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Gottman Method

What Is The Gottman Method?

Connection lies at the heart of all romantic partnerships. However, over time we may fall into habits that slowly erode the affection, respect, and empathy we once had. When we neglect the relationship, communication breaks down, contempt grows, and we gradually drift apart.

The Gottman method is a couples therapy modality developed by Drs. John and Julie Gottman, renowned psychologists in the mental health field. Known for its evidence-based, scientific approach to therapy, the Gottman method was developed using data collected from over 40 years of extensive research. In 1996, the Gottmans went on to open the Gottman Institute, a pivotal resource for clinical professionals and couples seeking an evidence-based approach to couples counseling.

John Gottman is recognized for the research he conducted at his “Love Lab” at the University of Washington in 1986. Based on key observations he made of a couple’s interactions, he was able to predict with 90 percent accuracy whether they would go on to divorce or remain married. This was when he developed the “The Sound Relationship House” framework. [1] 

How The Gottman Approach Works

The Gottman method provides couples with practical, evidence-based interventions in easy-to-follow steps to nurture a healthier relationship. The Sound Relationship House is a symbolic example of the components of a strong, healthy relationship that contains seven pillars:

  • Building love maps – maintaining awareness of your partner’s world
  • Nurturing fondness and admiration – making deposits into the “emotional bank account”
  • Turning towards each other instead of away – accepting bids for emotional connection
  • Maintaining a positive perspective – reframing negative interactions as opportunities for growth and focusing on solutions rather than problems
  • Managing conflict – accepting influence from your partner and being open to compromise, taking turns listening to one another about perpetual issues, and using self-soothing techniques
  • Making life dreams come true – finding ways to support each other’s life goals and dreams
  • Creating shared meaning – building a mission and legacy as a couple

The Gottman method also identifies the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse—criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. [2] For example, when contempt seeps into a relationship, behaviors such as eye-rolling, scoffing, or looking down at your partner have the potential to erode the bond between you.  A Gottman-trained therapist helps you recognize these communication patterns and replace them with healthier strategies.

After leaving the first session, your therapist will provide you with on-the-spot tools and techniques that you can then practice at home. Through developing the layers of the Sound Relationship House, couples will nurture friendship, maintain a positive perspective, manage conflict by avoiding the Four Horsemen, honor each other’s life dreams, and create meaning within their relationship.

Who Can Benefit From Gottman Method Couples Therapy?

The research and efficacy of the Gottman method of couples counseling is effective for every kind of monogamous couple and every sexual orientation. Gottman method counseling provides practical strategies to help couples strengthen their relationship, whether they want to prepare for marriage, improve communication, reduce conflict, overcome trust issues—such as infidelity or addiction—, navigate emotional and sexual intimacy concerns, or address other challenging life transitions. Couples who engage in the Gottman method will develop skills that not only improve their relationship, but also benefit them in other areas of life such as communication, conflict resolution, and emotion regulation.

The length and frequency of treatment will be determined collaboratively between the therapist and the couple. Specific interventions and goals will be selected and utilized from each layer of the Sound Relationship House framework to build the relationship that clients long for.

Examples of some commonly-utilized Gottman method marriage therapy interventions include:

  • The Gottman Conflict Blueprint
  • The Gottman Rapport Intervention
  • The Art of Compromise
  • The Four Horsemen: The Antidotes
  • Dreams Within Conflict
  • The Gottman Repair Checklist
  • The Guided Relaxation Exercise
  • Aftermath of a Fight or Regrettable Incident
  • The Gottman Love Map Exercise, and
  • The Stress-Reducing Conversation

Additionally, the Trust Revival method is used to help couples recover from infidelity and betrayal. These steps include atonement, attunement, and attachment. Utilizing the Trust Revival method after a betrayal will help couples stabilize their relationship. These interventions allow you to heal conflict in the moment.

There are numerous completed studies based on John Gottman’s research about predicting whether or not a couple will divorce. [3] Further, his development of the Gottman Method ensures that even if a couple has a high probability of divorce, they have an opportunity to mend their relationship. By following the steps that a Gottman-trained therapist pinpoints for them, couples can decrease the negative behaviors and patterns that predict divorce and replace them with habits that promote connection.”

Our Background In Gottman Relationship Therapy

As Gottman-trained therapists, we appreciate that the qualities that constitute a healthy relationship are now grounded in science. The Gottman method offers concrete, evidence-based treatment that couples can learn in therapy and then practice at home. Provided they put in the work, they will see results. In couples therapy, we typically combine the Gottman method with Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), another evidence-based modality that focuses on strengthening the emotional connection between partners. These two modalities complement each other well and provide couples with everything they need to thrive.

At Select Counseling, we strive to promote the most scientifically proven modalities and approaches to couples therapy. Using the concept of the Sound Relationship House, the Gottman approach defines every aspect of a healthy relationship along with an easy road map to follow.

Find Out How The Gottman Method Can Help Mend Your Relationship

Because your relationship with your partner is so valuable, finding a therapist with the right skills and training is an important investment in your future happiness. To find out more about Gottman Method couples therapy online with Select Counseling, please contact us.

[1] https://www.gottman.com/blog/what-is-the-sound-relationship-house/
[2] https://www.gottman.com/blog/the-four-horsemen-recognizing-criticism-contempt-defensiveness-and-stonewalling/
[3] https://www.gottman.com/about/the-gottman-method/
[3] https://www.gottman.com/about/research/couples/

You may not know which modality is best for you, that’s why we’re here.

Give us a call at 410-949-1238 and we will be happy to assist you.