The Gottman method is the new way to manage couples therapy. Well, when we talk about couples therapy you will be amazed to know how many people in the world are actually facing relationship issues. To resolve conflicts more straightforwardly, several decades ago Dr. John and Dr. Judy Gottman came up with research about relationships where they decided to identify the elements it takes for relationships to thrive regardless of life stages.
Conflicts are present in every relationship. By learning how to manage them effectively, you can not only resolve your issues but also strengthen your relationship. Couples counseling is all about making this process a smooth one. Couples therapy involves a licensed counselor working with two individuals to enhance their relationship. There are certain types of counselors, such as marriage and family therapists, who are specifically trained to work with couples.
To benefit from couples therapy, both individuals must commit to the process and be willing to open up. According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, over 98% of surveyed clients reported positive experiences with marriage and family therapy services. Couples therapy is not limited to specific demographics, such as sexual orientation or age. It is a valuable tool that can benefit anyone in a relationship and is not a guarded practice reserved for a certain "type" of person. A healthy relationship requires an investment from both partners, including energy, time, and commitment. The Gottman method as mentioned above is a well-known, evidence-based approach that can prove to help you. Let’s discuss this Gottman method of couples therapy in detail.
The Gottman Method - A blessing to modern couples therapy
As we mentioned earlier, Gottman Method is an approach to couples therapy that is based on over 40 years of research by Dr. John and Julie Gottman. The method focuses on building strong and lasting relationships by improving communication, increasing emotional intimacy, and enhancing the couple's friendship.
When you try to search for the answer to what is the Gottman method, keep in mind that one of the core tenets of the Gottman Method is the concept of the "Sound Relationship House." This theory is a metaphor for a house, where the foundation represents the couple's friendship, and the floors above represent different aspects of the relationship, such as trust, intimacy, and conflict management. The goal of therapy is to help the couple build a strong foundation and work on each floor of the house to create a healthy and stable relationship. Let’s discuss this in detail.
Sound Relationship House - A Concept Of The Gottman Method
The Sound Relationship House is a core concept in the Gottman Method of couples therapy. The Sound Relationship House is a metaphorical house with different levels that represent different aspects of a healthy and strong relationship.
Let us discuss this in detail here!
At the base of the Sound Relationship House is the foundation of the couple's friendship. This includes shared interests, a sense of humor, and a fondness and admiration for each other. The Gottmans believe that this foundation is essential to the success of a relationship and that couples who are good friends have a much better chance of weathering difficult times.
Above the foundation of friendship are the first two floors of the house. The first floor is "Love Maps," which refers to the knowledge that partners have about each other's inner worlds, including their likes, dislikes, hopes, and dreams. The Gottmans believe that this knowledge is crucial for maintaining intimacy and connection in a relationship.
The second floor is "Shared Fondness and Admiration," which refers to the positive feelings that partners have towards each other. The Gottmans argue that couples who express admiration and respect for each other regularly have a stronger and more stable relationship.
The third floor of the Sound Relationship House is "Turn Towards Instead of Away." This level refers to the way couples respond to each other's bids for connection, such as gestures of affection, requests for help, or invitations to spend time together. The Gottmans believe that partners who respond positively to each other's bids for connection have a stronger and more positive relationship.
The fourth floor is "The Positive Perspective," which refers to the way couples interpret each other's actions and intentions. The Gottmans believe that couples who have a positive perspective on their relationship are better able to handle conflict and navigate difficult times.
The fifth floor is "Manage Conflict," which refers to the skills that couples use to manage disagreements and arguments. The Gottmans believe that effective conflict management skills are essential to a healthy and lasting relationship.
Finally, at the top of the Sound Relationship House is "Make Life Dreams Come True," which refers to the way that partners support each other's aspirations and goals. The Gottmans believe that partners who work together to achieve their dreams have a stronger and more fulfilling relationship.
The Sound Relationship House is a useful tool for therapists and couples to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their relationship and identify areas for improvement. By working on each level of the Sound Relationship House, couples can build a strong and lasting relationship based on love, trust, and mutual respect.
The Gottman Method also includes assessment tools that help the therapist identify areas where the couple may need to work on. For example, the therapist may use a tool called the "Love Map" to help the couple deepen their understanding of each other's inner worlds.
Apart from the positive approach that helps you build a relationship, couples therapy also includes a way to determine negative communication patterns.
Four Horsemen of the apocalypse - Negative approaches in Gottman method!
The therapist may also use the "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse'' to identify negative communication patterns. These negative approaches in the Gottman method include
Once the therapist has identified areas for improvement, they work with the couple to develop specific skills and strategies to address those issues. For example, In couples therapy the therapist may teach the couple how to use "I" statements to express their feelings without blaming their partner, or how to take a break when a conflict becomes too heated.
