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Gottman Method Couples Therapy: An Effective and Accessible Model for Helping Couples

A question often asked by those looking for couples therapy is, “What is the most effective method of couples therapy?” Why wouldn’t they? Going through couples counseling takes tremendous courage, time, money, and effort. Usually, when people ask this question, they really want to know: "Does Gottman Method Couples Therapy work?”


There are a myriad of different approaches to Couples therapy. Some are well-researched, some are novel, many are interesting, and few are actually effective.


What makes Gottman Method Couples Therapy so effective is that it is well-researched, founded in scientific study AND accessible to a wide range of couples.


·       Gottman Method Couples Therapy doesn’t force emotional connection; rather, it facilitates closeness that naturally creates an emotional connection.

 

·       Gottman Method Couples Therapy incorporates concrete and precise tools to help; the basis of Gottman Method is not on communication loops but on giving the couple solid guidelines for “do’s” and “don’ts”.

 

·       Gottman Method helps couples identify, highlight, and build on their strengths while establishing new skills that will continue to fortify the relationship to produce long-term results. (You should experience the benefits of couples therapy long after you have completed the therapy process).


 Is Gottman Method effective?

In 1994, Gottman published a book on the precise elements that predict divorce. Through his research, he determined with over 90% accuracy which couples would go on to get a divorce and which couples would be able to find the happiness they needed to remain married (Gottman, 1994). Using this predictive model, he created a model for effective couples therapy, what we now know as Gottman Method.


Scientific studies on couples revealed that Gottman Method Couples Therapy effectively improves marital adjustment and couples' intimacy (Davoodvandi, 2018), increases marital happiness, reduces emotional divorce, and reduces stress (Sakizadeh, 2014). Not only was Gottman Method found effective, but it was also found to have enduring effects in these areas (Davoodvandi, 2018).


94% of couples who attended the Art and Science of Love workshop (a couples workshop founded by John Gottman and based on his research) reported that the workshop produced positive results in their relationship after just 2 days. 

 

The basic parts of Gottman Method skill building can be organized as follows:


Managing Conflict – Using compromise, de-escalation, softened start-ups, identifying the Four Horsemen of relationship apocalypse and replacing them with their antidotes.


Improved Communication – Using active, non-defensive listening, expressing needs, and responding with empathy.


Building Love Maps – Learning more about your partner’s preferences, experiences, and realities. Details about who they really are.


Fostering Fondness and Admiration – Activities like reminiscing about fun shared memories, telling your partner how proud you are of them, and saying “I love you.”


Processing Past Hurtful Events and Repairing Them – Learning ways to have better conversations about past regrettable incidents so neither of you becomes flooded and shut down.


If you’ve been having problems in your relationship and are looking for an effective, evidence-based way to improve things, I highly recommend working with a therapist Certified in Gottman Method. If this model's skill-focused components sound like something you can connect with, I would love to work with you and your partner. Please text or give us a call today to schedule your first session.

 

References

American Psychological Association [Research in Action Education] Marital Education Programs Help Keep Couples Together. [updated 2017/3/8; cited 2004 October 8]. Available from: http://www.apa.org/research/action/marital.aspx.

Davoodvandi, M., Navabi Nejad, S., & Farzad, V. (2018). Examining the Effectiveness of Gottman Couple Therapy on Improving Marital Adjustment and Couples' Intimacy. Iranian journal of psychiatry13(2), 135–141.

Gottman, J. M. (1994). What predicts divorce? The relationship between marital processes and marital outcomes. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

 

Rajaee A. [ Examining the effectiveness of couple therapy based on Gottman's approach on reducing emotional divorce, improving verbal-nonverbal relations and interpersonal cognitive distortion in couples with conflict (In Persian)]. Master’s Thesis. Ferdosi University of Mashhad Faculty of Education and psychology; 2015. [Google Scholar]

Sakizadeh F, Zahrakar K, Sanaee Zaker B. Effectiveness of training marital skills based on Gottman's model on marital happiness. Counselling Researches. 2014;52:37–50. (Persian) [Google Scholar]

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