Functional Marriages Private Therapy, Inc

Gottman Method Couples Therapy: An Evidenced Based Treatment

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"Science differentiates truth from fiction, the psychotherapy field is no exception" John and Julie Gottman, Ph.D.


 Since the birth of Couples Therapy in the 1950's and 60's, pioneers in the field never scientifically studied the relationships they treated. Instead, they observed what they could, conceptualized what they saw and plunged forward into formulating treatments.


In the 1970's John Gottman, Ph.D. and his research team began studying what makes relationships succeed and fail. His goal was to predict marriage success and failure. Gottman was able to achieve his goal and based on observing a distinct set of behaviors and actions, he and his colleagues were able to predict divorce with 90% accuracy!! Gottman then began to look to the flip side to that coin and focused on what makes marriages work.  


Gottman created the Sound Relationship House Theory.


 This theoretical development allowed couples therapist to make suggestions about causality in a relationship, the mechanism for how things work. This made marriage repair more achievable and long lasting.


6 Floors and 2 Walls Make Up the Sound Relationship House


 9 floors make up the foundation of the Sound Relationship House and its two walls hold the relationship together. On each floor of the relationship house there is a relationship fundamental process that each partner needs to  build for relationship success. Specific actions and behaviors that produce relationship longevity, happiness and  satisfaction need to be put into practice in your relationship.


The First Floor is called Build Love Maps

This is the first floor of the house. The fundamental relationship process that needs to be developed here is having a road map to 

your partners inner world. It is responsible for a couple KNOWING each other.


2. The second floor of the house is called The Fondness and Admiration System. The fundamental process to be learned here is changing the mental habit you and/or your partner may have  from scanning  the environment for peoples mistakes and then correcting them  to scanning the environment for what one's partner is doing right and holding a culture of appreciation, fondness, affection and respect.


3. The third floor of the Sound Relationship House is called Turning Toward vs. Turning Away in everyday moments or Building the Emotional Bank Account. This fundamental relationship process required on this floor is to build awareness  of how one's partner asks for connection and expresses emotional needs, and deciding to turn toward those bids rather than away or against.


4. The first 3 stories of the Sound Relationship House builds the 4th floor which is called the Positive Perspective. or Positive Sentiment Override. When this is present in a relationship it determines a lot of things including the presence of positive affect during conflict and the success of a couple stopping a quarrel and getting the conversation back on track before it escalates. Negative Sentiment override occurs when the first 3 relationship fundamental processes are not being practiced. This means that neutral or positive messages are perceived as negative and the person is hypervigilant for negativity.


5. The 5th floor of the house  is made up of 2 parts of conflict regulation. The therapist helps the couple identify the core issues and helps them understand what triggers their escalation (defensiveness, criticism, contempt, belligerence) to prevent a repeat of negative cycles in the relationship. The therapist will also help the couple identify the story of these triggers in each partners past history. The 2nd part of conflict regulation involved being able to identify resolvable and un-resolvable problems and how to communicate about them.


6. The 6th floor of the Sound Relationship House Theory is related to  helping you and/or your partner realize important life dreams and making the relationship, in general, effective at Making Dreams and Aspirations Come True

The fundamental relationship process to be developed on this floor is unlocking gridlock in which the couple's values within a position in the gridlocked conflict are explored. 


7. Finally, we have the Attic of the House. This is the place where couples intentionally create, or not create, a sense of shared meaning in there life together. A relationship involves sharing a life together. This life is full of meaning. In the way the couple moves through time together,  in how they prioritize their time and their resources, in the stories they tell one another about their lives, their ancestors, their culture, their beliefs, their legacy, in the way they decide to have things and events in their lives have meaning, they create the shared meaning system.  In the Attic the narratives about what life means. Here are the informal and formal rituals of connection in a relationship


The Walls of The Sound Relationship House


8. Trust is the state that occurs when a person knows that his or her partner acts and thinks to maximize that persons interests and maximize that persons benefits, not just the partners own interests and benefits. Your partner has your back and you have theirs.


9. Commitment means believing (and acting on the belief) that the relationship with this person is completely one's lifetime journey, for better or worse (meaning if it gets worse we both will work to improve it). It implies cherishing your partners positive qualities and nurturing gratitude about what one has with his/her partner by comparing one's partner favorably with real or imagined others. rather than trashing his or her partner by magnifying one's partners negative qualities, and nurturing resentment by comparing his or her partner unfavorably with real or imagined others.


Discover Exactly What To Do To Improve Your Marriage


Gottman Method Couples Therapy Objectives


  1. Learn specific tools to deepen friendship and intimacy in your relationship
  2. Productively manage conflicts
  3. Foster appreciation for your relationship strengths and gently navigate through its vulnerabilities


5 PHASES: ASSESSMENT, TREATMENT, PHASING OUT OF THERAPY, TERMINATION, OUTCOME EVALUATION


PHASE 1: ASSESSMENT (3 SESSIONS)

  1. You and your spouse will be asked to complete questionnaires to help better understand your relationship
  2. You and your partner will discuss the history of your relationship, areas of concern and goals for treatment
  3. Individual sessions will be conducted during the 2nd session to learn more about you and your partners personal histories and to give each of you an opportunity to share your thoughts, feelings and perceptions
  4. During the final assessment session, recommendation for treatment will be shared and mutual agreed upon goals will be developed


PHASE 2: TREATMENT

  1. The length of your  treatment is determined by the specific needs and goals to be addressed
  2. The majority of treatment is conducted with both parties present however there may be times when individual therapy may be recommended
  3. During the course of treatment, there will be established points at which to evaluate your satisfaction and progress


PHASE 3 & 4: PHASING OUT OF THERAPY & TERMINATION

  1. In the later stage of treatment, you and your partner will "phase out" or meet less frequently in order for you to test out your new relationship skills
  2. Preparation for therapy termination will also commence


PHASE 5: OUTCOME EVALUATION

  1. Four follow-up sessions are planned: 1 after six months, 1 after twelve months, 1 after 18 months and 1 after two years
  2. Follow-up sessions have been shown through research to drastically reduce relapse into previous, unhelpful patterns


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