Are you currently looking for a Certified Gottman Couples Therapist to use research-based approaches to help your relationship?
The Gottman Institute is seeking couples to participate in an international outcome study on Gottman Method Couples Therapy.
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 in our COVID-19 world and what helps couples cultivate a healthier relationship in couples therapy.
Costs and Compensation for Your Participation:
Cost for Your Participation While all of the studies Dr. Gottman did during his tenure as a professor were funded with federal grants, funding for research on couple relationships is not currently available. Despite this, we still believe work needs to be done. As part of your participation in this study, we are asking you to pay the Certified Gottman Therapist session fee. 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.
We attempt to provide some help to couples and therapists by providing all assessment 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. This is an average savings of $450 (Therapist’s standard session rates still apply and limited space is available).
Additionally, you will receive a $100 Visa gift card ($50 per partner) after the final 6-month follow-up assessment is filled out.
Do you qualify for the study?
- Couples must be presenting for couples therapy
- Couples must be married or in a committed relationship
- Couples have not worked with a Certified Gottman Therapist before
- Couples must not be actively participating in couples therapy with another therapist at the time of applying
- Each individual must not be attending their own individual therapy or counseling. If you are, you must be willing to cease services prior to starting to work with your couples therapist for the duration of your participation in the study.
In deciding to participate in this study, you agree to the following:
- In light of COVID-19 and social distancing, you are likely to be paired with a Certified Gottman Therapist that is offering teletherapy only. In-person therapy services will depend on location and therapist availability**
- You will be randomly assigned to either:
- An immediate treatment group
- Or a 3-week waitlist group (this timeframe is 3 weeks after both partners complete an online assessment). For this group, you will be given Gottman assessments to complete while you wait for your first session.
- You agree to repeat Gottman Connect assessment questionnaires at 3 time points during the study. These assessments will be provided to you at no additional cost**
- Every fourth therapy session, you will be asked to fill out a quick (5 minute) survey about your experience in therapy that only the research team will see.
Do you live in a qualifying location?
Couples must be willing to travel to see a therapist located in one of the following cities.
Couples may also opt to see a therapist for telehealth services within the states listed. This works for couples who want to do so for health reasons or for couples who live farther from the city the therapist is located in.
Qualifying locations are predetermined by the therapist license.
|California||Alameda, Costa Mesa, Pleasanton, San Carlos, San Diego, San Jose|
|Illinois||Bannockburn, Downers Grove, O’Fallon, Vernon Hills|
|Pennsylvania||Bryn Mawr, Cranberry Township, Haverford|
|Texas||Fortworth, Friendswood, Georgetown, Kingwood, San Antonio|
|Utah||Salt Lake City|
|Washington||Everett, Kennewick, Mercer Island,|
|Queensland||Brisbane, Gold Coast|
We have received questions about the design of this study and why there is a cost to participants. To be transparent and acknowledge that we hear you, we want to explain the research and reasoning behind this important study.
If you have more questions about the study, please contact Research@Gottman.com.
About the Therapy During The Study
Frequently Asked Questions
Since therapists are from all over the world, we cannot post a clear fee. Once you apply to participate in the study, we will inform you of a possible Certified Gottman Therapist and their session rates before we schedule a screening call to share more information about the study. Most therapists charge rates consistent with the average rates in their area.
Yes. Some but not all Certified Gottman Therapists offer a reduced rate for this study. We do offer this to participants who are often marginalized in couples therapy research including BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, low socioeconomic status, disabilities (visible and invisible), etc., to better represent the effectiveness of The Gottman Method for relationships that are not often represented in research. The Gottman Method Couples Therapy has already been established as an Evidence-Based Treamtment for Same-Sex Couples. When responding to the application verification email for the study, please indicate you are interested in the reduced rate.
Yes. Some but not all Certified Gottman Therapists accept insurance. The remaining therapists may be able to offer a Superbill that you can submit to insurance. We would recommend checking with your provider about what they do cover. When responding to the application verification email for the study, please indicate that you are interested in being connected with a therapist who takes insurance and we will do the best we can to find you one.
The reason we need you to cease individual and/or group therapy is because it would confound the results of the study. If you are seeing an individual therapist, going to family therapy, or group therapy, we would not be able to say with confidence that The Gottman Method Couples Therapy is what improved the relationship and individual wellbeing. For this reason, we ask that you not participate in any other forms of therapy if you choose to participate in this study.
