The Gottman Method uses research-backed techniques to help couples reduce conflict, improve communication, and increase intimacy. When working with a Gottman-trained counselor the process begins with a 3-step assessment phase to establish a deep understanding of the couple’s history and current relationship. This distinguishing feature of the Gottman Method ensures important information is not missed and vital time is not lost to information not being disclosed. The assessment phase also gives couples an opportunity to ask questions, get to know the counselor, and build therapeutic rapport. Here’s what you can expect from an assessment:
- Meet as a couple with the counselor to share information about the relationship and areas of concern.
- Meet individually with the counselor to disclose any personal concerns, needs, and desires.
- Complete an online questionnaire to provide information on key predictors of relationship success and distress.
Following the assessment, the couple receives a feedback session giving them a personal window into their relationship dynamics. This session reviews in entirety The Sound Relationship House and couples are educated about what makes a healthy relationship and the steps to have one.
Oftentimes, a counselor will begin the treatment phase by helping couples heal from a past or recent betrayal. Gottman’s research ranks trust and commitment as the highest priority in a relationship. This is why the Gottman Method has a 5-Step Guide to address the “Aftermath of a Fight” or regrettable incident. A Gottman counselor is trained to coach couples through difficult and painful conversations to find forgiveness and regain love and trust.
Treatment with the Gottman Method will include learning skills and strategies for building friendship, greater fondness, admiration, and better communication. A counselor will teach couples how to avoid the Four Horsemen: Criticism, Defensiveness, Contempt, and Stonewalling.
The Gottman Method helps to manage conflict. According to Gottman’s research, 79% of problems are not solvable and result from things like the couple’s personality, temperament, and upbringing. This is why it’s necessary to learn how to compromise and dialogue about problems so they won’t become gridlocked issues. The goal of marriage is not zero conflict, but rather to learn how to accept influence from one another and to allow for differences while keeping a positive perspective.
John Gottman says every couple is a “multicultural” couple because they come from different backgrounds and family cultures. Part of the joy of marriage is getting to plan and decide what culture you want to establish in your own home and relationship. So Gottman counselors allow space for couples to share their life dreams and decide how to get intentional about doing what’s meaningful to them. Questions like, how do you want to celebrate holidays, birthdays, or anniversaries? or how do you want to begin and end your day? can be great starting points for building rituals and purpose.
The Gottman Method does require effort, but couples who follow this method will deepen their emotional connection and improve their love, trust, and friendship.