School of Theology and Ministry

Christie Eppler, Ph.D., LMFT

  •  Christie Eppler
    AAMFT Approved Supervisor
    Director & Associate Professor, Relationship & Pastoral Therapy - A Couples & Family Therapy Program
    (206) 296-6975



    License & Credentials

    • Washington State Marriage and Family Therapy License: LF00002377
    • AAMFT Approved Supervisor #77538


    • Ph.D. Family and Child Ecology, Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy, Michigan State University (2002), a COAMFTE-approved program
    • M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy, Michigan State University (1999), a COAMFTE-approved program
    • M.A. in Counseling and Guidance, Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy, University of Missouri, Kansas City (1997)
    • B.A. in Literature/English, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL. Minor in Family Studies and Minor in Bible (1994)

    Examples of Courses Taught

    • STMC 5720 Assessment and Diagnosis
    • STMC 5550, 5560, 5590 Clinical I, II, V

    Research Areas

    • Intersections of Spirituality and Resiliency
    • Narrative Family Therapy
    • Also: See below for narrative


    Open publication  

    Selected Publications


    Selected Peer Reviewed Articles

    • Quek, K., Eppler, C., & Morgan, M. (submitted) Teaching Gender in family therapy education: reflection of cis-female students’ learning.
    • Quek, K., Eppler, C., & Morgan, M. (2014) Qualitative study on cis-male students’ gender perspectives in the couple and family therapy classroom. Journal of Feminist Family Therapy, 26, 199-217.
    • Fackina, P., & Eppler, C. (2012). Exploration of perceived stressors, communication, and resilience in law-enforcement couples. Journal of Family Psychotherapy, 23, 20-41.
    • Miller, J. K., Todahl, J., Platt, J., Lambert-Shute, J., & Eppler, C. (2010). Internships for future faculty: Meeting the career goals of the next generation of educators in marriage and family therapy. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 36, 71-79.
    • Eppler, C., & Weir, S. (2009). Family assessment in K-12 settings: Understanding family systems to provide effective, collaborative services. Psychology in the Schools, 46, 501-514.
    • Eppler, C., Olsen, J. A. & Hidano, L. (2009). Using stories in school counseling: Brief, narrative intervention. Professional School Counseling, 12, 387-391.
    • Eppler, C. (2008). Exploring themes of resiliency in children after the death of a parent. Professional School Counseling, 11, 189-196.
    • Eppler, C., & Carolan, M.T. (2006). Biblionarrative: A narrative technique uniting oral and written life-stories. Journal of Family Psychotherapy, 16, 31-43.

    Selected Conference Presentations & Posters

    •  Eppler, C., & Williams-Reede, J. (2015, September). Experientially Exploring the Intersections of Resiliency and Spirituality. Presented at the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy National Conference. Austin, TX.
    • Morgan, M., Quek, K., & Eppler, C.  (2014, July). Male-Students’ Perspectives in Gender Course: A Qualitative Study. International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology (IACCP) 22nd International Congress. Paris, France.
    • Eppler, C., Quek, K., & Morgan, M. (2014, June). The Reformation of Gender for Male Therapists in Training. American Academy for Family Therapy (AFTA) Conference. Atlanta, GA.
    • Eppler, C. (2013, October). Exploring the Intersections of Resiliency and Spirituality using Narrative Therapy Techniques when working with Adolescents and Adults. Presented at the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy National Conference. Portland, Oregon.
    •  Eppler, C. (2012, June). Using Qualitative Assessment Tools to Explore the Intersection of Spirituality and Resiliency. Presented at the Association for Spiritual, Ethical, and Religious Values in Counseling Conference. Santa Fe, New Mexico.
    • Eppler, C. (2011, October). Response to keynote lecture and panel moderator. American Association of Pastoral Counselors, Northwest Division Conference. Seattle, Washington.
    • Eppler, C. (2009, October). Exploring spirituality in a multicultural family. Presented at the 2009 "Diversity in Family Formation" American Association of Pastoral Counseling, Northwest Division Conference. Seattle, Washington.

    Selected Community Presentations

    • Eppler, C., & Casavant, C. (2015). Emotionally Intelligent Relationships.Presented for Looking from the Inside Out: An Exploration of Emotional Intelligence. Redhawk Leadership Summit, Seattle University. 
    • Eppler, C. (2012). Listen, Question, and Create: A Pastoral Counselor's Encounter of Islam. Presented for the Dean's Dinner, Seattle University.
    • Eppler, C. (2011). Culture, Sacred Texts and the Individual: How Create Meaning. Presented for Renew, Recharge, Refresh: Seattle University and the Northwest Center for Creative Aging.
    • Eppler, C. (2010). Values and the Developmental Assets. White Center Heights Family Advocacy Council.
    • Eppler, C. (2010). Family Strengths. A Three-Week Adult Education Seminar at Seattle First Baptist Church.
    • Eppler, C. (2009). Good Grief Small Group. Presented at Bellevue First Congregation Church. Bellevue, WA.

    Personal Information

    It is a pleasure to be a part of the mission of Seattle University and its School of Theology and Ministry. I feel that my calling as an academic, specifically as a couple and family therapy educator, aligns well with Seattle University’s vision to educate the whole person, empowering leaders for a just and humane world.

    I thrive in the culture of the School of Theology and Ministry and within the Jesuit-mission of the university. I am excited about our relationship and pastoral program, the opportunity to integrate clinical skills with spirituality and theology, and to be in a University that lives out a social justice mission.

    Relationship & Pastoral Therapy is spiritually-integrated couples and family therapy. My passion is to work directly with students who desire to integrate the lived experience of faith or ultimate mystery (spirituality) with systems therapy in order to provide competent, effective, ethical, and compassionate therapy to diverse clients. I am not alone in forming students, and I am blessed to collaborate with colleagues that share a similar vision and passion.  

    My appreciation of seeing students grow and learn inspires me to teach. I believe that teaching, supervision, scholarship, and service are all about building formative relationships. Teaching is about building individual and group relationships to support the students’ knowledge and awareness of professional issues. Advising creates and deepens these relationships, helping to guide the student not only through the program, but also into the professional realm. I enjoy supervising and mentoring clinical students who become the next generation of therapists.

    I seek to care for students in my courses by building a rapport. My teaching style combines didactic lectures and cooperative learning approaches. Collaborative learning de-emphasizes a competitive classroom atmosphere, instead increasing team learning and support. At the same time, individual student responsibility is stressed through assigning reading, writing papers, and participating in class discussions.


In both my teaching and my research, I work from a strength-based, faith-oriented, and narrative approach. My research interests have evolved and grown over the past several years. As a couple and family therapist, I am interested in clinical treatment and intervention of children and families. I am curious about how families experience innovative interventions, and I focus my work on how therapists can work compassionately and intentionally with traditionally marginalized families, couples, individuals, and groups. I am a phenomenological, qualitative researcher. Whereas traditional psychology examines intra-psychic functioning, phenomenological and human ecology theories consider the influence of context and relationships while focusing on meaning, strengths, and resilience. My research and scholarship gives voice to accounts of resilience, using patterns and themes within these life histories to aid therapists in bolstering individual and family strengths.