To those who came before us...

Ellen Hutcheson

March 21, 1942 – November 7, 2022 is dedicated to Ellen Hutcheson, who was my psychotherapist, off and on, but mostly on, from the mid 1990’s, until our last session on April 5th, 2022. This was due to her retirement and impending death from cancer. The memory of her will live on as an example of the most loving and uplifting Ideal Mother that ever came into form on this earth.

Even after Ellen survived cervical cancer 25 years ago, and amid dealing with Lyme disease since 1998, she maintained a positive outlook for herself and her clients. She then exemplified this positive stance, working for as long as she could, while dealing with the effects of endometrial cancer that had metastasized to her lungs and lymphatic system. In one of our final sessions she said, “I have work to do here; I want to be of service. I want to die with my boots on, and I know that love has a plan for me”.

Ellen was born in New York City and was raised in Pennsylvania and Maine. Since 1976, she has spent her life in Boothbay, Maine, where she lived near her sister and brother-in-law and her two beloved dogs. She loved being outside in nature, caring for her garden and enjoying the water ways, while spending Spring, Summer, and Fall in Maine. Being a snowbird, she often wintered in Florida, usually in the Keys, where she was able to swim with dolphins, or more inland to spend time with horses.

Ellen Hutcheson in a green dress

Her early career included training at Arthur Janov’s Primal Institute in Los Angeles, California. While there, she discovered for herself that she needed to integrate an Ideal Mother and Father persona to parent and care for herself. She then developed the Emotional Cleansing Process (ECP) that she used with all her clients, either via phone sessions or in person in a Primal Box at her office. As an important addition to Primal Therapy, and what defines the Emotional Cleansing Process from Primal Therapy, was her development of the Clearing and Healing Tools. These two tools help people move from being stuck in “the primal pool of pain” where they continue to remain as victims, to personal empowerment. It includes the important internalization of the Ideal Mother and Father.

In the last many years, Ellen was interested in the work of Stephen Porges and his Integrated Listening System, Safe and Sound Protocol (ILS SSP). She began to practice SSP in conjunction with Emotional Cleansing Process with some of her clients. In April 2019, she wrote a brief paper describing ECP, which she offered to Stephen Porges for his review. Her paper is available here.

Painting Monhegan Memories

One of Ellen’s loves was painting; she was an artist. Here is one painting that she shared with her clients for Christmas 2021. She painted it in July 2021, one month after her cancer diagnosis, while on Monhegan Island; one of her spiritual homes. The painting is entitled “Monhegan Memories”. It reminds me of her Boothbay cottage near the Damariscotta River.

Winter 2021 would be Ellen’s last holiday season. Here are some of her thoughts that she shared with her clients in her Christmas letter, entitled “Transformation”…

This season of change I am reflecting on transformational change in myself and in our world.

Physically, I am feeling the changes taking place with less energy and mild discomfort; however, emotionally, and spiritually, I am feeling strong, and grateful, and loved, and appreciated, and joyful. I am overwhelmed, grateful for, and energized by the loving support from so many family members and friends that continue to flood my way. I am feeling grateful for each day of my life that I am able to continue the work that I love, fulfilling my purpose in being here. I am feeling grateful for the home where I live, the land on which I live, where I take in the beauty that surrounds me daily and nightly….the river views, the night stars, the morning sunrises and so much more, filling me with a deep sense of inner peace and contentment.
Believing in life after life, I feel the next place I go will be a peaceful, wondrous, loving, joyful place of new growth and learning for my soul. Although I grieve and feel sad and cry often for having to say goodbye to so many people and beautiful connections to this Earth, my soul feels expectant and happy to be on the cusp of another adventure. I feel like I have completed what I came here to do, made plenty of mistakes and have learned
and grown from them all. I feel uplifted by my journey. I am not giving up on life and all that is meaningful; I am letting go of a body that has served me well.
The world, through my lens these days, also appears to be going through transformational change. While it is possible to focus on the conflicts and challenges, I choose to focus on all the good in the world and in people’s hearts. While watching the news, I see many people resolving challenges, bringing love, kindness, compassion, and assistance to all beings. A deep feeling in me says our job is to change ourselves and the world will reflect
that change. I believe, as we come into alignment with our highest selves, expressing the love who we are through our actions, the world will reflect that transformational shift in us and will become a kinder, gentler, peaceful place of global cooperation and understanding. Always an eternal optimist, I am hopeful. I believe we are the  Light of the World, and the Light is returning. I believe in us, and I believe in love. I know that love is eternal and that love never dies.

Ellen celebrated her 80th birthday on March 21st, 2022. She made it through the dark and into the light in so many ways. She left this world on November 7th, 2022.

Blessings to you dear Ellen. You witnessed me through many of my ups and downs. You stood by me and never gave up on me. You instilled in me an internal sense of the Ideal Mother (and Father), for which I am eternally grateful. As you have said, I am going from you to her now.

There would not be any grief had there not been any love. I love you and I grieve you. I’ll be watching for your visitations as a songbird that will come very close to me and look me in the eye, as you have proclaimed. With Big Sparkly Love, I wish you Godspeed.

Tamara, Henry and Ellen

Tamara, Henry and Ellen in Damariscotta, Maine, October 2012