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Helping Couples Through the Gottman Method


Building and maintaining healthy relationships requires intentional effort and effective communication. One approach gaining prominence in couples therapy is the Gottman Method. Developed by Dr. John and Dr. Julie Gottman, this evidence-based therapeutic approach focuses on enhancing communication, resolving conflicts, and fostering emotional connection between partners.

 

At the core of the Gottman Method lies the Sound Relationship House Theory. This theory identifies critical elements for a strong relationship: trust, commitment, shared meaning, and emotional connection. Therapists employing this method guide couples through a structured process, utilising assessment tools to identify strengths and areas needing improvement. The Gottman Method emphasises nine components that contribute to relationship success. By targeting these areas, therapists can help clients develop a deeper understanding of their partners and improve the overall quality of their relationships. 

 

1.     Build Love Maps: Assess how well partners know each other's inner world, including their hopes, stressors, worries, and desires.

2.     Share Fondness and Admiration: Focus on the level of respect and tenderness between the couple. Gottman calls this level "the antidote for contempt."

3.     Turn Towards Instead of Away: Be aware of your partner and respond when you sense they need something emotionally.

4.     The Positive Perspective: Approaching problems and repairing relationship failures with a positive attitude.

5.     Manage Conflict: Conflict is inevitable and sometimes provides a learning experience. Gottman views the approach towards conflicts in healthy and happy relationships as gentle. Partners keep their level of physiological arousal low and bring up the issue that bothers them more gently.

6.     Make Life Dreams Come True: Creating an atmosphere that encourages people to talk honestly about their hopes, values, convictions and aspirations.

7.     Create Shared Meaning: Understanding important narratives, myths, and metaphors about the relationship.

8.     Trust: Gottman defines trust as partners knowing that each will think and act in the best interest of the other.

9.     Commitment: Knowing that your partner will stick with you through the rough patches and work to get through them. It involves a focus on gratitude for who your partner is and what they do in the relationship.

 

The Gottman Method aims to reduce conflict and remove barriers that create a feeling of stagnancy. It also aims to increase intimacy, respect, and affection and create a heightened sense of empathy and understanding within the relationship context. Therapists employing the Gottman Method engage clients in practical exercises that transcend the therapeutic setting and promote real-world application. Techniques include role-playing and exercises allowing partners to express themselves openly and empathetically towards each other as they implement newly acquired skills in their daily interactions. The Gottman therapists also teach their couples practical conflict resolution skills and constructive ways to navigate disagreements and transform potential conflicts into opportunities for growth. Gottman's method equips couples with resilience, enabling them to face future challenges with confidence and unity.

 

Restoring Peace is a private mental health centre which provides counselling and psychotherapy services for mental health and relationship challenges. Our clinicians work with children, adolescents, youths and adult individuals and couples facing anxiety, depression, grief, low self-esteem, PTSD, trauma, and other life challenges. For more information, please visit www.restoringpeace.com.sg or WhatsApp at +65 8889 1848. For periodic updates, we invite you to join our telegram group: https://t.me/restoringpeace.

 

Keywords: Gottman method, couples, counselling, trust, strength, healthy, relationships, communication, resolving conflicts

 

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