The Gottman Method has been shown to be effective in improving relationship satisfaction and reducing the likelihood of divorce. It is widely used by marriage and family therapists, counselors, and other mental health professionals who work with couples. By improving communication, increasing emotional intimacy, and enhancing the couple's friendship, the Gottman Method helps couples build stronger and more fulfilling relationships.
Goals and Principles - The Gottman Method
Apart from explaining to you the basics of how exactly we need to focus on the way this theory works, here is a base on which the whole Gottman couples therapy is built. The primary goals and principles of the Gottman Method are:
1. Increase the couple's friendship, intimacy, and affection: The Gottman Method emphasizes the importance of building a strong foundation of friendship and emotional connection in a relationship. Therapists using this method work to increase the couple's ability to communicate with each other, express their feelings, and deepen their emotional bond.
You can use a way to help them organize date nights and game nights where mental as well as physical affection is involved.
2. Teach the couple skills for managing conflict: Conflict is inevitable in any relationship, and the Gottman Method focuses on teaching couples skills to manage their stress and disagreements constructively. This includes learning how to listen actively, express oneself without criticism or contempt, and negotiate differences effectively.
Make the couple understand the importance of having a conversation. An honest and open conversation will only lead the relationship to be strong right from the beginning.
3. Reduce negativity and increase positivity: The Gottman Method aims to decrease the negative patterns of communication and behavior that can damage a relationship, such as criticism, defensiveness, contempt, and stonewalling. At the same time, the method aims to increase the positive patterns of communication and behavior, such as expressions of affection, gratitude, and appreciation.
As we discussed above, these are the negative approaches a couple needs to eradicate right from the beginning. Conversation with a negative approach can never help you with any couples therapy session.
4. Increase the couple's understanding of each other: The Gottman Method encourages partners to develop a deeper understanding of each other's needs, wants, and dreams. Therapists using this method help couples create Love Maps, which are detailed mental maps of each partner's inner world, including their likes, dislikes, fears, and aspirations.
5. Empower couples to take responsibility for their relationship: The Gottman Method emphasizes that both partners are responsible for their relationship and that each partner must take an active role in improving it. Therapists using this method encourage couples to take ownership of their relationship and work together to create positive change.
As you see the Gottman Method is based on the belief that a healthy and strong relationship requires ongoing effort and attention from both partners. By working together to build a strong foundation of friendship and intimacy, manage conflict constructively, and increase positive communication patterns, couples can create a relationship that is strong, stable, and fulfilling.
Here’s why you should choose Gottman's method of couples therapy.
Why choose Gottman marriage counseling?
Whether you are experiencing communication problems, conflict, or a lack of emotional connection, the Gottman Method can provide you with the tools and strategies you need to create a stronger, more fulfilling relationship. There are several reasons why someone might choose the Gottman Method for couples therapy:
- Evidence-based: The Gottman Method is based on over 40 years of research on relationships and is effective in helping couples improve their communication, manage conflict, and increase their emotional connection.
- Positive and practical: The Gottman Method emphasizes building positive communication patterns and providing couples with practical tools and strategies to strengthen their relationship. It is a solution-focused approach that focuses on creating positive change in the here and now.
- Holistic: The Gottman Method takes a holistic approach to couples therapy, recognizing that relationship problems are often interconnected with individual issues, such as stress, anxiety, and depression. Therapists using this method address these individual issues alongside the relationship issues.
- Non-judgmental: The Gottman Method is a non-judgmental approach that does not blame either partner for the relationship problems. Therapists using this method work to create a safe and supportive environment where couples can explore their issues without fear of being criticized or judged.
- Tailored to the couple's needs: The Gottman Method is a flexible approach that can be tailored to meet the unique needs and goals of each couple. Therapists using this method work collaboratively with couples to create a customized treatment plan that addresses their specific issues and concerns.
Overall, the Gottman Method is a well-established and highly respected approach to couples therapy that has helped countless couples improve their relationship.
Let’s wrap it up!
Couples who are experiencing physical domestic violence or a pattern of controlling and dominating behavior are not recommended to undergo couples therapy using the Gottman Method. It is best for them to seek support from a specialist, treatment center, hotline, shelter, or the police.
However, for most couples seeking couples therapy, the Gottman Method is an excellent approach. It is a research-based method that has been proven effective over the past 45 years. Through the method, couples will learn relationship skills that will help them strengthen their communication, manage conflicts, and improve their emotional connection. The method is highly practical and aims to create positive change in the relationship that will last with the help of experienced couples counseling. Couples who complete the therapy sessions will leave with a toolbox full of strategies to address future challenges in their relationship.