I earned my Masters degree in Marriage, Couples, and Family Therapy from Lewis and Clark College. I loved that program because it taught me to work therapeutically with couples and families from a systemic framework and a social justice framework. I value social justice because I believe people deserve to be treated equitably, and that diversity is a reason for celebration rather than condemnation. And I value systemic work because I believe that it is difficult to treat an individual without also treating the systems in which they live and work. That is why I believe couples work is so valuable, and why it often yields better results than individual therapy.
My husband and I love to take our dog hiking with us whenever we get the chance. One of my favorite memories was a 12 mile hike through the mountains of Washington to a destination “hidden waterfall”. As the sun started to set before we found the waterfall, I suggested we might need to turn around to head home. My then-boyfriend insisted we continue to the waterfall, where he surprised me by asking me to marry him! We trekked home through the dark forest, and jumped a few times at the sound of large animals around us, but the adventure was well worth it. I find this story to be a metaphor for my professional work. I have learned that when we walk together through the hard times, we come out on the other side more committed and more dedicated to the people we love. My husband and I still love to find new trails and new adventures through our life together. The walks can sometimes be hard, but I am glad to have him with me at the end.
I have found working with couples to be the most fulfilling of endeavors. It is always an honor to witness the soothing of relational distress and the strengthening of family that it produces. Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) provides the framework that we use here at CCCF to help couples navigate their struggles and feel closer and more secure with each other. It helps them discover the beauty of their relationship, increases their individual happiness, and fosters the growth of healthy kids and families.
I love my work. So, if you are feeling lost or hopeless in your relationship, I am confident that together we can walk down a new path of clarity and healing.
Melissa Pilarski is a Marriage and Family Therapist Candidate working under supervision towards licensure and certification in Emotionally Focused Therapy.