Marla Christensen, MA, MFT NCC
I believe that relationship therapy is a joint effort between the individual members of a family system. My philosophy views individuals, families, and couples, from a systemic perspective. Each individual progresses and develops through a variety of systems, such as, family, cultural, religious, ethnic, and societal influences. My approach integrates the individual, family members, and couple relationships, within a therapeutic and holistic environment; allowing a safe place for clients to confidentially explore his or her thoughts and emotions.
My role as the therapist is to assist each client in assessing and identifying styles of communication, goals, past successes, internal strengths, and external resources, through his or her mind, body, and spiritual connections. My theoretical focus is through the lens of attachment – that is, how the bonds we create are effective, or ineffective, in our current lives (John Bowlby). In addition to attachment bonds that we experience, I also support my clients collaboratively to better understand life’s stressors and patterns of interaction that may or may not be promoting his or her well-being. Associated with this position, my approach is also connected with Dr. Sue Johnson’s Emotionally Focused Therapy, and Integrated Behavioral Couple therapy (Neil Jacobson and Andrew Christensen). Emotionally Focused Therapy allows the therapeutic relationship to identify vital information that client emotions can provide as an attempt to develop strong, safe relationships. Integrated couple therapy works to assist the couple in acceptance and change within the couple relationship through research based exercises.
I work in the posture of assisting my clients to build on his or her strengths in relationships, and to help each client to identify ineffective patterns, which may obstruct his or her quest for achieving life goals. In this construct I help individuals, couples, and families, to find a healthy balance in their relationships.