Gottman Method for Couples Counseling

During times of relationship crisis, many couples despair of being able to save their relationship. The Gottman Method provides practical guidance to heal the damage already done and look forward to a better, happier future together.

Key points

  1. Based on research in the science of relationships.
  2. The relationship checkup assessment focuses therapy on your needs.
  3. Practical tools that you can start applying right away to make your relationship better.
  4. Not cookie-cutter marriage therapy. Laser focused on your needs.

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Do you wish you knew the secret of a rewarding, long-lasting romance? According to research done by the Gottman Institute, fondness and admiration are two of the most crucial components of a satisfying, successful relationship. When you and your partner both feel valued and loved, it can be easier to cope with stress, navigate disagreements, and get through difficult times.

Overview of the Gottman Method

The Gottman Method is a practical, evidence-based approach to couples therapy that emphasizes the importance of building a strong foundation of friendship and trust, effective communication, and positive interactions.

Central to the approach is the use of assessment tools, including the Gottman Relationship Checkup.

What is the Gottman Relationship Checkup?

Assessment helps you and your therapist identify areas of strength and areas for improvement in your relationship. Based on these assessments, your therapists can tailor interventions to your needs.

The Gottman Relationship Checkup is a research-based assessment that enables your therapist to effectively understand your relationship’s unique strengths and challenges. Assessment can keep therapy on track and focused on supporting your most important needs.

The couples assessment includes 480 questions about friendship, emotions, intimacy, conflict, trust, and values, housework, parenting, finances, and more. On average, couples spend 1-2 hours on the questionnaire.

After both partners have completed the questionnaire, your therapist can log in to view your scores and analysis of the relationship. Your therapist will review the results with you and come up with a treatment plan to strengthen your relationship.

What topics does the couples assessment cover?

  • Friendship and Intimacy: relationship satisfaction, emotional connection, romance, and admiration
  • The Safety Scales: trust, chaos, commitment, and emotional philosophies
  • The Conflict Scales: stress, relationship harshness, and conflict management
  • The Shared Meaning System: shared rituals, values, and goals
  • Individual Areas of Concern: individual issues, safety, sex, depression, drug and alcohol use, violence, and anxiety

What can you expect in Gottman Method couples therapy?

Therapy for you focuses on the areas that are most important for your relationship. The tools that your therapist selects will be different from the techniques that are selected for different couples with different needs.

Techniques that are often used in the Gottman Method include:

  1. Active listening to truly understand each other’s point of view
  2. Empathy building
  3. Problem-solving
  4. Using “I” statements to express your feelings and needs
  5. Learning to validate each other’s perspectives
  6. Building a culture of appreciation and positivity
  7. Regularly expressing gratitude and appreciation
  8. Engaging in activities that bring you joy and pleasure
  9. Creating shared rituals and traditions that strengthen your emotional bond

What can you gain in therapy?

The Gottman Method can help couples improve communication, build trust, and strengthen their emotional connection.

At the heart of the Gottman Method is the concept of the “Sound Relationship House,” a metaphor for the seven key components of a healthy, fulfilling relationship. These include building a strong foundation of friendship and shared meaning, managing conflict effectively, and cultivating a sense of positivity and appreciation in the relationship.

The Gottman Method focuses on teaching you practical skills that you can use every day to make your relationship better. Research has shown that couples who participate in Gottman Method therapy are more likely to experience improvements in communication, conflict resolution, and overall relationship satisfaction.

Does it make sense to try the Gottman Method?

Were there good reasons that you fell in love? Is there still a lot of good in your relationship that’s worth saving? If the answer is yes, the Gottman Method provides an excellent path that can empower you and your partner to take charge of your relationship and create a happier, more fulfilling future together.

References and further reading

Davoodvandi, M., Nejad, S., & Farzad, V. (2018). Examining the Effectiveness of Gottman Couple Therapy on Improving Marital Adjustment and Couples’ Intimacy. Iranian Journal of Psychiatry.

Rajaei, A., Daneshpour, M., & Robertson, J. (2019). The Effectiveness of Couples Therapy Based on the Gottman Method Among Iranian Couples With Conflicts: A Quasi-Experimental Study. Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy.

Gottman, John M. and Schwartz-Gottman, Julie. (March 2017) The Natural Principles of Love, Journal of Family Theory and Review. Available here.

Garanzini, S., Yee, A., Gottman, J. M., Gottman, J. S., Cole, C., Preciado, M., Jasculca, C., (October 2017), Results of Gottman Method Couples Therapy With Gay and Lesbian Couples, Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. Available here.