The Gottman Institute based in the USA provide a range of workshops, training, research, resources and information to couples and professional therapists. There are currently only 10 trained Gottman couples therapists in Ireland. Orlagh Gahan is the only listed Gottman approved therapist in Co. Kildare. You can find a local Gottman trained therapist on the Gottman Referral Network. The following information about Gottman Method Couples Therapy is from Dr. John Gottman & Dr. Julie Gottmans website www.gottman.com
The Gottman Method is an approach to couples therapy that includes a thorough assessment of the couples relationship and integrates research-based interventions based on the Sound Relationship House Theory. Couples who enter into Gottman Method Couples Therapy begin with an assessment process that then informs the therapeutic framework and intervention.
Couples with “normal” levels of conflict can benefit from the Gottman Method Couples Therapy. Gottman-trained therapists aim to help couples build stronger relationships overall and healthier ways to cope with issues as they arise in the future.
The assessment process has four parts. One conjoint session, one session of individual interviews with each partner and a second conjoint session. Couples also complete private individual online questionnaires after the first conjoint session called the Gottman Relationship Checkup. This questionnaire consists of 480 questions about friendship, intimacy, emotions, conflict, values, and trust, as well as parenting, housework, finances, individual areas of concern, and more. It takes approx 50 minutes to compete.
The couple and therapist decide on the frequency and duration of the sessions.
Interventions are designed to help couples 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. Relapse prevention is also addressed.
Goals and Principles of the Gottman Method
The goals of Gottman Method Couples Therapy 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.
Drs. John and Julie Gottman developed nine components of healthy relationships known as The Sound Relationship House Theory.
Build Love Maps
How well do you know your partner’s inner psychological world, his or her history, worries, stresses, joys, and hopes?
Share Fondness and Admiration
The antidote for contempt, this level focuses on the amount of affection and respect within a relationship. (To strengthen fondness and admiration, express appreciation and respect.)
Turn Towards Instead of Away
State your needs, be aware of bids for connection and respond to (turn towards) them. The small moments of everyday life are actually the building blocks of relationship.
The Positive Perspective
The presence of a positive approach to problem-solving and the success of repair attempts.
We say “manage” conflict rather than “resolve” conflict, because relationship conflict is natural and has functional, positive aspects. Understand that there is a critical difference in handling perpetual problems and solvable problems.
Make Life Dreams Come True
Create an atmosphere that encourages each person to talk honestly about his or her hopes, values, convictions and aspirations.
Create Shared Meaning
Understand important visions, narratives, myths, and metaphors about your relationship.
This is the state that occurs when a person knows that his or her partner acts and thinks to maximize that person’s best interests and benefits, not just the partner’s own interests and benefits. In other words, this means, “my partner has my back and is there for me.”
This means believing (and acting on the belief) that your relationship with this person is completely your lifelong journey, for better or for worse (meaning that if it gets worse you will both work to improve it). It implies cherishing your partner’s positive qualities and nurturing gratitude by comparing the partner favorably with real or imagined others, rather than trashing the partner by magnifying negative qualities, and nurturing resentment by comparing unfavorably with real or imagined others.
Who Can Benefit from the Gottman Method?
In his New York Times bestselling book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, Dr. John Gottman writes, “Although you may feel your situation is unique, we have found that all marital conflicts fall into two categories: Either they can be resolved, or they are perpetual, which means they will be part of your lives forever, in some form or another.” Gottman says that 69% of marital conflicts are perpetual problems, and these are of particular focus in much of the work performed by Gottman-trained therapists.
The Gottman Method is designed to support couples across all economic, racial, sexual orientation, and cultural sectors. Gottman Method Couples Therapy is 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
How Long Do You Attend Therapy?
The assessment phase is 3 to 4 sessions which are each around 75 minutes long. An online relationship questionnaire will be completed in-between assessment sessions which takes up to 1 hour to complete.
Couples therapy then continues for as long as necessary. Consider attending for between 6 months to 12 months regularly or for around 12 sessions including the assessment sessions. This varies depending on each couples circumstances. You can also consider attending Marathon Therapy sessions which can be between 3 hours and 7 hours duration in the one day or over a weekend.