My Account
0

An Introduction to the Gottman Method of Relationship Therapy

The Gottman Method has helped thousands of couples have the relationship that they want with better communication.

Share this post:

Today on The Gottman Relationship Blog, we’d like to share an article from our friends at GoodTherapy.org, an organization dedicated to “Helping People Find Therapists & Advocating for Ethical Therapy.” The following article does an excellent job summarizing our research and approach to couples therapy. Embedded within the article, we have provided links to previous blog postings so that you can refer to our prior writings and navigate specific topics we have discussed with ease. We hope that today’s posting can serve as a resource for you to refresh your memory as we move into new territory next week! See the original article here.

An Introduction to the Gottman Method of Relationship Therapy

By Kate McNulty, LCSW, Gottman Method Topic Expert Contributor
May 30, 2013 

John Gottman, a Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Washington, entered the field of psychological research with a background in advanced mathematics and statistical analysis. In the course of his 40+ year career he has developed mathematical models, scales, and formulas to identify the elements of stability in relationships and the interactive patterns that cause couples to divorce. Gottman was drawn to this research topic due to his own puzzlement at how people develop happy relationships.

Gottman’s studies pointed to relationship difficulties caused by the “Four Horsemen,” named after the famous Albrecht Durer engraving Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

These factors predictive of divorce include:
1. Criticism of the partner’s personality
2. Defensiveness
3. Stonewalling, or refusing to interact
4. Contempt

Couples who function effectively treat each other with consideration, and are supportive of each other.

The goals of the Gottman Method include increasing closeness and friendship behaviors, addressing conflict productively, and building a life of shared meaning together. The Gottman Method involves customizing principles from the research to each couple’s particular patterns and challenges.

The Seven Principles include the following concepts:

Build Love Maps: This refers to an ongoing awareness of our partners’ worlds as they move through time: how they think and feel, what day-to-day life is like for them, and their values, hopes, aspirations, and stresses.

Express Fondness and Admiration: Couples who function well are able to appreciate and enjoy most aspects of each partner’s behavior and learn to live with differences.

Turn Toward One Another: Conversational patterns of interest and respect, even about mundane topics are crucial to happiness. Couples who turn toward successfully maintain a 20:1 ratio of expressing interest or acknowledgment vs. ignoring conversational gambits. This is referred to as the “Emotional Bank Account.” Couples who are highly successful keep a 5:1 ratio in conflict discussions, even Turning Towards while arguing.

Accept Influence: Members of a couple who take the other partner’s preferences into account and are willing to compromise and adapt are happiest. Being able to yield and maintain mutual influence, while avoiding power struggles, helps couples keep a balance of power that feels reasonable and builds trust.

Solve Problems That Are Solvable: Couples who can find compromise on issues are using five tactics. They soften start up so the beginning of the conversation leads to a satisfactory end. They offer and respond to repair attempts, or behaviors that maintain the emotional connection and emphasize “we/us” over individual needs. They effectively soothe themselves and their partner. They use compromise and negotiation skills. They are tolerant of one another’s vulnerabilities and ineffective conversational habits, keeping the focus on shared concern for the well-being of the relationship.

Manage Conflict and Overcome Gridlock: The Gottman Method helps couples manage, not resolve, conflict. Conflict is viewed as inherent in relationship and doesn’t go away. Happy couples report the majority of their conflicts, 69% are perpetual in nature, meaning they are present throughout the course of time and are dealt with only as needed. These recurrent themes become part of the couple’s shared landscape and are kept in perspective, not dwelt upon.

Create Shared Meaning: Connection in relationship occurs as each person experiences the multitude of ways in which their partner enriches their life with a shared history and helps them find meaning and make sense of struggles.

Gottman is profiled in Malcolm Gladwell’s bestseller Blink for his ability to predict a couple’s likelihood of divorce with 94% accuracy after just a few minutes of observation. Psychotherapy Networker, a professional journal, recognized Gottman as one of the ten most influential therapists of the past 25 years.

