Beginner's Guide to the Gottman Method - Depression Alliance
The Gottman Method is a type of therapy which helps couples to improve their relationship. It is based on scientific facts derived from the analysis of the. Gottman Method Couples Therapy combines Dr. John Gottman's 35 years of research on couples' relationships with Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman's more than It isn't hard to learn, but it takes practice applying it to your relationship. She is completing the Gottman Method Couples Therapy Certification Track.
The largest independent evaluation of a marriage education curriculum developed by Gottman, known as "Loving Couples, Loving Children,"  was conducted by Mathematica Policy Research  at nine sites in five states through the federally funded, multi-year Building Strong Families Program study contracted by the U.
The study group included low-income, unwed couples. The multi-year, random assignment study is funded by the U. In an early impact study on the effectiveness of "skills-based relationship education programs designed to help low-income married couples strengthen their relationships and, in turn, to support more stable and more nurturing home environments and more positive outcomes for parents and their children," MDRC reported  "Overall, the program has shown some small positive effects, without clear indications yet no clear negative proof for improving the odds to stay together after 12 months.
Among those are The physical elements in marital conflict i. For example, happy couples do have many more "bids for connection" when together, and much more "turn towards" response, and much, much fewer "turn away" - the most negative reaction. The book dedicated to this element is "The Relationship Cure. A central feature of unhappy relationships, notes Gottman, is that couples are stuck in loss-loss loops.
The degree of neutral affect is often overlooked as a predictor of relationship success due to the very fact that the neutral affect is simply neutral. Early divorce is characterized by the "four horsemen" of bad fighting, whereas later divorce is characterized by lower positive affect in earlier stages of the relationship. Anger is not at all bad for relationships. Happy couples are as frequently angry as unhappy couples.
It seems that how people react to anger and how destructive they get is the crucial factor rather than the frequency of anger or fights. First, the couple will be asked to fill out over thirty pages of questions. Their response to these questions allows a trained Gottman Therapist to identify where the problems in the relationship lie. The questions are formulated to give the therapist insight into the dynamics of the relationship so that he or she can guide the therapy sessions in the direction that the couple needs.
In the initial sessions, couples will learn about what are the components which have been discovered through research, that are essential to building and maintaining healthy relationships. They will then be given simple exercises to do which will build their respect and fondness for each other.
This often involves recalling when the relationship started, and the things that initially attracted them one to another. As therapy progresses, the couple will learn practical skills such as getting over arguments, making up, and how to respond positively rather than negatively.
Approaches to Couples Counseling: The Gottman Method - Insight
They will be asked to practice exercises both in the session and at home. The couple will be encouraged to learn more about each other.
By knowing the innermost hopes, fears, and desires of their partner they can build a stronger empathy and desire to make the relationship work. The therapist will teach them interactive skills which they will be able to use to maintain the relationship functioning after therapy has finished.
Techniques Used in the Gottman Method The responses noted by the couple in the questionnaires are analyzed statistically and compared with research findings.
Sessions are videotaped so that facial reactions and body language can be monitored, and sound recorded to analyze the way in which words are spoken, as well as the words themselves. Frequently heart and pulse-rate monitors are used as well as other methods to measure sweaty palms and other nervous movements. Couples Therapy The Gottman method is used mostly with couples, but the principals can also be applied to individuals, children, or to groups, in specially designed therapy courses.
Does the Gottman Method Work? If the couple is committed to improving their relationship the Gottman method works. Both people need to be open and honest about their goals and aims and have a genuine desire to make the relationship better.
The Gottman method can help any relationship improve. It can be used in newly-weds who are just beginning to discover the intricacies of married life. Or, it can work for long-married couples who have just got stuck in a rut.
Even happily married couples can discover new ways to enhance their relationship. It is very beneficial in couples where the conflict is repeated and chronic and they cannot find a way to deal with it. Sometimes it can be used in situations of infidelity, abuse, or destructive behavior. Anxiety, trauma, depression, domestic violence, abuse, and multi-cultural issues can all be dealt with using the Gottman method.
A certified Gottman practitioner must have completed an intensive training course in the Gottman Method Couples Therapy with the Drs.
John and Julie Gottman, at the Gottman Institute.
They receive training in four specific levels of the Gottman approach and learn many different ways to identify problems and to develop strategies to deal with them. Here, the doctors Guttman train therapists, give workshops and retreats and provide take-home training material for couples seeking to improve their relationship.
His first two marriages ended in divorce. He has published more than papers and has authored or co-authored forty books. He has received many professional awards and honors throughout his career. How to Find a Therapist You can find a Gottman trained therapist through their website or Facebook page. Also, your health practitioners may know of certified therapists in your area.
Look for a therapist who has completed the four stages of training at the Gottman Institute, and who holds a current state license to practice psychotherapy. At first these rules can seem unnatural or forced since they are being imposed from without rather than emerging from within. In my own couples therapy practice I therefore believe in combining multiple approaches to couples counseling.
The Gottman Method -
Although I have training in the Gottman Method and frequently teach my clients new skills, I also have a sound understanding of other more emotion-focused approaches that work from the inside out. In my opinion, couples need more than skills to succeed in their relationships. They also need a deeper understanding of their own needs and desires, and an emotional experience of greater closeness with their partner.
More Couples Therapy Resources: If you would like to learn some of the techniques utilized by couples therapists to help couples build happier relationships, sign up for my free e-book: Also, if you are in the mood for more in-depth articles on common issues faced by couples, visit my relationship blog: For more information about the Gottman Method, have a look at the following articles: