What grabbed me the first moment I heard Dr. John Gottman speak in the late 1990s was that his model for how to help couples was based on research.
Actual research, lots of it, over many years, with hundreds of couples.
I was sold, and with each new research finding he described, and how it could be applied to real-life changes couples could make to improve their relationships, I was sold anew.
After decades of researching the differences between “the Masters and the Disasters” of relationships, John Gottman and his wife, therapist Dr. Julie Schwartz-Gottman combined forces to teach therapists to help couples make small changes regularly to change the course of their relationship towards that of the Masters.
In the broadest overview, Dr. Gottman found that successful couples have a strong friendship, are able to manage conflicts with each other, support each other’s dreams and have shared meaning about their lives. They trust and are committed to each other, and they don’t use destructive patterns such as criticism, contempt, and defensiveness.
The “Sound Relationship House Theory” and “The Four Horsemen” visually summarize these findings.
At the beginning of therapy, Gottman therapists start with an assessment, to identify from the outset which areas need work. Then, with the agreement of the couple and the therapist, they dive into therapy together. Therapy occurs in no particular order – although it’s Gottman “Method” therapy, the process naturally unfolds with the issues that the couples brings in to each session. The therapist knows the skills the couple needs, and introduces them as they fit.
Over time, couples build a full toolbox of relationship skills, change their patterns, and become emotionally closer and attached to each other.
Gottman Method Couples Therapy helps take couples from struggling to thriving, and beyond.