______________________________ 

Find a Therapist!
The Gottman Referral Network (GRN) is the primary resource for couples worldwide who are seeking professional help from Gottman-trained therapists. GRN members have received training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy, an approach based on 40 years of research with thousands of couples. Free to access, this database puts you directly in touch with experienced clinicians who use Gottman relationship-building techniques.

GRN therapists are equipped to provide support to couples, individuals, children and/or families on many issues in addition to couples therapy, including anxiety, depression, addictions, trauma, abuse, blended family issues, and more. Therapists listed in our network are licensed mental health professionals who work independently from their own private practice offices.

Share this post:

Ellie Lisitsa is a former staff writer at The Gottman Institute. She holds a PhD in Clinical Psychology.

Recommended products

Gottman Relationship Adviser Product Image, two faces touching at the noses

Original price was: $250.00.Current price is: $179.00.

Our Best prices of the year on the Gottman Relationship Adviser. 

Celebrate Dads this month.

Sale Ends Soon!

The Gottman Relationship Adviser is a complete approach to relationship wellness. Measure your relationship health with the research-based Gottman Assessment, analyze five key areas of your partnership to identify your strengths and weaknesses, then start a tailored, step-by-step digital program proven to heal and strengthen your connection—all on your schedule and from anywhere.

The Adviser uses the legendary scientific Gottman Method to help you understand what’s really going on in your relationship—and gives you exactly what you need to improve it.

Original price was: $119.00.Current price is: $79.00.

Research-based Foundations for a Lifetime of Love.  The Gottman Relationship Coach is an inspiring and educational multimedia experience designed to enhance the well-being of relationships. Participants will be guided through research-based tools and communication skills that can transform relationships—all based on the popular Gottman Method. The first program, “How to Make Your Relationship Work”, is now available and includes:

  • The Gottman Method and How to Make Your Relationship Work
  • How do we predict the future of a relationship?
  • How to build a Sound Relationship House
  • What to do when the destructive Four Horsemen enter your relationship

“Buy Now” will take you to GOTTMAN CONNECT to purchase and view this product.

$599.00

Created by “the Einstein of Love” (Psychology Today), this two-day workshop is grounded on what actually works in relationships that are happy and stable. See for yourself why millions of couples worldwide have benefited from the Gottman Method.

Quote from participant in most recent Live Virtual Workshop:

The Art and Science of Love workshop- where do I begin? It was an absolute stellar workshop. We were looking forward to this for weeks, and it exceeded our expectations! It was well-structured, and well-organized, and provided a wealth of information with real-time demonstrations of how to work through specific scenarios. The outstanding support that was provided throughout the exercises with therapists on standby- WOW! Priceless!

Includes the Art & Science of Love box set.  Please allow time for shipping.  Please Note: This is a live online event. To attend, you will need a reliable internet connection. Our staff will reach out to you with your personal registration and access information.

$30.00

Improve your relationship in 30 days! Backed by over 50 years of research, the 30 Days to a Better Relationship challenge will help you reconnect with your partner and bring more positivity into your relationship. The tools and exercises, delivered once a day for 30 days by email, build on one another and take five minutes or less to complete.

 

Related posts

Eating disorder

When Food Hurts Relationships

The Gottman Institute

Learn how eating disorders can disrupt and bring distance between partners ...

Read More

Counseling

When Is It A Good Time To Seek Counseling?

Terri Ammirati

Here are the red flags that signal it’s time to get help ...

Read More

Couples Therapy

What to Expect When You Go to Couples Therapy

Dana McNeil

See how Gottman assessments get to the root of your communication issues ...

Read More

Gottman Concepts Kids

Making Gottman Concepts Teachable for Kids

Scott Jones

Help kids connect with their peers using Gottman-based exercises ...

Read More

Finding Harmony in Relationship

Finding Harmony in Relationship Conflict

Robyn Blake-Mortimer

Can a Gottman therapist help these musicians sing the same tune? ...

Read More

The Grief of an Affair

Jinashree Rajendrakumar

Your partner cheated. Now what? ...

Read More

Subscribe to Gottman Love Notes

Sign up and start your relationship transformation. Subscribe and get the latest on relationships, therapy, and much more from the experts. Includes a free download and access to special pricing on Gottman products every month