Gottman Method Couples Therapy
The Gottman Method was developed by Dr. John Gottman and his wife Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman in the 1980s. It is an evidence-based form of couples therapy that strives to assist couples in achieving a deeper sense of understanding, awareness, empathy, and connectedness within their relationships that ultimately leads to heightened intimacy and interpersonal growth. By combining therapeutic interventions with couples exercises, this type of therapy helps couples identify and address the natural defenses that hinder effective communication and bonding.
Couples who enter into the Gottman Method Couples Therapy begin with an assessment process that then informs the therapeutic framework and intervention. Following assessment, the couple and therapist decide on the frequency of the sessions. Finally, the therapist develops interventions. For example, a couple may enact a recent conflict and through observation, the therapist identifies the strengths and problems and implements interventions that aim to improve the couple’s communication. The therapist assists the couple in effectively repairing the conflict.
Goals and Principles of the Gottman Method
The principle goals of the Gottman Method Couples Therapy are to disarm conflicting verbal communication, increase intimacy, respect, and affection, remove barriers that create a feeling of stagnancy in conflicting situations, and create a heightened sense of empathy and understanding within the context of the relationship.
Drs. John and Julie Gottman developed nine components of healthy relationships, also known within the practice as the Sound Relationship House. These include:
- Building love maps
- Sharing fondness and admiration
- Turning towards (as opposed to turning away from each other)
- The positive perspective (seeing your partner as a friend, not an adversary)
- Managing conflict
- Making life dreams come true
- Creating shared meaning
Couples build their own Sound Relationship House using tested tools, and work closely with the therapist to grow together through the process. For more information, visit The Gottman Institute.
What Is Emotionally Focused Therapy?
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is a short-term form of therapy that focuses on adult relationships and attachment/bonding. The therapist and clients look at patterns in the relationship and take steps to create a more secure bond and develop more trust to move the relationship in a healthier, more positive direction.
Couples and families in distress can benefit from EFT and learn to improve their relationships. Often, clients are dealing with anger, fear, loss of trust, or sense of betrayal in their relationship. EFT has also been proven effective for couples who are having trouble coping with their own illness or that of a child. In addition to helping the distressed relationship, EFT can also help reduce individual symptoms of depression or trauma.
What to Expect
An EFT therapist observes the dynamics between clients in the therapy setting, ties this behavior to the dynamics in their home lives, and helps direct new conversations and interactions based on more honest feelings. To accomplish this, your therapist will encourage you to look at your current emotional issues and then help you discover feelings and emotions that you may not realize you have. You may discover deeper past feelings and vulnerabilities that are blocked by the more immediate emotions you display in your current relationship. You will learn to express these emotions in a way that will help you connect, rather than disconnect with your partner or family member. You will learn new ways to listen and stay attuned to another’s emotions and discover more productive ways to respond to emotional situations.