The Gottman Institute is seeking couples who would like to participate in a Gottman Method Marathon Therapy study. There are limited spots available. Marathon Couples Therapy is a dynamic alternative to traditional weekly therapy sessions.

You will be able to work with a skilled, compassionate Certified Gottman Therapist either online via HIPAA compliant telehealth or in-person. Your participation in this study will not only help your relationship, it will also help us understand what couples are experiencing today and what helps couples cultivate a healthier relationship in couples therapy, as well as provide a more solid empirical foundation for the future of intensives and “mass and fade” marathon-style couples therapy.

What is Gottman Method Marathon Therapy?

Marathon Couples Therapy is 15-20 hours of therapy offered for three to four consecutive days.  You will have time to talk in depth about the struggles and challenges of the relationship that simply cannot happen in the traditional, extremely brief and fragmented style of couples therapy that is usually done an hour or so at a time. There is time to process past injuries that have never healed, and time to understand how these injuries have impacted the relationship. There is time to learn and practice new communication skills to help you have more productive conversations. There’s time to rebuild.

The therapist will provide an environment of safety for both partners. You will be treated with dignity and respect, without judgment, throughout the process. Couples who have experienced this form of therapy usually describe it as life-changing and transformative.

Marathon Couples Therapy offers some practical benefits as well. It’s a good fit for couples who want intensive therapy but don’t live in the vicinity of a Certified Gottman Therapist. It’s also a good fit for couples whose schedules do not allow for them to go to weekly therapy sessions. And finally, it’s a great fit for couples who need to get help immediately.

It is important, however, that you also understand the risks involved. Despite the “nuts and bolts” approach of this method, the Marathon Couples Therapy format may move you more quickly and intensely into the areas of difficulty to be addressed. Therefore, you and/or your partner may experience uncomfortable feelings like sadness, guilt, anxiety, anger, loneliness, and helplessness. Your therapy may also involve recalling unpleasant aspects of your history together and/or individually. This is done to heal injuries and strengthen the relationship.

Upon completion of the Marathon Sessions, you will complete around seven additional 90-minute follow-up sessions spaced out every three to four weeks. This is the “fade” portion of the “mass and fade” approach and supports the relationship in continuing to utilize the skills learned in Marathon Therapy and helping the changes made, last.

A Roadmap of Gottman Method Marathon Couples Therapy

After you’ve applied for the study, we will schedule a screening with you to ensure eligibility. Following that, we will match you with a Certified Gottman Therapist with whom you will be able to have a free consultation. The consultation would allow you the opportunity to assure a good fit with the therapist prior to your investment in your relationship.  If you decide to move forward, you will go through the following steps:

Pre-Therapy Questionnaire:

  1. Pre-Therapy Questionnaire: Complete an extensive questionnaire on your relationship at least seven days prior to your first Marathon Session. 

Marathon Day 1: 

  1. Assessment Phase: Complete an in-depth Gottman assessment of your relationship that includes exploring your relationships history, your individual histories, and a scientific evaluation of your relationship based on the original Gottman Love Lab assessment using a platform called Gottman Connect. Our comprehensive relationship assessment will pinpoint the areas in which you can achieve the greatest growth so you can move forward to a place of strength, reconnection, and hope.

Marathon Day 1-3:

  1. Treatment Phase: The Certified Gottman Therapist will provide specific interventions to support your relationship in moving forward. The treatment phase starts on the second half of day 1 through day 3. 

Post Marathon Questionnaire:

  1. Post-Therapy Questionnaire: Complete an extensive questionnaire on your relationship at maximum seven days after your last Marathon session. You will also complete a brief questionnaire about your experience in therapy that the therapist will not see. 

Follow-Up Sessions: 

  1. Relapse Prevention: You will complete seven or so 90-minute follow-up sessions after Marathon Therapy to help solidify the changes made in Marathon. These 90-minute follow-up sessions are spaced out every three to four weeks.

Follow-Up Questionnaire: 

  1. Post-Follow-Up: Complete an extensive questionnaire on your relationship before the seventh session. This assessment will be used to show you how your relationship has changed from the start of Marathon Therapy to now. The Certified Gottman Therapist will also highlight strengths and continued opportunities as you move into the 6-month evaluation. 

Six-Month Follow-up:

  1. Six months after you completed your last session, you will be sent your final questionnaire for the study. This will need to be completed within two weeks and you may want to schedule a final session with your Certified Gottman Therapist so they can highlight how changes have stayed and offer any final guidance as you wrap up participation in the study and move forward.

The Marathon Study: Cost and Compensation for Your Participation

Why there is a cost for participation: While all of the studies Dr. Gottman did during his tenure as a professor were funded with federal grants, grant funding for research on couple relationships is not currently available. Despite this, we still believe more research needs to be done, and we are very excited about the potential and future of marthon-style therapy. As part of your participation in this study, we are asking you to pay the Certified Gottman Therapist session fees. We wish we could provide treatment to couples in our studies at no cost and pay the therapists providing these services, we simply don’t have the funds to do so.