You may resume those services once you complete treatment which is decided by you and your assigned Certified Gottman Therapist. You can attend individual and group therapy between the end of treatment and the 6-month follow-up assessment. It is okay for this study to continue to see a psychiatrist for medication.
There are three parts to our answer based on the current literature regarding research on couples therapy. The current research design was approved by an Institutional Review Board.
Part A: The cost.
Most couples therapy research studies are done in university settings in a controlled environment with the benefit of grant funding to allow the cost of therapy to be free. While there is grant funding in other countries for couples therapy, we have not received funding for this research study because there are no funds offered for couples therapy studies at this time in the United States. Not to mention, with a sample size of 120 couples, by far the largest study on couples therapy to date, that would be a very large grant. Despite this, we feel there is still more research needed. In our part to reduce cost, we do offer the assessments for free which is a $475 value. Some of our Certified Gottman Therapists offer sliding scales and insurance (see the section above).
Part B: The Therapist
Most couples therapy studies are completed in controlled conditions such as a university setting with student therapists under a supervisor who may watch the session live (Christensen, et al., 2005). When a couple sees a therapist in their office, there is no supervisor watching every second of the session. The difference in this study is that the counselors being seen are not students but fully licensed therapists who are specifically trained to work with couples using the Gottman Method.
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of Gottman Method Couples Therapy with couples seen in typical therapy offices. Previous studies on the effectiveness of couples therapy indicated that interventions need to be stronger to effectively help couples. This study requires that participating therapists be Certified Gottman Therapists. A Certified Gottman Therapist has completed three levels of training in Gottman Method couples therapy, had multiple videos of their work scrutinized by Master Trainer Gottman Therapists, and passed a video review process demonstrating that they can effectively use Gottman interventions with couples. There are currently only 411 of therapists that meet these qualifications in the world. By agreeing to participate as a therapist in this study they have agreed to follow the Gottman Method protocol by using the appropriate interventions at the appropriate time during treatment.
Part C: Efficacy Studies In University Settings Do Not Translate to Real Therapy Offices
The efficacy studies in university settings fail to reproduce similar results in a naturalistic setting such as a typical therapy office (Halford, Pepping, & Petch, 2016). Again, this has to do with supervision as well as the type of therapist being studied.
We also know that the screening procedures of university-based outcome studies often include a population that is only 0.5 standard deviation below the mean, meaning they are slightly unhappy (Gottman & Gottman, 2018). However, many couples starting couples therapy are 2.5 standard deviations below the mean indicating high levels of distress (Gottman et al., 2020). This highlights that the university-based outcome studies don’t include the kinds of couples seen in a typical therapist office. Our data from 40,681 couples starting couples therapy indicate that over 80% of couples about to start therapy have serious problems with both conflict and intimacy (Gottman et al., 2020).
Furthermore, the university based studies on the effectiveness of couples therapy screen out many couples who struggle with substance abuse, bipolar, and personality disorders (Baucom et al., 2009; Christensen et al. 2010.). Our data indicates that these struggles are the norm and we need to learn how to help couples with these challenges in a therapy office.
Baucom, B. R., Atkins, D. C., Simpson, L. E., & Christensen, A. (2009). Prediction of response to treatment in a randomized clinical trial of couple therapy: A 2-year follow-up. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 77(1), 160–173. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0014405
Christensen, A., Atkins, D. C., Baucom, B., & Yi, J. (2010). Marital status and satisfaction five years following a randomized clinical trial comparing traditional versus integrative behavioral couple therapy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78(2), 225–235. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0018132
Christensen, A., Baucom, D. H., Vu, C. T.-A., & Stanton, S. (2005). Methodologically Sound, Cost-Effective Research on the Outcome of Couple Therapy. Journal of Family Psychology, 19(1), 6–17. https://doi.org/10.1037/0893-318.104.22.168
Gottman, J., & Gottman, J. (2018). The science of couples and family therapy: Behind the scenes at the love lab. W. W. Norton Company, Inc.
Gottman, J. M., Gottman, J. S., Cole, C., & Preciado, M. (2020). Gay, Lesbian, and Heterosexual Couples About to Begin Couples Therapy: An Online Relationship Assessment of 40,681 Couples. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, jmft.12395. https://doi.org/10.1111/jmft.12395
Halford, W. K., Pepping, C. A., & Petch, J. (2016). The Gap Between Couple Therapy Research Efficacy and Practice Effectiveness. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 42(1), 32–44. https://doi.org/10.1111/jmft.12120