The Gottman Method is an approach to couples therapy that includes a thorough assessment of the couple’s relationship, and integrates research-based interventions based on the Sound Relationship House Theory. The goals of Gottman Method Couples Therapy are to disarm conflicting verbal communication; increase intimacy, respect, and affection; remove barriers that create a feeling of stagnancy; and create a heightened sense of empathy and understanding within the context of the relationship.
A conjoint session, followed by individual interviews with each partner are conducted. Couples complete questionnaires and then receive detailed feedback on their relationship.
The couple and therapist decide on the frequency and duration of the sessions.
Drs. John and Julie Gottman developed nine components of healthy relationships known as The Sound Relationship House Theory.
The Sound Relationship House Theory
Build Love Maps
How well do you know your partner’s inner psychological world, his or her history, worries, stresses, joys, and hopes?
Share Fondness and Admiration
The antidote for contempt, this level focuses on the amount of affection and respect within a relationship. (To strengthen fondness and admiration, express appreciation and respect.)
Turn Towards Instead of Away
State your needs, be aware of bids for connection and respond to (turn towards) them. The small moments of everyday life are actually the building blocks of relationship.
The Positive Perspective
The presence of a positive approach to problem-solving and the success of repair attempts.
We say “manage” conflict rather than “resolve” conflict, because relationship conflict is natural and has functional, positive aspects. Understand that there is a critical difference in handling perpetual problems and solvable problems.
Make Life Dreams Come True
Create an atmosphere that encourages each person to talk honestly about his or her hopes, values, convictions and aspirations.
Create Shared Meaning
Understand important visions, narratives, myths, and metaphors about your relationship.
This is the state that occurs when a person knows that his or her partner acts and thinks to maximize that person’s best interests and benefits, not just the partner’s own interests and benefits. In other words, this means, “my partner has my back and is there for me.”
This means believing (and acting on the belief) that your relationship with this person is completely your lifelong journey, for better or for worse (meaning that if it gets worse you will both work to improve it). It implies cherishing your partner’s positive qualities and nurturing gratitude by comparing the partner favorably with real or imagined others, rather than trashing the partner by magnifying negative qualities, and nurturing resentment by comparing unfavorably with real or imagined others.
The Gottman Method is designed to support couples across all economic, racial, sexual orientation, and cultural sectors. Research has shown Gottman Method Couples Therapy to be effective for treating same-sex relationships.
Some of the relationship issues that may be addressed in therapy include:
• Frequent conflict and arguments
• Poor communication
• Emotionally distanced couples on the verge of separation
• Specific problems such as sexual difficulties, infidelity, money, and parenting
Even couples with “normal” levels of conflict may benefit from the Gottman Method Couples Therapy. Gottman-trained therapists aim to help couples build stronger relationships overall and healthier ways to cope with issues as they arise in the future.