Couple Therapy

John Gottman and the ideal method for an effective couples therapy

Published: 24 May 2022


The Gottman Method is an approach to couples therapy based on both scientific studies and clinical practice, developed by the Psychologist John Gottman together with his wife, the Psychologist Julie Gottman. 

Thanks to an extensive research carried out during more than 40 years involving over 3,000 couples, the Gottmans have been able to prove that negativity has a greater impact on brain compared to positivity; therefore, if a couple does not take prompt action to contrast negativity states, the relationship starts to emotionally wears out. 

Based on their studies, the Gottmans have developed a formula for an effective couples therapywhich allows partners to build healthier and long-lasting relationships. Their method can be applied to the first stages of marriage to educate partners, as well as to long-lived couples, to help them overcome chronic conflicts and restore a healthier relationship. 

Couples Therapy: how does en work?

The approach to couples therapy developed by John Gottman and Julie Gottman is based on interaction patterns and aims to cultivate empathy and understanding in the relationship, so as to allow partners to share fondness and mutual admiration in their marriage.  

After years of research aimed at understanding the key to long-lasting relationships of different kinds, the Gottmans have developed the theory of the Sound Relationship Houseincluding nine essential elements to build and support healthy relationships. 

 Tthe latter include:

  • Build love maps: focus on the partner's needs, values, past dreams, as well as present and future longings; 
  • Share fondness and admiration: share fondness and mutual respect, both through words and acts; 
  • Turn towards instead of away: show interest in the partner through daily small acts and acknowledge their efforts to connect; 
  • The positive perspective: allow positive feelings to prevail, even when conflict arises;
  • Manage conflict: manage communication effectively, make compromises, solve or de-escalate conflicts;
  • Make life dreams come true: mutually respect and support life dreams;
  • Create shared meaning: communicate effectively and share values and core beliefs;
  • Trust: acknowledge that each partner wants the best for the other, not only for himself/herself;
  • Commitment: firmly believe that the journey with the partner will be a life-long one.  

10 principles for doing effective couples therapy  

The Gottman Method also owns it diffusion to the book "Ten principles for doing effective couples therapy"written by John Gottman and his wife Julie Schwartz Gottman, and published by Norton. 

How to treat something that is so elusive, like a 'relationship'? How to understand the emotional experience of both partners when they show opposite points of view? What should be the first interventions to use in therapy? What should be explored exactly? Which questions should be asked? And how to have a scientifically based approach in therapy? 

These are just some of the questions that have been answered by the authors in this book, through practical examples and case studies, thus leading the reader through a journey into clinical practice. 

Couples therapy: do not miss the Gottman Method training hosted by ISC Training  

Helping more and more couples strengthen their bond and overcome difficulties is now possible thanks to ISC Training Dashboard. Sign up for our Level 1 online Training Course in the Gottman Method and learn the basics to effectively support any couples. 

By attending our online training, conducted by William Bumberry - Gottman certified Trainer and Supervisor - you can get CE/CPD hoursas well as all the necessary tools to help partners build and maintain a loving, healthy relationship in their marriage and family. 

From Friday, June 17th, to Sunday, June 19th, from 2pm to 6pm (CEST) on Zoom, participants will have the opportunity to integrate their knowledge on how to treat couples in distress with new assessment techniques and intervention strategies with proven effectiveness. 

Click here to find out the details of this digital event.

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