Elise Thompson

My approach to therapy….

It has been my privilege to work alongside families, couples and individuals identifying strengths, increasing insight around problems, and developing a plan to improve quality of life. For the last 11 years I have worked successfully with adults, children, and teens dealing with a wide range of issues including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, abuse issues, illness, substance abuse, grief and loss, sexuality, gender-identity, developmental life transitions, medical illness, anger management, and other relationship and mental health concerns.

My approach to therapy is un-biased, client-centered, and collaborative. I value the diversity of cultural experiences, and how it can impact our lives. You are the expert, and I’m an ally for change.

With couples and parents, I prefer to utilize a combination of Gottman and Emotion Focused Therapy tools. Emotion Focused Therapy identifies a couple’s pattern of fighting, and addresses the different ways one seeks out or flees from an emotional connection with one’s partner. Together we uncover how your needs are met in relationship, and strive to improve communication.  I am a Certified Gottman Educator for Bring Baby Home™. I have extensive experience working with new parents to decrease conflict, and increase intimacy during the transition to parenthood.

Over the years, I have provided therapy for families and children in crisis. I have advanced training in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. My work with families has been increasing safety in the home when a young person is experiencing suicide ideation and perhaps coping with self-harming behaviors.

I am a Certified Child Developmental Disabilities Specialist in Washington State. Parents of kids with special needs often need more support to navigate the child’s learning disabilities, spectrum disorders, and neurological disorders. I focus on expanding supports, increasing self-care and self-compassion to decrease anger and burn out.  With kids who have emerging special needs, I love working collaboratively with parents and medical teams to increase their continuity of care.

Lastly, I am certified as a Medical Family Therapist, and have provided integrated therapy to patients and collaborated with their healthcare providers in a family medicine setting. I’ve provided brief talk therapy for adults and children suffering from a range of medical issues; chronic pain, diabetes, heart disease, kidney transplants, depression, anxiety, and cancer. I specialize in helping patients and their families process the stress of living with a chronic health issue or a new life altering diagnosis.

My personal life…

My family and I recently moved from Seattle, Washington to San Luis Obispo, California. I have been happily married for 20 years and have two children, both teenagers. My interests include travel, reading, walking the dog, yoga, hiking, or going to films and concerts.  I hope to try ocean kayaking soon.

My educational background…

I completed my Masters of Science Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Seattle Pacific University in Seattle, Washington. I have a specialization in Medical Family therapy, and have provided clinical instruction for doctors in their residency training at University of Washington Department of Family Medicine.

My licensing and professional affiliations…

I am licensed in California (#96198) and in Washington State (# 60233731) as a Marriage and Family Therapist. I maintain a clincial membership in the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (#121091), and a clinical professional membership Washington Association of Marriage and Family Therapist (#120561). I maintain a professional membership in Collaborative Family Healthcare Association.