Debbi Flittner, JD, MA
Licensed Professional Counselor

“Come, come, whoever you are Wanderer, worshiper,
lover of leaving
Ours is not a caravan of despair. Even if you’ve broken your vows
A thousand times,
Come, come, and yet again, come.”

Debbi Flittner, JD, MA Licensed Professional Counselor

Located in SW/Portland Garden Home Area 

Phone: 503.799.5762
Fax: 503.245.1022

What I Offer 

My work is influenced by Eastern wisdom traditions, especially yoga and Tibetan Buddhism, and also the mystical Christian and Sufi traditions, as seen through the lens of Western Depth Psychology. 

Depth psychology, a holistic approach – so called because it allows us to consider all the parts of ourselves as welcome and necessary to the interconnected Self – originated with the psychiatrist Carl Jung. It serves as a pointer and provides a map to guide us along the labyrinth into the richness of what lies below the surface of conscious awareness. 

This approach provides a way to befriend parts of ourselves we may feel embarrassed about, or even wonderful qualities we feel too shaky to fully own or value. As the Tao also states: “The Master views the parts with compassion, because he understands the whole.” 

Disowned parts of ourselves might be strong or dark feelings, or even our strength and power muscles we are not ready to flex. Perhaps our culture, environment or gender does not support us in doing so. Maybe we learned to “hide” ourselves from someone who loved us, and to be our authentic, strong selves feels like a betrayal. 

As we walk together deeper into the interior world, you will be rewarded by finding strengths you were unaware you had, and in this way come to trust yourself and your life choices more fully. 

The Healing Process 

Talk therapy can leave a part of us behind in this process, yet engaging with the body-perhaps a bit strange at first-offers us a window in, to see how we were really affected by what happened in the past, by how we disown our experiences, and what we say about them to others. 

Moment-by-moment awareness in this process brings us into contact with our past experiences-it provides a portal into ourselves. I use therapeutic techniques that suit each person in the moment. We pay respectful attention to our body sensations, gestures and how we “language” our experiences, to resolve and integrate them into a more vital, full and loving Present. Working this way brings deep and lasting change. 

You need not have a yoga or meditation practice to benefit from this work, only a desire or willingness to learn new ways to help bring about change in your life. Body-inclusive practices build self-awareness and connection to authentic emotions and feelings in the body, and can help you do so in therapy. My approach is compassionate, supportive, direct and always collaborative. We work together, respecting the ebb and flow of your life. 

Along with my depth psychology and clinical background, I have several modalities to draw on for working with painful feelings and beliefs that are holding you back now. I am trained in EMDR, in psychodrama techniques, relaxation and visualization techniques. I use simple breathwork and gentle yoga or movement work. I have practiced many years in many schools of meditation and will draw from those to support your work in session. 

All of these modalities are well-known, researched treatments used to resolve trauma. You may find some books, articles or websites of a variety of topics that interest you on my Articles and Research page. 

Stages of Therapy 

Most people find personal growth to be a lifetime quest, and one that takes many forms. Therapeutic work through talk and somatic therapy, travel, yoga, meditation, gardening and the company of trusted companions are some of the forms I have found helpful. 

I believe that most of us grow in spurts and starts, as we seek deeper meaning, through relationship, aligning with “right livelihood”, or are challenged by life issues, health crises, or loss of someone, for example. In psychotherapy, we begin our work with weekly sessions, as we get to know each other, and pinpoint clear ideas of what is and is not working in your life. As change occurs, we may find the need to maintain this pace as an anchor, or opt for every other week or monthly check-ins to recenter. 

Many people start with counseling-a focus on a single issue-then decide to continue when it resolves, as another often deeper issue shows up. The deepest change tends to occur with long-term focus-longer than six months, up to a year or two. 

This is often true because the harder issues take time to give voice to, and one must feel very safe in order to do so. However, others find that once a big sticking point is resolved, they feel ready to move on. We will work in a way that allows you to choose what fits you in your life, and allow flexibility for the changes that occur. Sometimes plateaus are reached, relationships or careers change, and it is useful to stop and contemplate the view from there, integrating what has been gained, before heading up the path once more. 

“Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.”

~John O’Donohue