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Getting to know Dr. Jennifer Fitzgerald

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You might not be familiar with the name behind our upcoming externships this November.

Dr. Jenny Fitzgerald has generously offered up her time and experience to come and teach our Four-Day Externship, Advanced Externship, and a class on using EFT to work with couples struggling with Infidelity. All of which we are excited to offer in Hillcrest this November (Learn more about those upcoming events HERE)

We thought we’d take a moment to get to know her, before hearing from her in person. Please warmly welcome her to our South African Community!

Jenny writes, “I am very happy to be planning a trip to South Africa in November 2018.  With the exception of a day in Cairo some years ago, I have never been to Africa so this will be an exciting first!  It will also be good to spend time with Dr Elmein Lesch and support her in her journey of becoming an international trainer in EFT.  I look forward to meeting each of you who will attend the EFT trainings that Elmein and I will be offering.

Let me tell you a little about myself …. I live in Brisbane Australia, and co-direct the Australian Centre for EFT.  I also work one day a week at The University of Queensland where I coordinate courses in clinical communication skills for the medical students and Couples Therapy for the post grad program in the School of Psychology.  I love my clinical work and teaching role and am grateful that my dream of having a mix of clinical and teaching work has eventuated.

I started my working life a bit over forty years ago as a student nurse in a country hospital in Queensland.  This was the beginning of many rewarding years for me as a nurse.  Over time I became involved in a palliative care team in Brisbane which sparked my interest in counselling and work in pastoral care.  While my three children were very young, I started study at UQ with a goal of becoming a Clinical Psychologist. One step at a time I achieved the goal.

My PhD research investigated the experience and repair of hurt feelings in couple relationships, and I was fortunate to have Dr Judith Feeney, an adult attachment scholar, as my supervisor and guide.  One night in 2002, when the children were asleep and I was settling down to look at what the library database had to offer on the application of attachment theory, my eyes fell on a book chapter by Sue Johnson and Les Greenberg entitled, Emotionally focused couples therapy, Restructuring attachment. Those two words, restructuring attachment, caught my attention.  I requested the chapter from the librarian, and then read a piece of work that radically changed my working life. I was captured by the concept that as therapists we can facilitate a change in the way that partners relate to each other emotionally, thereby helping them to create more secure and satisfied relationships. Very recent research has confirmed that over the course of an EFT intervention, partners’ attachment avoidance and anxiety does decrease.

This book chapter motivated me to travel to Ottawa for EFT training, to become certified as an EFT therapist supervisor and trainer, and more recently to teach workshops all over Australia and present at international conferences. Working with EFT for Couples has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my working life.  

You might like to see our website  I also recommend to you two books that I have co- authored or edited.   An emotionally focused workbook for couples: The two of us, by Veronica Kallos Lilly of Vancouver Canada and myself, was written as a support for couples undertaking EFT, and also as a support for therapists learning EFT.   Foundations for couples’ therapy: Research for the real world is a book I edited for therapists, drawing attention to a wide range of topics relevant to couples’ therapy.

I look forward to meeting with all of you soon,

Jenny Fitzgerald”

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