How we are working to make participation more affordable: While we aren’t able to cover the cost of session fees, we are able to provide free access to tools and cutting-edge assessment technology, which helps to enhance treatment and reduce the costs of providing care at this level. Most therapists participating in this study are also volunteering to provide reduced rates specifically for study participants, allowing you to receive care from highly-trained and in-demand therapists at a lower cost than is available to the general public. Between the tools and assessments we are able to provide at no cost, and the reduced rates many of our therapists are offering specifically for study participants, we have been able to reduce the cost of participation, making this treatment more affordable for you and your partner.

You Pay:

  • Therapy session fees (exact rate varies per therapist). Most of the Certified Gottman Therapists in this study are offering reduced rates for their Marathon sessions to support this research and make treatment more accessible and affordable for you.

We Provide (Valued at $1,570):

  • Assessment questionnaires at no charge ($450 value). The Gottman Institute does provide some help to couples and therapists by providing all Gottman Relationship Checkup questionnaires at no charge. As compensation, couples will meet with a Certified Gottman Therapist and receive access to the new Gottman Connect assessment and an interpretation of the results that your therapist will go over with you.
  • Comprehensive relationship assessment ($600 value). Couples that participate in Marathon Couples Therapy Study receive a scientific evaluation of their relationship based on the original Gottman Love Lab assessment, using a platform called Gottman Connect. Our comprehensive relationship assessment will pinpoint the areas in which you can achieve the greatest growth so you can move forward to a place of strength, reconnection, and hope.
  • Gottman Relationship Builder ($520 value). You will receive a free copy of The Gottman Relationship Builder after treatment to support you in utilizing the skills learned in session at home.

Do you qualify for this study?

To qualify for this study, you must…

  • be presenting for relationship challenges
  • be married or in a committed relationship
  • not have worked with a Certified Gottman Therapist before
    • Working with a Gottman-trained therapist is okay. Many therapists have received Gottman training, but only about 400 at this time have received formal Certification and the highest level of training available. If you are unsure if a therapist you’ve worked with is certified, you can check the Gottman Referral Network for their training level (if they are actively listed), or otherwise, you can inquire about their status at [email protected].
  • not be actively participating in couples therapy with another therapist at the time of applying, or during the course of the study (during treatment and a period of 6 months post-treatment)
  • not be attending individual therapy or group counseling. If you are, you must be willing to cease or pause services prior to starting to work with your couples therapist for the duration of your participation in the study (during treatment and a period of 6 months post-treatment)
  • not be struggling with an active addition (substance or sexual)
  • not be having an ongoing affair

In deciding to participate in this study, you agree to the following:

  • You may be paired with a therapist that is offering teletherapy. In-person services will depend on location and therapist availability. We have a list of locations available (see below), and when you apply, we will also provide an updated list of the location of therapists licensed to work in your state or area. In most cases, in-person therapy is up to you. You may choose to travel to a work with a therapist in-person, to do therapy online, or a combination of the two, if you’d like to travel to do the three-day intensive marathon in-person and then do the follow-up sessions online. If you choose to travel, you will be responsible for traveling expenses. 
  • You agree to complete thorough assessment questionnaires at 4 time points during the study. These assessments will be provided to you at no cost and you and your partner can also access a Couples Report based on your results to get an updated summary of how things are going, and how your Strengths and Weaknesses have shifted (hopefully improved!)
  • At the end of treatment, you will also be asked to fill out a brief survey about your experience.

Do you live in a qualifying location?

We have participating therapists in the following locations.

Both in-person and telehealth options are available, as well as a combination of the two.

You may participate in-person with therapist if there if one available near you in one of the cities listed.

You can also opt to see a therapist online via telehealth if you live in any of the states listed (note that you must still work with a therapist who is licensed to practice within the state you live in). Telehealth may be especially convenient if you live quite a ways away from an available city, or if you live in a state for which there are no available therapists practicing in-person.

As mentioned previously, if you prefer, you can travel to a participating city to participate in the initial several days of marathon therapy in-person, and then opt to continue the following weekly sessions via telehealth.

*There are telehealth options available for all states listed below. In-person services may be available in the cities listed, if you live nearby or are willing to travel.

United States
States (available for teletherapy)Cities (available for in-person therapy)
CaliforniaAlameda, Grass Valley, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Torrance, Costa Mesa
District of ColumbiaWADC
MarylandGaithersburg, Lutherville
NevadaLas Vegas
New Hampshire
New JerseySpringfield
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
OregonHappy Valley, Portland
Rhode Island
South Carolina
TexasAustin, Kingwood
VirginiaCharlottesville, McLean
WashingtonBellingham, Edmonds, Seattle, Lynnwood, Vancouver
West Virginia

Country (available for teletherapy)Cities (available for in-person therapy)
AustraliaGlenside (South Australia)
CanadaCalgary (Alberta)
ChinaHong Kong
North HollandAmstelveen