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What Is The Gottman Method In Couples Counseling?

Williamsburg Therapy Group Couple sitting at desk with therapist

The Gottman Method was developed by Dr. John and Julie Gottman as a way to standardize and improve the efficacy of couples therapy.

Before the Gottman Method (and other strategies) were developed, marriage counseling had a success rate of less than 50%. Today, that number is at least 75% and potentially higher.

The Gottman Method establishes a specific, actionable roadmap for couples and marriage counseling that has shown immense power for strengthening relationships. The Gottman Method has three overarching goals for relationships that need work:

 

Maintain Intimacy As Lovers And Friends

Through their research, the Gottmans determined that one of the most important aspects of a healthy relationship is that the partners consider each other not just as romantic partners but as friends as well.

Part of The Gottman Method seeks to guide couples into strengthening their intimacy in all aspects of their relationship, including sex, humor, trust and confidence, and quality time.

 

Reduce Conflicted Communication

Another big factor in whether or not a couple's relationship will stay healthy and get better during and after therapy is whether or not they can talk to each other without fighting.

The Gottman Method describes "The Four Horsemen" of communication, which are present in conflicted communication:

  • Criticism: unproductive or unconstructive criticism is not healthy and only serves to inhibit communication.

  • Contempt: Contempt between partners destroys relationship therapy's ability to create trust and empathy.

  • Defensiveness: Being defensive when your partner brings up their thoughts and feelings stops progress in its tracks. Defensiveness closes people off from further communication.

  • Stonewalling: Stonewalling occurs when one or both partners refuses to continue the conversation out of contempt or defensiveness.

Conflicted communication makes it hard for a relationship to grow, so a big part of The Gottman Method is about reducing or getting rid of it.

 

Create A Shared Life And Shared Meaning

The best, longest-lasting relationships are those that have grown together such that the partners share foundational goals and meaning in life.

After first solidifying the way the partners interact and feel about one another, The Gottman Method then strives to guide the partners into this high stage of relationship growth.

By studying over 3,000 couples, John and Julie Gottman have created a scientific basis for couples and marriage counseling that has proven itself time and again as one of the most effective couples therapy methods.

 

How To Get Started With Couples Therapy In NYC


If you are looking for help strengthening your relationship, it is important to work with an experienced couples therapist who can guide you through the process and help you build a stronger, healthier relationship that lasts.

At Williamsburg Therapy Group, we want all of our clients and their relationships to turn out well. Schedule an appointment with one of our experienced couples therapists if you're ready to take the first step toward healing and improving your relationship.

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