Michael T. Clifford


WA State Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist; Cert. Emotion Focused Therapist, ICEEFT; Member, Seattle EFT; Member, American Association of Pastoral Counselors, 1974-2015 (ret.); Cert. Gottman Institute Clinician

I am not accepting new clients at this time. This may change. Feel free to check back periodically. If you would like me to assist you in finding another therapist, please contact me.

Personal Information and Therapy Style

I have been a therapist with Lutheran Counseling Network since 1981.  I have been in practice since 1974.  I have worked primarily with couples for the last 10 years and exclusively with couples for the last 5 years.

I use Emotion Focused Therapy, developed by Sue Johnson, Ph.D., and the scientifically-based methods developed by John Gottman, Ph.D., and Julie Gottman, Ph.D.  As a Pastoral Counselor and ordained Lutheran clergy person, I seek to help clients integrate their faith life and their spirituality into the therapy when that is desired.

Theoretical Orientation and Approach to Counseling

I see only couples and I always start with both of you together.  All sessions are 90 minutes long.

Emotion Focused Therapy helps clients surface and express the more tender feelings that couples frequently have difficulty saying to each other.  The emphasis in this method is on creating an atmosphere of emotional safety in the sessions in order to create secure emotional bonds.  The approach assists couples in identify and changing repetitive negative patterns and in having difficult conversations without them spiraling into conflict and more hurt.  See the EFT website, www.iceeft.com for more information.

EFT is based on clear, explicit conceptualizations of marital distress and adult love.  These conceptualizations are supported by empirical research on the nature of marital distress and adult attachment.  Change strategies and interventions are specified.  The change process and change events have been mapped into nine steps and three change events.  EFT has been validated by 15 years of empirical research.

The Gottman Methodtm of couples’ therapy is based on Dr. John Gottman’s thirty-five years of research in what makes marriages succeed or fail.  The overall process is positive and constructive.  See the Gottman Institute website, www.gottman.com for more information.  The Gottman Method is compatible with Emotion Focused Therapy.

Assessment:  As part of the assessment, couples are given written materials developed by Drs. Gottman to fill out that help me understand the strengths and weaknesses of the current marriage relationship.  Then, working together with me, the clients define goals for counseling.  I provide a written treatment plan.

Termination of therapy will most likely occur at a mutually agreed upon time when the couple’s therapeutic goals have been reached.  Couples should expect to be in regular weekly therapy for between six months to a year or more.  Following termination, I then meet with couples once every six months for two years to help maintain progress and to help prevent relapse.

Special Populations:  Couples dealing with affairs, couples wishing to integrate their faith perspectives (no matter what they are) into the therapy, and LGBTQ clients are welcome.  I will work together with couples where one or both are currently in some form of addiction treatment.

Email: mclifford@lutherancounseling.net     

Mailing Address: 2701 Rockefeller, Everett WA  98201

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