Couple
Therapy

When working with couples, I practice Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), an evidence-based approach rooted in attachment theory that addresses the deeper emotional needs that underlie patterns of conflict, miscommunication, and disconnection between partners. Most couples I work with feel distant from their partners and stuck in frustration, fear, or avoidance. From my perspective, neither partner is the "problem" in the relationship; rather, I view the problem as the habitual cycle in which the couple is stuck.

 

It is common to occasionally fall into problematic patterns or cycles with our partners. When these cycles becomes entrenched, however, they often lead us to feel self-protective and block us from empathizing with our partners. Ironically, the very protectors that we use to shield ourselves from pain in our relationships ultimately lead to more disconnection and less emotional security.

 

In our work together, we will go beneath these protectors, such criticism or withdrawal, to begin breaking the cycle. We will uncover the hurt, sadness, fear, longing for connection, or desire for intimacy that often underlie patterns of attacking or "shutting down." Uncovering these underlying emotions can help you and your partner connect on a deeper and more authentic level.

I view couple therapy as a collaborative process and encourage open dialogue and honest feedback. I will work with you and your partner to create an atmosphere of emotional safety and openness in which you can tune into and express your thoughts and feelings, take new emotional risks with your partner, and begin to break the cycle that has kept you stuck.

I work with couples struggling with

  • Navigating transitions

  • Parenting or transitioning to parenthood

  • Communication and emotional expression

  • Shame or guilt

  • Intimacy and trust

  • Feeling emotionally and physically disconnected from one another

  • Deepening their bond

5410 Macadam Ave, Ste 230

Portland, OR 97239

christy@christyirvinephd.com

 

503-447-7447

Mondays 8:00-1:30

Wednesdays 8:00-1:00