles we take on in our families as children, are the roles we take forward in our relationships and families. And how important sibling positions were in shaping these roles. That differentiation from FOO or rather the lack of it creates many issues in relationships.

3) So many things about the correct stance to take as a couples therapist. Avoid being triangulated at all times, always work in the best interest of the relationship help couples clarify their relationship and to assist couples to find the purpose of their relationship. Dig deeper, do not accept their first answer of what brings couples to therapy, keep asking: “What else?” In a healthy relationship you can see your partners’ flaws and love them with these flaws. All exit signs need to be closed in a relationship. Unconditional commitment means that each partner can see their part in their patterns. What are the meta-rules (the rules about the rules) in a relationship. An important part of a relationship is having selective amnesia. First thing to assess is hierarchy. It takes real skill as a therapist to control the emotional tone of the session.

Thank you Barbara for these reminders about life:

We always have what we want.
There are no coincidences in life.
Things always balance out. Be thankful when they balance out in a way that we can handle.
There has to be a no to every yes.
Awareness alone is not enough to make change happen.
It is always both. It is not this or that, it is this AND that.
Sometimes doing nothing is doing something.
There can be no growth without pain and suffering.
To be mentally clean ourselves so that our work as professionals is clean too.
To carve out personal space in life and in your relationship.
Hold onto good habits especially when life is challenging.
Find and always have something that allows the expression of creativity.

Barbara Lynch

Barbara Lynch, SCSU

Dear Barbara:
A teacher is a very special person
Who uses his or her creativity
And loving, inquiring mind
To develop the rare talent
Of encouraging others to think, to dream, to learn, to try, to do.
Beverley Conklin

Teachers are like flowers:
They spread their beauty
Throughout the world.
Their love of learning
Touches the heart of their students,
Who then carry that sense of wonder
With them wherever they may go.
Teachers, with their words of wisdom,
Awaken the spirit within us all
And lead us down the roads of life.
Deanna Beisser

Thank you Barbara for always role modeling the essence of what you taught and touching our lives as therapists, supervisors, teachers, students, parents, and most importantly in being a genuine human.

With much love and respect,
Monday supervision group.

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