Calm Sea

Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT):

Our emotional inner life can be our most valuable guide

EFT suggests that our emotional inner life can be our most valuable guide rather than experienced as merely states of being. As we befriend our emotions, they become an illuminating compass- directing us toward what we need and informing us on how to take action. When we allow ourselves to fully experience our emotional climate, we can become more intentional, aware and discerning with our life choices.

A safe and compassionate place for expressions of truth

Couples work with EFT requires a safe place for expressions of truth-where we can learn to take greater ownership of ourselves and also honor compassionate understanding of the other.

The human relational dance always clamors for balance between our ability to navigate our own needs with our desire for authentic connection with another.

Greater intimacy with ourselves and others also necessitates deeper awareness of our default behavioral patterns stemming from childhood wounding or family of origin experiences. We can both acknowledge and tend to our well-grooved self-protective strategies and also create space to welcome the softer, more vulnerable emotions braided to our yearning for deeper attachment.  

As we become familiar with our behavioral patterns, we can achieve deeper intimacy and experience greater closeness.

Gayle Waitches and Illumination Counseling offer EFT therapy for individuals and couples in SE Portland, Oregon

Couples Therapy

Joining together with a therapist to explore your relationship can be intimidating. It is so important to create a safe place where each of you feel comfortable sharing what is true and alive. And if having the deeper conversations are difficult, we can just begin by exploring what might be getting in the way. You may learn fresh ways of communicating, increase your intimacy, break repetitive negative cycles, process a betrayal or resentment, and find more security, ease and contentment with one another.

I believe Emotion-(ally) Focused Therapy, Mindfulness and Hakomi, IFS and Intimacy From The Inside Out are effective modalities in working with couples who want a more conscious, intentional and satisfying relationship.


As humans beings, we long for connection. As vital as air and water, our need to be close and seen by others is primal. 

Yet relationships can be challenging as we navigate the dance between connection and separateness. We don’t want to sacrifice our disconnection with ourselves in order to be with another, and we don’t want to disconnect with another in order to be ourselves. Essentially, we ask…  “Can I be myself and still be loved by you?”

IFIO is a way for couples to care for their own inner struggles simultaneously and together, while also staying connected and tending to one another. You can become more aware of the often repetitive and usually distressing relational dances into which you may succumb. And at the same time, we can explore and nurture the underlying vulnerabilities and reactivity that often fuel these exchanges. 

By using this approach, couples report feeling: 

Decreased reactivity 

Increased self-empowerment

Increased choices

Different kinds of intimate conversations

Deeper relationships with self and other

A new vision for relating


Our need to feel safe with another-this sense of secure attachment-is an essential ingredient for a healthy relationship. When we lack this sense of safety or when our needs go unmet, we may find ourselves resorting to a few typical yet ineffective and painful relational strategies:

* Blame or attempt to dominate

* Disengage/withdraw

* Resentful compliance

* Whine/complain

* Denial or confusion                  

Inevitably, these behaviors usually produce the opposite of what we want. Our partners retreat and both parties end up feeling more alone.

One important goal in EFT is to unearth and make more conscious these repetitive patterns, and begin to understand how they are fueled by underlying attachment needs. We can explore the emotions, vulnerabilities and unmet desires that drive these patterns in order to interrupt the cycle and choose more satisfying options.

Gayle Waitches offers couple's therapy in SE Portland using an Emotion-focused (EFT) and an Intimacy From the Inside Out (IFIO) lens, as well as Hakomi and Mindfulness.

Illumination Counseling


4531 SE Belmont Street #104

Portland, OR 97215

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