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What is the Gottman Method?

So… You’re interested in couples therapy.

First of all, congratulations. This is a huge step to make not only for yourself but for your relationship as well. Couples therapy isn’t just for couples who are constantly bickering, fighting, or unsure if they’ll last. Whether you’re having issues in your relationship or you just want to improve something like communication, you’re on the right track.

Now that you’ve decided to attend couples therapy, you’re probably wondering where to start. The therapy world is filled with different practices, approaches, therapists, and more. While we won’t be able to dive into every single one of them in this one post, we can start somewhere.

Let’s learn more about the Gottman Method.

What is the Gottman Method?

The Gottman Method is a well-known type of couples therapy that Dr. John and Dr. Judy Gottman developed. It’s an approach that’s backed by years of scientific research. Dr. John and Dr. Judy Gottman spent several years researching relationships which led them to identify what it takes to thrive in a relationship no matter what stage of life you may be in.

How is the Gottman Method Different from Other Types of Couples Therapy?

The Gottman Method is actually known for its differences compared to other approaches when it comes to couples therapy. The Gottman Method is a way for two partners to work together on their issues to fix their issues instead of heavily relying on a therapist to do it for them. The idea is that the two partners in the relationship are best suited for knowing the ins and outs and all of the intricacies and details of the relationship. They’re their own relationship expert, not the therapist.

How Does the Gottman Method Work?

There are three main parts to the Gottman Method.

1. Assessment

Similar to any other variation of therapy, the Gottman Method also begins with an assessment. During the assessment stage of the Gottman Method, the couple will have interviews together and separately. The assessment also consists of questionnaires that they’ll take the time to complete in order to receive feedback on their current relationship.

photo of a couple walking on the beach in the water2. Framework

The framework is what the therapy session will look like. The partners and the therapist will sit down together and determine what the session schedule will look like. They’ll decide on the duration of each session as well as how frequently they’ll attend the sessions together.

3. Intervention

The last part of the Gottman Method is intervention. The focus of the interventions will be on friendship, conflict management, and creating meaningful interactions in order to help strengthen the existing bond. A therapist will guide the partners into having more positive conversations and interactions with one another.

What are the Overall Goals of the Gottman Method?

The main goals of the Gottman Method are to replace negative communication with more positive interactions, increase respect, affection, empathy, and intimacy, and remove any current or potential barriers.

The Gottman Method is known for its nine principles that act as the foundation of a healthy relationship. This is known as the Sound Relationship House Theory.

  1. Build love maps
  2. Share fondness and admiration
  3. Turn towards, not away
  4. The positive perspective
  5. Manage conflict
  6. Make life dreams come true
  7. Create shared meaning
  8. Trust
  9. Commitment

Next Steps

The Gottman Method is perfect for individuals committed to making their relationship work. Not only is the Gottman Method proven to improve skills within a relationship, but it also can be a great educational tool to advise couples about what a healthy relationship should and can look like.

If you’re interested in learning more about couples therapy or the Gottman Method specifically, reach out to us today to set up a consultation.

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