Family Therapy

Family Therapy, also referred to as Family Systems Therapy, is a branch of psychotherapy that works with families and couples to nurture change and development.

Our providers view change in the system of interaction between family members. We emphasize family relationships as an important factor in your psychological health.

Regardless of the origin of the problem and whether the client considers it an “individual” or “family” issue, having family involvement is often beneficial. This is commonly accomplished by the direct participation of family members in Family Therapy sessions. A family therapist has the skills and expertise to influence conversation in a way that catalyzes the strength, wisdom, and support from the entire family.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been shown to be an effective method for improving mental health and quality of life for concerns ranging from generalized anxiety to depression to eating disorders and more serious concerns.

Unlike other forms of therapy, CBT focuses on the “right now,” rather than deep-diving into the cause of the problem. It helps clients to recognize their own unproductive thoughts and behaviors in the moment and provides methods to change them.

CBT allows for self-reflection and self-correction.

Core Principles

Psychological problems are, at least in part, due to:

  1. Unhelpful ways of thinking
  2. Unhelpful learned behaviors

Core Goals

  • Decrease and manage symptoms of presenting concern
  • Decrease and replace unhelpful ways of thinking
  • Decrease and replace unhelpful behaviors
  • Develop effective coping methods
  • Resolve relationship conflicts
  • Cope with grief/loss
  • And more…

Common Strategies

  • Learn to recognize perception distortions, and reevaluate in the context of reality
  • Understand behaviors and motivations of others
  • Develop confidence in self
  • Adapt problem-solving skills to difficult situations
  • Face fears
  • Utilize role playing to prepare for upcoming situations
  • Use techniques to calm mind and body

CBT has been supported in both psychological research and clinical practice, and has been found to be as or more helpful than comparable techniques and medications.

Couples and families are often concerned about starting counseling due to the potential for revealing relationship damage, thus causing “distress.”

Re-establishing security may require confronting unpleasant emotions or situations, however more often than not the problems stem from one person “jumping to conclusions” about how others feel.

CBT helps couples and families discover:
1. If and how each person jumps to conclusions (even without realizing it)
2. How the couple/family communicates
3. How you and your family’s behavior impacts others
4. How prior experiences may influence negative thoughts
5. How those negative thoughts influence behavior
6. How the influenced behavior impacts the partner/family

Image Source 1
Image Source 2

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Plus (CBT+)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Plus (CBT+) is an integration of multiple therapeutic techniques, specifically:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT)
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

All of these therapies are evidence-based and emphasize approaching problems from different perspectives.

CBT+ allows for a broader view of the presenting concern, and incorporates real-world problems into the framework. For example, CBT+ integrates concerns such as poverty, racism, and marginalization into the approach to treatment.

CBT+ also adds a stronger emphasis to relationships and dives further into the history of the client.


Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) is an evidence-based, modified form of CBT which is specifically designed to help children and their parents overcome the negative and often devastating effects of trauma, especially PTSD symptoms.

Taking a trauma-informed approach to family therapy can help parents learn optimal ways to support their child and the skills their child is learning in therapy. It also teaches parents effective parenting skills associated with dealing with behaviors that accompany trauma. Improvements developed by TF-CBT have been shown to be long term – parental emotional distress, childs anxiety

Trauma may be caused by:

Sexual or physical abuse
Traumatic loss of a loved one
Exposure to violence – domestic, school, community
Exposure to disaster – weather, terrorist attacks, war
Serious accidents
Serious medical procedures, operations, or hospitalizations
And more…

TF-CBT can help develop skills such as:

Stress management
Affect regulation
Problem solving
Self-esteem empowerment
Interpersonal trust

TF-CBT can address concerns including:

Depressive symptoms
Behavioral concerns
Cognitive distortions
Interpersonal conflict
Internalization of feelings

TF-CBT can be helpful for kids ages 3-18 and their families. This approach can also be used to help couples and individuals overcome trauma. TF-CBT is tailored to each child and family to be developmentally appropriate and conducive to each situation.

TF-CBT approach has three core stages of therapy, Stabilization, Trauma Narrative, and Integration/Consolidation. Each of these stages are broken down into individual steps. The acronym of these steps is PRACTICE.


