GOTTMAN METHOD COUPLES THERAPY
Relationship Counselling in Point Cook
If you're having problems in your relationship and are looking for a Marriage counselling specialist or a couples coach to help you get back on track or to learn how to communicate with each other - you'll find that this technique is successfully used by therapists all over the world.
The Gottman Method Couples therapy helps couples to improve their relationship. It's based on scientific facts derived from the analysis of the behaviours of thousands of different couples over a long period of time. It aims to increase intimacy, understanding, and respect, and to remove harmful barriers which prevent productive communication and development within the relationship.
This method of therapy aims to increase friendship and closeness in couples. It does this by showing them ways to deal with problems and conflicts in a positive way. Not all conflicts have a solution, but the theory is that you can learn to live with it and not allow it to destroy your relationship. The theory also focuses on building a shared life together. That involves being more attentive and considerate to your partner. Making tiny positive changes in small, everyday things can make the relationship more stable, supportive, and stronger so that it can grow and develop.
The Gottman method can help any relationship improve. It can be used in newly-weds who are just beginning to discover the intricacies of married life. Or, it can work for long-married couples who have just got stuck in a rut. Even happily married couples can discover new ways to enhance their relationship. It is very beneficial in couples where the conflict is repeated and chronic and they cannot find a way to deal with it. Sometimes it can be used in situations of infidelity, abuse, or destructive behavior. Anxiety, trauma, depression, domestic violence, abuse, and multi-cultural issues can all be dealt with using the Gottman method.
What is the Gottman Method
This method was devised by Dr. John Gottman. He was originally a mathematician who became intrigued about the dynamics of relationships and what makes them work or fail. In the 1980s and 90s, he set up a laboratory apartment where he observed volunteer couples, doing normal, everyday things. He videotaped the sessions and analysed them.
Later, he began to do more revealing experiments and he would use monitors to observe the heart rates of couples during arguments. Another gadget recorded how much they fidgeted during a confrontation. He continued his research with funding from the National Institute of Mental Health, and he began to observe a wider range of couples. He studied over 3,000 different couples of all ages, races, backgrounds, and walks of life. The reactions of the couples were recorded every four years, and over a period of nearly forty years Dr. Gottman built up an incredible amount of data.
While every person is, of course, unique, and each relationship different, Dr. Gottman discovered, somewhat surprisingly, that many couples display the same patterns of behaviour. He was able to identify different elements which make a relationship last or make it break up and he isolated certain variables which allowed him to predict the future of a relationship. He claims to be able to predict with a 91-percent accuracy rate, as to whether a relationship will end in divorce, after only observing and analysing the way a couple behaves during a short argument. He also discovered that 69% of all ‘happily’ married couples never resolve their conflicts. Dr. Gottman has managed to quantify something as intangible as love and marriage.
Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman, John’s wife, a clinical psychologist, started to work with her husband, and in 1994, they decided to unite their talents. The complement of his statistical data and scientific dispassion, combined with her therapeutic knowledge and experience, led them to develop the Gottman Method Couples Therapy.
The 9 principles of the Gottman Method
Couples must work through these 9 principles together in order to nourish and maintain their relationship.
Love maps. This involves having more empathy and understanding of your partner. To concern yourself with how they really feel and what emotions and stresses they are dealing with.
Fondness and admiration. Couples who express their fondness and feelings of admiration towards each other are more likely to be able to resolve any problems they may have.
Turn to each other. The Gottman’s call this the ‘Emotional Bank Account’ which increases in couples who treat each other with concern and respect and look to one another for support.
Accepting Influence. Relationships involve give and take and also compromise is essential to maintain the balance of power.
Problem-solving. By using these strategies couples can learn to solve their problems. When things get tense, they can soothe the situation and promote constructive dialogue.
Manage conflict. The Gottman method allows couples to find ways to manage their conflicts, through tolerance and understanding based on respect and concern for one another. Not all conflicts have a solution, but this method lets couples find ways to deal with conflicts for the benefit of the relationship.
Create shared meaning. Being in a relationship means that you look to improve your life through the relationship. The connection between two people is made up of lots of little thoughts, words, and actions which together can create a lifelong unity which empowers them to get through the difficult times, together.
Trust. Knowing that your partner is acting in your best interest.
Commitment. Knowing that you are both staying in the relationship through thick and thin and working on making it better for both.
How Does the Gottman Method Create Change in relationships?
Often, people fall into a way of dealing with their partner which makes disagreements or problems worse. The Gottman method causes change by first: Identifying problem areas and then learning positive reactions and responses to enhance the relationship, rather than using negative ones that can destroy it.
Therapy focuses on replacing negative emotions such as contempt and defensiveness, with positive communication skills that promote the development and continuation of the relationship. Therapy focuses on three key areas- friendship, managing conflicts, and creating shared goals.
What Happens in a Gottman Method Couples Session?
The therapist meets first with the couple to assess the marriage. This may include asking them to discuss a topic over which they disagree.
Then, the therapist meets with each one individually and asks them to share their personal version of the history and the future of the relationship.
Together they will decide on the frequency of the meetings and the goals of treatment. Therapy sessions are always conducted with both partners present, and the therapist does not take sides or privilege secrets.
First, the couple will be asked to fill out and online assessment in their own time. Their response to these questions allows a trained Gottman Therapist to identify where the problems in the relationship lie.
The questions are formulated to give the therapist insight into the dynamics of the relationship so that he or she can guide the therapy sessions in the direction that the couple needs.
In the initial sessions, couples will learn about what are the components which have been discovered through research, that are essential to building and maintaining healthy relationships.
They will then be given simple exercises to do which will build their respect and fondness for each other. As therapy progresses, the couple will learn practical skills such as getting over arguments, making up, and how to respond positively rather than negatively.
They will be asked to practice exercises both in the session and at home. The couple will be encouraged to learn more about each other. By knowing the innermost hopes, fears, and desires of their partner they can build a stronger empathy and desire to make the relationship work. The therapist will teach them interactive skills which they will be able to use to maintain the relationship functioning after therapy has finished.
How successful is the Gottman Method?
If the couple is committed to improving their relationship the Gottman method works. Both people need to be open and honest about their goals and aims and have a genuine desire to make the relationship better.