Approach To working with couples

We are trained in the Gottman Method of couples' therapy.  The goals of the Gottman method are to disarm conflicting verbal communication, increase intimacy, respect, and affection, remove barriers that create a feeling of stagnancy in conflicting situations, and create a heightened sense of empathy and understanding within the context of the relationship.   In seven longitudinal studies, Dr. John Gottman could predict whether a couple would divorce with an average of over 90% accuracy.

How does it work?

Step 1: Detailed Assessment of the couple's areas of strengths and weakness
Couples who enter into Gottman Method Couples Therapy begin with an assessment process that then informs our therapeutic framework and intervention.  You will begin with a conjoint session, followed by two individual sessions in which each partner will have the chance to meet with the therapist one on one. Couples then complete highly detailed questionnaires online and receive detailed feedback on their relationship when they meet back together in session #4.

Step 2: Joint sessions on a weekly or bi-weekly basis
Specific, targeted interventions are designed to help the couple strengthen their relationships in three primary areas: friendship, conflict management, and creation of shared meaning. Couples learn to replace negative conflict patterns with positive interactions and to repair past hurts. Interventions designed to increase closeness and intimacy are used to improve friendship, deepen emotional connection, and create changes which enhances the couples shared goals. 

Who can benefit?

The Gottman Method is designed to support couples across all economic, racial, sexual orientation, and cultural sectors. Outcome research has shown Gottman Method Couples Therapy to be effective for treating same-sex relationships.

Some of the relationship issues that may be addressed in therapy include:

  • Frequent conflict and arguments
  • Poor communication
  • Emotionally distanced couples on the verge of separation
  • Specific problems such as sexual difficulties, infidelity, money, and parenting

Even couples with “normal” levels of conflict will likely benefit from the Gottman Method. Gottman-trained therapists aim to help couples build stronger relationships overall and healthier ways to cope with issues as they arise in the future. 

In his research, Dr. Gottman found that couples that are contemptuous of each other are more likely to suffer from infectious illness (colds, the flu, etc.) than others, as their immune systems weaken! Contempt is fueled by long-simmering negative thoughts about the partner – which come to a head in the perpetrator attacking the accused from a position of relative superiority. Contempt is the single greatest predictor of divorce according to Dr. Gottman’s work. It must be eliminated.
— The Gottman Relationship Blog