Couple therapy

John Gottman and the ideal method for effective couple therapy

Published: 24 May 2022


The Gottman Method is a form of couples therapy based on scientific studies and clinical practice devised by the psychologist John Gottmantogether with his wife and psychologist Julie Gottman.

More than 40 years of research on a sample of more than 3,000 couples has enabled the Gottmans to prove that negativity has a greater impact on the brain than positivity and that, if action is not taken in time to counteract this state, the couple begins to emotionally consume itself.

On the basis of these studies, the Gottmans came up with the formula of a couples therapy which allows for healthier and longer-lasting relationships. A method that can be useful to educate partners in the early stages of a relationship, or help longer-lasting couples overcome chronic conflicts and restore a healthier type of relationship.

Couples therapy: how does it work?

The couples therapy proposed by John Gottman and Julie Gottman is based on the interaction patterns and aims to nurture empathy and the development of understanding in the coupleso that the partners can maintain mutual affection and admiration.

After years of research to understand how relationships of various kinds could achieve longevity, the Gottmans came up with the theory of the Solid Relationship House (Sound Relationship House)the set of nine elements useful for building and sustaining healthy relationships.

These include:

  • Building love maps: focus on the partner's past needs, values, dreams and present and future desires;
  • Sharing tenderness and admiration: the ability to show affection and mutual respect with words and gestures;
  • Turning to each other: showing interest in your partner through small everyday gestures and being able to recognise attempts at 'connection' on their part;
  • 'Positive outlook': the ability of the couple to let positive feelings prevail, even in conditions of conflict;
  • Conflict management: a skill that includes knowing how to manage communication, find compromise, remedy or defuse an argument;
  • Realising one's life dreams: in a couple it is important to respect and support each other's wishes;
  • Creating shared meanings: communicating and sharing one's values and beliefs;
  • Trust: the knowledge that each one wants what is best for the other and not just for oneself;
  • Commitment: represents the belief that the path taken with the partner is for life.

Ten principles for an effective couple strategy

The Gottman method also saw its spread thanks to the book "Ten principles for an effective couple strategy"written by John Gottman and his wife Julie Schwartz Gottman, published by Raffaello Cortina.

How to deal with something as elusive as a 'relationship'? How to understand the emotional experience of both partners when they report opposing viewpoints? In therapeutic work, what should be the first steps? What to investigate? What questions to ask? And how to provide a scientific basis for one's work?

These are some of the questions to which the authors, through concrete examples and studies, will provide answers, taking the reader on a journey through clinical practice.

Couples therapy: join the Gottman Method training with ISC Training

Helping more couples to strengthen their bond and overcome difficult moments is now possible thanks to ISC (Institute of Cognitive Science). Take part in our first-level online training on the Gottman Method and acquire the basics to provide concrete support to all types of couples.

With our accredited online training CME and conducted by Bill Bumberry, Trainer Gottman certified, you get the tools you need to help partners create and maintain love in the family unit and health in the relationship.

Friday 17 to Sunday 19 June 2022, from 14:00 to 18:00, on Zoomparticipants will have the opportunity to supplement their knowledge of treating 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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