Is the Gottman Method your choice for Couples Therapy?
The Gottman Method is a couple’s therapy system developed by Dr. John M Gottman and Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman who formed the Gottman Institute in 1996 after running the “Gottman’s Love Lab” since 1986.
John and Julie Gottman are truly the pioneers in relationship research and have developed an effective couples therapy approach based on rigorous scientific research, and to this day, no-one else has surpassed the amount of scientific research they have done.
Their mission is to offer a program of couples therapy to help the therapist neutralise conflicting verbal communication, improve issues around intimacy, dysfunction, difficulties with empathy, affection, and respect, and to help the couples understand their role and impact on the relationship.
WHO IS DR. JOHN M GOTTMAN?
Dr. John Gottman has dedicated 50 years of his life to research in marriage and parenting approaches. His methods and breakthrough research have led to numerous mental health and family therapy awards, and he was one of the top 10 most influential therapists by the Psychotherapy Networker. Dr Gottman has released over 200 published academic articles and over 40 books, including bestseller “The seven principles for making marriage work”
WHO IS DR. JULIE SCHWARTZ GOTTMAN?
Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman is a highly regarded and respected clinical psychologist, married to Dr. John Gottman. Julie Gottman was an early spokesperson and leading advisor on controversial topics such as same-sex marriage, gay and lesbian adoption, cancer patients and their families, trauma survivors, substance abuse, sexual harassment, rape, and domestic violence. She has been recognised for her effective clinical psychotherapy treatments with specialisation in distressed couples and trauma victims.
WHAT IS THE GOTTMAN METHOD?
The Gottman’s research has revealed several models for couples therapy.
THE 4 HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE
One of the major insights the Gottman’s research has revealed is a foundational one that couples in trouble display one or more of the following 4 elements:
The Gottman’s call these the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse
The first 2, criticism and contempt are used as active weapons against each other, whereas the last 2, defensiveness and stonewalling are used as isolating and protective shields. All four horsemen are direct relational assaults on the harmony between the couple and are the cause of major problems in relationships.
THE SOUND RELATIONSHIP HOUSE THEORY
Imagine your relationship as a house, where the walls are built from Trust and Commitment, and within these walls we have rooms that all need to be filled to build a good and sustainable relationship:
The foundation of all relationships is based on trust. Trust involves two or more parts where each partner is acting and thinking in the other’s best interests.
Committing to a relationship is a mutual dedication to nurture, respect and value each other in all situations, and for an indefinite journey with common goals to stay together for better and for worse.
3. Create shared meaning
Finding what the unique visions and narratives are for your relationship.
4. Make life dreams come true
Holding a safe space where each individual in the couple feel comfortable sharing their hopes, values and aspirations for the relationship.
5. Manage conflicts
Understanding the differences in opinions and personality and how to handle and solve conflicts in the relationship.
6. The positive perspective
How to develop a positive approach to problem-solving and repairing past conflicts.
7. Turn towards instead of away
Build on curiosity towards a problem to connect and respond rather than react and turning away.
8. Share fondness and admiration#
Measuring the level of affection and respect within the relationship, strengthen the way this is expressed through fondness and admiration, to lower the level of contempt and resentment.
9. Build love maps
Understanding and building compassion towards each other’s psychological world, their history, worries, stresses, joys and hopes.
THE GOTTMAN’S 10 PRINCIPLES OF EFFECTIVE COUPLES THERPAY
The Gottman’s approach is based on 10 principles of effective couples therapy.
In their opinion these are:
- Use research-based methods
- Asses first, then decide on treatment
- Understand each partner’s inner world
- Map your treatment route
- Soothe yourself first, then intervene
- Process past regrettable incidents
- Replace the four horsemen with gentle conflict management skills
- Strengthen friendship and intimacy
- Suspend moral judgement when treating affairs
- Dive deep to create shared meaning between the couple
John Gottman and his team are most famous for his very thorough and extensive research and assessment methods. Some of these include:
Assessing each partner’s behaviours and interactions within the couples dynamic and what emotions and triggers that come up in different contexts;
Using specific questionnaires, interviews and video recall for self-assessments;
Observation and measuring of autonomic and endocrine responses in conflict situations;
The verbal history in a couple, observed emotions, and interactions;
GOTTMAN METHOD COUPLES THERAPY AT THE HART CENTRE
Here at The Hart Centre, it is important that our counsellors, psychologists, and therapists offer relationship counselling based on the latest research.
Many of our therapists are trained in the Gottman Method and uses this therapy approach when helping their couples to a better relationship together.
If you are looking for a very thorough and extensive approach to assessment and couples counselling, we would recommend the Gottman Method.
OUR HART CENTRE COUPLES THERAPISTS THAT OFFERS THE GOTTMAN METHOD IN RELATIONSHIP COUNSELLING
Our Hart Centre relationship psychologists and counsellors have been specifically trained to help you with the unique problems that come in various family dynamics. We have psychologists in each city, as well as Skype counselling options for those who can’t make it into one of our offices. Find our Gottman Specific counsellors on the link below.