Chelsea Petersen, LMFT
Education & Affiliations
Master’s of Marriage and Family Therapy – Utah State University 2011
Licensed MFT in Utah and Wyoming
AAMFT Clinical Membership
Certified Emotional Focused Therapist (EFT) for couples
Working with Couples
I first got interested in couples counseling during my master’s program. I’d see couples fighting and not getting what they needed from their partner and it really upset me. I never liked watching families get torn apart by divorce and felt like there had to be a way to help these people find each other again. I literally would get a lump in my throat watching couples hurting.
The thing with relationships is there’s so much love, so much passion there, but in those moments of disconnection it can be so easy to perceive things from a hurt or angry perspective. It’s this element of relationships – all the emotions and everything that’s going on during a therapy session – that appeals to me.
I’ve been doing couples therapy work for 8 years. My focus is the emotional side of things, so I’m certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) through the International Center for Emotionally Focused Therapy, which I received in Salt Lake. I also hold certification in Gottman Therapy, which integrates assessment research-based interventions to help couples reconnect.
One of the ways I help couples work through their disconnection is to practice different ways of communicating. It’s not forced or role playing, but it does help both sides to better understand what their partner needs and develop skills that can be used during any conversation. It’s done very naturally as part of the conversation during a session.
In some cases, I’ll also assign homework to help couples keep practicing the skills we learned in the session. And I always encourage the couples who see me to read the book Hold Me Tight by Sue Johnson because it helps them see things from a different angle and understand more of what we’re talking about in therapy.
In addition, I may use the EFT workbook for couples or other worksheets to help get to the “story behind the story.” There’s a lot going on in a couples therapy session and usually a big backstory with emotions to go with it. The workbook and worksheets help sort through all this.
I also ask couples who come see me to commit to weekly sessions for at least the first 6 to 8 weeks to build a solid foundation for the rest of our work. At the beginning longer breaks between sessions make it harder to hold onto the new skills.
Finally, as someone who’s been married for over 10 years, I’ve experienced first-hand the cycles of disconnection in my own relationship and know what it takes to work through them.
Hours & Contact Info
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist
Certified EFT Therapist