The Gottman Method for Couples Therapy

Updated: Sep 19

Written by Stephanie Beck, CCC. Stephanie is a Vancouver-based relationship counsellor who provides in-person and online counselling services for couples.


The decision to begin couples counselling is often due to struggles in at least one area of the relationship. However, every couple can benefit from couples therapy, regardless of the state of their relationship. Learning and understanding a new skill set will help you both grow as a couple and as individuals. You never stop learning and improving, start working on yourselves now. Give your relationship and life a bright, happy, healthy future.


There are many types of couples counsellors that practice different methods and styles. How do you decide? And where do you find the right fit for you? With a little research and time, you can determine what is best for your goals and dreams.



What is the Gottman Method and what does it involve


As you’re researching, you may have come across the Gottman Method. What is it and why is it popular? This approach to couples' therapy begins with a comprehensive assessment of the couple's relationship. From there, the counsellor uses research-based interventions based on the Sound Relationship House Theory ¹ paired with couples exercises.


The Sound Relationship House Theory includes:

  • Building love maps

  • Sharing fondness and attraction

  • Turning towards each other

  • Positive perspective

  • Managing conflict

  • Making life dreams come true

  • Creating shared meaning ¹


The Gottman Method is effective, as it focuses on creating a healthy relationship, restructuring the relationship and your thought process, and changing how conflict is handled. It was developed by analyzing successful relationships of 25 years and longer. It focuses on:

  • Resolving conflicting verbal communication

  • Increasing intimacy, respect, and affection

  • Removing barriers that create a feeling of stagnancy

  • Creating a heightened sense of empathy and understanding within the context of the relationship ³


Learning and using the Gottman Method will evolve your life. It does this by shifting your thought process to a healthy outlook, improving your connection, and creating healthy communication. Gain tools to manage your conflicts, make mutual dreams happen, create a life you both want, and continue your commitment to each other. It will enhance your life and bring you closer.




The research behind the Gottman Method


In the 1980s, the method was first introduced by Dr. John Gottman and Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman. The therapy sessions use evidence-based treatment (EBT) along with implementing couples exercises. It focuses on assisting couples to achieve a deeper sense of:

  • Understanding

  • Awareness

  • Empathy

  • Connection ²

Understanding those key points and improving them will lead to deeper levels of intimacy, individual and couples' growth, and working to improve the natural defense that negatively affects healthy communication. ²



How effective is the Gottman Method in couples therapy?


It is proven to be highly effective for couples of all backgrounds, races, and sexual orientation. It can be effective even for couples who discussed getting a divorce. If both partners are open, honest, and willing to put in the needed time and effort – your relationship will transform. It will become a loving, respectful relationship, building a life together of shared dreams, excellent communication, and healthy conflict responses.



Resources

¹ https://therapist.com/types-of-therapy/gottman-method/

² https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/gottman-method/

³ https://www.gottman.com/about/the-gottman-method/

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