Betsy Wright Loving, MSW, LICSW, Psychotherapist,
Arlington /Burlington, Washington 425-501-8894
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How It Works
A discussion about getting unstuck...


I help people who feel stuck in painful feelings from the past learn to release them and move on into the present.

Sometimes you know why you’re upset, and other times the feelings just seem to blow in out of nowhere, confusing you and upsetting your life. You might find yourself thinking about the past all the time.  Traumatic events from deep in the past can re-surface and wreak havoc in an otherwise happy life.

Emotional pain – much like physical pain – is your “body-mind’s” way of getting your attention.

As complicated, sensitive beings  we require regular maintenance of our emotional selves. Difficult times will come and can be the triggers that help you grow into a new level of self-understanding and care, enriching your life in unexpected ways.  We may like to think, "This shouldn't happen to me," but in fact this is just life.  It's one of the most important ways that we grow strong and resilient.

Beyond the absence of illness or “disease," what is mental or emotional health?

Well-rounded emotional health means... learning to be fully in the Now in your body and mind – acknowledging and managing emotions, sensations, and thoughts.  This frees you to live a satisfying and balanced life of purpose, integrity, and love in a challenging world.

  Photo: B. Loving

Naturally, every life is unpredictably punctuated with occasional crises and turbulence, right alongside the achievements and celebrations. It’s never a straight path and it’s never quite like we thought it would be... Some of the difficult times are really painful. At times like this, it is helpful to remember that you don’t need to handle everything alone.

The following definition of good therapy or counseling (terms I use interchangeably) guides my practice.

Good, helpful therapy is...


When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

—Max Planc,
Nobel Physicist


Non-pathologizing - This simply means that you are not defined by your problems; all of us are far greater than the sum of our strengths or our challenges. Within this model of therapy, it is helpful to acknowledge that living in a stressful, industrialized world often inadequately meets our needs for essential emotional supports and the sense of meaning and community that is so important to us all.

Overwhelm, loneliness, emotional depletion, and relationship difficulties are not “mental illnesses” but rather are the product of these intense cultural conditions and how they impact our families and our deepest personal lives. Resolution focuses upon the discovery of strengths, gifts, and experience – your personal assets – that become your tools for growth and change.

Empowering - I work from an abiding belief in your capacity to grow, heal, and transcend the difficulties in your life, if you want to. I believe that no one is fundamentally flawed or beyond being able to cultivate their best selves in order to live happily and well if they really want to.

Each patient carries his own doctor inside him... We are at our best when we give the doctor who resides within each patient a chance to go to work.

—Albert Schweitzer, MD



Collaborative - I work from a position of trust in my clients’ intuitive self-knowledge and in their inner “healer” to work with us to clarify difficulties and strengths as well as to co-create resource strategies that can result in real life changes and even transformation. I see my role more as a consulting partner or guide than as someone who has “all the answers.” Truthfully, the answers are within you and I am here to help you recognize and explore them.

Mindful Self - I maintain a daily mindfulness practice of my own that serves to keep me fully present in the process of working with others as I serve as their mirror and sounding board. Knowing myself well is key to being as effective as possible as a therapist.

Relationship - The relationship between a therapist and client is the real vehicle for change in good therapy. This therapeutic relationship becomes a safe haven where clients can experience their deepest feelings and examine their most intimidating problems, confident that throughout the process – no matter how messy it might get – they will be held in confidential, unconditional positive regard by me. It is difficult to adequately describe how important this relationship is.

Photo: B. Loving  

Depth - As human beings we all have the capacity to avoid fully experiencing extreme pain or trauma in the interest of physical survival and/or preservation of one’s psychological Self. This is a natural defense that may save your life at the time, but that sometimes endures long past the need for it, wherein it can create real difficulties in daily life. Good therapy is intended to safely accompany clients to the depths of their emotional lives and histories, to approach together the wounds or memories that are either indirectly or directly creating trouble for them in the here and now. I believe that cognitive and behavioral approaches alone, while really useful, usually do not result in the kind of deep emotional shifts that can transform a life.

Humility and Humanity - All therapists are only human and all relationships, even therapeutic relationships, are by nature imperfect. You may encounter difficult emotions from time to time as you do deep personal work and revisit difficulties from your past as you work with a therapist. The important thing is that we will work with whatever arises and make whatever changes are necessary to your therapy to fully meet your needs.

  Photo: B. Loving

Wabi Sabi - In Japanese culture there is a concept called wabi sabi that refers essentially to appreciation for the beauty of all that is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. Each of our lives fits this non-judgmental, open description. I like to think that we are each in the on-going, evolving process of imperfection. For some people, simply confronting and accepting their own imperfections can bring relief and energy into their life.

I view the painful difficulties that bring most people to counseling not as the result of deep pathology or brokenness but a very natural manifestation of wabi sabi. There is function, even purpose, in everything that happens to us. Our task is to reveal it.

What will sessions look like?

Somatic, integrated...

I favor a therapeutic approach that integrates deep emotional focus, body sensations, and information processing. I may introduce components such as EMDR, Focusing, and sometimes EFT to our sessions. I often incorporate mindfulness practice and deep relaxation as grounding behaviors to help clear the way for clarity and understanding.

Last-minute scheduling challenges...

Though I usually see clients at my office for face-to-face sessions, there are sometimes occasions when you have a last-minute scheduling problem and find yourself unable to make it to your scheduled session on time.  The option of conducting our session by phone is a great way to save the day. In addition, some people like to schedule phone sessions interspersed with face-to-face sessions to meet their own scheduling or commuting restraints.


Sensible shoes...

While somewhat unconventional, a walking session is sometimes an excellent way to sort out feelings and thoughts. Walking and talking go together naturally and I am always open to pulling on my coat and walking with you when that feels right.

Creative tools...

I often employ therapeutic writing and journaling, drawing, mind-mapping, movement, yoga, and other creative methods to boost the process of clarifying emotions, beliefs, and issues. By nature, psychotherapy is an intuitive and creative process. Tapping into the unconscious with these creative tools can be gratifying and effective work.

The two most common reasons people don’t go to a therapist when they are struggling with a problem.

Waiting for things to get better...

  Photo: B. Loving

While some things sometimes get better with time and great patience, it’s also true that they may even worsen.  When we go ahead and address a need that is trying to get our attention now, it can save lots of energy and distress. Waiting until things are so uncomfortable that you just can’t stand it anymore can often result in compounded emotional pain and more work in the long run.

How long would you ignore physical pain – a toothache – before calling the dentist?

“Surely, I can handle this myself...”

All my life I have derived great pleasure from doing things for myself – taking on a challenge, learning how to do something new and then accomplishing it – and I know I’m not the only one who gets real satisfaction from this. Look at the “do-it-yourself” market – home improvement stores focused on homeowners, how-to shows on TV, not to mention countless podcasts, websites, and books teaching us how to do almost anything.

The thing is... your personal life isn’t a leaky pipe or a room that needs a coat of paint.

There is definitely a time to get some help.

How will you know?

Even though you may be struggling right now and feeling confused about what to do next, please remember this:

You can trust your deepest knowing about what is the right thing to do now.

Please feel free to give me a call.  We can take a few minutes to chat about what brought you to my website today and about scheduling an appointment to begin our work together.

Click here for more at “About Betsy”

Betsy Wright Loving, MSW, LICSW, Psychotherapist, Arlington / Burlington, Washington 425-501-8894

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