Gottman Couples Therapy
Updated: Jun 9
Lianne Perry, MA, MSc., RCC
In 2018, I completed training in the Gottman Method of couples therapy. I was lucky enough to be able to complete the final level of this training in Seattle with Drs. John and Julie Gottman themselves. It was both enlightening and thrilling, to say the least, to have the opportunity to learn about the model directly from the people who created it in the first place.
The Gottman Method resonates with me for many reasons, not the least of which is that it’s based in research. Over the course of 35+ years of research, Dr. John Gottman has studied thousands of both “master and disaster” couples in order to learn what makes a successful partnership. The Gottman Method is the result of decades worth of research data and observation.
According to the Gottman Method, there are nine components of healthy relationships known as the Sound Relationship House.
The first three levels of the Sound Relationship House are about a couple’s friendship. How well do they know each other? Do they show appreciation and fondness for one another? When bids for connection are made, do they turn toward each other or away from each other? The middle section of the House is about how a couple solves problems and manages conflict. Do they respond positively to problem-solving and repair attempts? How do they approach both perpetual and solvable problems? The “attic” of the house is about how well the couple understands and encourages each other to fulfill their individual dreams, and how they create shared meaning and goals between them. The “pillars” that hold the House up, if you will, are trust and commitment.
So, what does the process of Gottman Couples Therapy looks like? What can a couple expect if they sign up?
The first three sessions are dedicated to assessment. Before trying to solve anything, it’s important that we fully understand both the areas of strength and challenges in your relationship; what you do well as a couple, and where you might need some help. Once we have gathered up all of that information through discussion, observation, and an extensive, individual questionnaire you each fill out, we come up with a plan of action going forward for treatment. Where you’re doing well, we celebrate. Where you feel challenged, we focus. We do this by using specific Gottman interventions which we practice in session and then give to you to take home to use “in the real world”. Sessions are 80-minutes long and are recommended to be held weekly or bi-weekly for the first few, and then the frequency, if desired, can be slightly reduced.
For more information on the Gottmans and the Gottman Method, click on this link: https://www.gottman.com/
Sessions can be booked online at www.moanacounselling.com.