Gottman Method Therapy
Relationships are a foundation that supports all other aspects of a meaningful life, but anytime you partner with another person, you inevitably pick up a little bag of troubles. That’s where our couples therapy/relationship therapy services with Gottman Method therapy can help. Our therapists are trained in the Gottman Method, an evidence-based approach to helping people have healthy and satisfying relationships.
We see people when they are dating, considering life-long commitment, struggling to navigate moving in/newlywed adjustment, transitions to becoming parents, opening their relationships, empty nesting, healing from betrayal, retirement and many more. The principles of Gottman Method Therapy help people in all stages of relationship.
Our Approach: Relationship Therapy/couples therapy is based on Dr. John Gottman’s research from more than 40 years and includes more than 3,000 couples. Dr. Gottman’s research has focused on what makes relationships succeed or fail and what makes marriages thrive over time. Through the study of relationships, Dr. Gottman has been able to predict divorce with over 90% accuracy and sometimes this makes couples/partners nervous to do Gottman Method Therapy. But from his research John Gottman, PhD and his wife, Julie Schwartz Gottman, PhD, have created a method of therapy that helps people understand and interact in ways that eliminate the behaviors that cause divorce, and instead use what people do who are in long-term happy relationships to achieve greater friendship, emotional and sexual intimacy, create deep understanding and connection, manage conflict, and support each other’s life dreams.
Gottman Method Therapy is a structured, goal-oriented, and scientifically based therapy. People learn skills to build and maintain what Drs. John and Julie Gottman call the Sound Relationship House.
Our therapists use a combination of listening carefully to your unique story, asking deepening questions, expressing empathy, and educating you on Gottman communication skills and exercises to help you deepen your connection with your partner/s and build a stronger foundation for your relationship. Gottman Method Therapy helps you and your partner/s talk with each other in radically different ways than most people have learned to communicate.
How is Gottman Method Couples Therapy/Relationship Therapy different than other types of therapy?
Gottman Method Therapy:
Begins with a comprehensive understanding of the relationship and its strengths and challenges.
Therapy has a roadmap for sessions with specific objectives and goals.
The therapist is active in therapy and interrupts old and unhelpful ways of communication and educates and assists in the practice of new skills.
Couples/Partners practice skills outside of therapy and take home tools to help them structure their conversations in meaningful ways.
The couple/partners talk to each other instead of the therapist to practice skills in session to be able to have the conversations they want to have instead of the fight they get into.
Assessment is important to be able to comprehensively understand what brings people into therapy. The therapist initially meets with clients to discuss the reasons they are seeking therapy and to tell the story of their relationship. Next, the therapist meets individually with each member of the relationship to understand more about their unique background, perspective of the relationship, and goals for treatment. Individuals also complete the Relationship Checkup that comes from, and is scored by, the Gottman Institute. This questionnaire covers many areas of relationship functioning and helps the therapist understand relationship strengths and challenges. Information gathered during assessment is then discussed with the clients jointly in a feedback session. The feedback session reviews strengths and challenges of the relationship, discusses if Gottman therapy has been shown to change similar challenges, see if the therapist is a good fit, and if all parties agree, to set goals for intervention.
Treatment in Gottman Method Therapy generally takes place in 90-minute intervals that are conducted on a weekly basis. Each relationship is as unique as the individuals involved and so some relationships meet for lesser or greater frequency or length. Depending on the wishes of the individuals involved, homework can be discussed, and clients can work towards new relationship patterns outside of the therapy space. Intensive Couples Therapy can be for couples/partners who need more focused attention, provide a deeper level of support in a condensed time frame, or for couples/partners who are traveling from out of town. Many other couples/partners who utilize Intensives are those who have been in years of therapy and are fatigued by the mountain of relationship work left to do or who are frustrated by the lack of results in weekly therapy.
Termination of Gottman Method Therapy includes conversations with couples/partners and their therapist to review the goals and outcomes of therapy. People terminate when they have learned how to identify harmful behaviors and interrupt using them and instead, substitute healthy relationship skills.
Termination means people understand the components of healthy relationships and are able to practice them. This doesn’t mean they are perfect at the new ways of communicating but they are committed to continuing to repair, de-escalate, turn towards, share fondness and admiration, listen without judgement, and many more.
Outcome-evaluation and Additional Follow-Up sessions are scheduled for six months, 12 months, 18 months, and 24 months. These sessions have been shown through research to significantly decrease the chances of relapse into previous, unhelpful patterns. In addition, commitment to providing the best therapy possible requires ongoing evaluation of methods and participant progress. The purpose of these follow-up sessions is to fine-tune relationship skills and make sure new habits are being laid down.
Additional follow-up is sometimes helpful and can be flexible depending on the needs of the partners/couple. Some people have monthly 15-minute sessions to make sure they are held accountable for new behaviors. Others schedule every other month for an hour to discuss any roadblocks they are not able to work through. All partnerships are different, and follow-up is customized to each relationship.
What makes our therapists different?
Many therapists who advertise being Gottman therapists have received no specific training in Gottman Method Therapy. When you are selecting your therapist, inquire about how much training they have had in Gottman Method Therapy, how much consultation or supervision they have received, and how they continue to grow as couples/relationship therapists.
Our therapists are trained in Gottman Method Therapy and have extensive experience working with couples to improve their relationships. You are able to see how many levels of training each therapist has completed by reading their bio on the website. They also participate in weekly consultation groups and a monthly Gottman Consultation group.
Training in Gottman Method Therapy is broken down into three levels:
Level 1 is 11 hours of training, Level 2 is 19 hours of training, and Level 3 is 20 hours of training. If clinicians move into the certification track after completing all three levels of training, there is additional consultation and review of the therapists work, with the therapist needing to provide evidence of mastering Gottman Method Therapy prior to achieving certification status.
Additional Gottman Relationship Tools
In addition to weekly and intensive couple therapy/relationship therapy, we offer Gottman Method workshops and retreats. Please read more about the 7 Principles Workshop being offered throughout the year.