P – Psycho-Education and Parenting Skills
The therapist helps the family learn about trauma, PTSD, common behavioral concerns associated with trauma, and validation of feelings.
R – Relaxation Skills
Learning relaxation skills helps reverse physiological effects caused by trauma, and includes a variety of techniques such as mindfulness, progressive muscle relaxation, and focused breathing.
A – Affective Regulation Skills
Affective regulation skills help each member of the family to recognize upsetting states and learn to manage their feelings. This includes developing problem-solving, anger management, and positive distraction skills. It’s also a time for the family to build trust and work toward emotional safety.
C – Cognitive Processing Skills
Cognitive processing skills help each individual connect thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and replace unhelpful thoughts and behaviors with beneficial ones (as in CBT). Cognitive processing poses two key questions: Is it accurate? Is it helpful?
This process allows each participant to create a “window of tolerance” for communicating about trauma. Once both feeling and thinking are within a tolerable range and the family members are present and trying, then trauma can begin to be processed.

2. Trauma Narrative

T – Trauma Narration and Processing
Creating a trauma narrative is a key component to processing a traumatic event, and it includes the telling of the individual’s story – the who, what, when, where and associated emotions with each component. Creating a comprehensive narrative is often difficult and deeply emotional, but is a core step in understanding where you have been and how to move forward. Once the trauma narrative is complete, each person can contribute their narrative and begin to understand how the trauma impacts their shared experience.

3. Integration and Consolidation

I – In Vivo Mastery of Trauma Reminders
In life trauma reminders often cause psychological and/or physiological responses. This step helps to recognize the stimuli that cause the trauma response, and learn how to overcome avoiding these reminders and cope with them as they emerge.
C – Conjoint Child-Caregiver Sessions
Sessions with the family help to develop communication about the trauma and moving forward. This step is a time to address topics such as safety plans and trauma responses.
E – Enhancing Safety
The final step is to apply the processing and coping skills and positive insights to current life and your life moving forward. It helps create a comprehensive toolbox of strategies and reminders to handle trauma, stress, and conflict moving forward including co-regulation of emotions and strategies for finding solutions based in emotional support and understanding.


Co-Parent Counseling

It is no secret that divorce can be difficult for all involved. Instead of being the end, the finalization of a divorce is really a new beginning. A beginning which redefines the family, requiring parents and children to navigate living as a different kind of family, but still a family nevertheless.

It is well documented that the most harm to children during and after a divorce is how parents handle themselves and their interactions with each other, not the divorce itself.

However, despite the divorce, children still want and need both of their parents to continue loving and parenting them. For parents,  the idea of co-parenting and communicating with the other parent is often very difficult because they still feel raw from the emotions that they carry as a result of the break up of the marriage, not to mention the emotions raised by the process of the divorce itself.

Through Co-Parent Counseling, we help parents learn to change dysfunctional, emotionally-charged communication and behavior patterns by helping them adopt clearly-defined, respectful, and dispassionate approaches to problem-solving and decision-making.

Please note that Co-Parent Counseling is not considered medically necessary and is therefore not covered by insurance. For cash-pay rates, please call the office.

Eating Psychology

Eating Psychology Coaching is an exciting and cutting edge approach developed by the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.

It effectively addresses concerns including:
Weight concerns
Binge eating
Emotional eating
Body image challenges
Various nutrition related health concerns

Oftentimes, our eating challenges are connected to work, money, relationships, family, intimacy, life stress, and so much more.

According to the Institute for the Psychology of Eating – In America:

  • Nearly 70% of adults are classified as overweight or obese
  • ~90% of women are unhappy with their appearance
  • 81% of 10 year old girls experience a fear of being fat
  • 97% of women confess they have at least one “I hate my body moment” each day
  • ~75% of all diseases could be prevented with better nutrition
  • ~108 million individuals are on a diet
  • 99% of those who diet gain back the weight they lose within a year
  • Within a decade, 67% of the population is projected to have some form of diabetes


Eating Psychology coaches are able to support you with both strategies and nutrition principles.

The strategies provided are doable, sustainable, and nourishing and, most importantly, yield results.

For eating psychology articles, look here.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Please see our Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) page here.

Perinatal and Family Planning

Please see our Bloom – Perinatal and Family Planning Therapy page here.

Pride Program

Please see our Pride Program and Resilience Group page here.

Meet our Providers

Our staff is trained to provide a broad range of therapies such as couples therapy, family therapy, and individual therapy for children, teens and adults.

our providers
call: 253.460.7248
fax: 253.564.4409
3560 Bridgeport Way W
Suite 2-C
University Place, WA 98466