Gottman Method for Couples Therapy

What is the Gottman Method?

About 45 years ago, Dr. John Gottman realized that relationships and marriages are essential, but there is little research into what makes them work. So he set up a “love lab” at the university where he taught. He conducted extensive studies by recording couples and how they interact and follow up with them years and decades later to see which couples were still together and what traits their relationships shared. While this is an oversimplification, it highlights that the Gottman’s have among the most researched couple’s therapy methods. The theory visualized by their Sound Relationship House. John’s wife, Dr. Julie Gottman, assisted with the research, and both have been active couples and marriage counselors. Similar to the Gottman’s (John only does marathon therapy), we offer three consecutive days of five hours a day for those for whom marathon therapy makes sense.

The Gottman Method is Both Structured and Adaptable

The Gottman Method for couples therapy has the advantage of being scientifically based and structured while allowing for flexibility and individualization. Many who like the Gottman Method like its structure. Many who haven’t used it or seen it are suspicious of too much structure. Dr. Julie Gottman is careful to point out that their methods are about doing what makes sense in the here and now. They have many interventions to help you with what clients are experiencing at the moment but don’t require you to follow an exact process or use the same process with every client. What helps make the Gottman Method successful for many people is their Relationship Checkup assessment. While extensive with 337 questions, each partner can take it at home on their own time. This assessment helps you think about your relationship, and it gives your couples therapist targeted interventions to make the best use of your time. Areas of strength can be skipped or glossed over.

Interventions include things such as building your friendship, learning how to deal with conflict, couples communication, rebuilding trust after an affair, and many more. They have very effective interventions for building effective communication. One of the things I think makes the Gottman Method so successful is that John and Julie have slight disagreements about the best way to do many things. John’s background is more in research and he is more structured. Julie’s background is more in practice and is more flexible. Pulling from both of their styles allows a Columbus Ohio Gottman therapist to use the best of both worlds and to use what makes sense for the couple.

Understanding the Full Gottman Method Requires Experiencing it

The complete Gottman Method is difficult to explain. It must be experienced. Those who are open to it and giving it their all typically get the best results. It doesn’t work in every scenario and situation, but it generally works in the long run. Sometimes couples take two steps forward and one step back as they confront relationship issues they may have been holding back.

Next Steps
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