relationship therapy

You are looking for a marriage counselor and you are not sure how to discern who can really help you. You may have heard of EFT, Solution Focused, Gottman and PACT, but you are not sure how they differ and how you can benefit from each style of therapy. Gottman Marriage Counseling may be more effective, depending on your needs.

Dr. John Mordechai Gottman has been scientifically studying couples for 40 years to determine what makes a successful (and unsuccessful) relationship.

Background on Gottman Marriage Counseling

Gottman Couples Therapy focuses on strengthening three areas of relationships: friendship, conflict management, and creation of shared meaning.

Friendship is important because it lays the foundation for the couple’s commitment, trust and sexual intimacy. For example, couples who ask questions about their partner’s day, dreams and fears will build a strong relationship.

Gottman couples therapy teaches couples how to “disarm conflicting verbal communication, increase intimacy, respect, and affection, remove barriers that create a feeling of stagnancy in conflicting situations, and create a heightened sense of empathy and understanding within the context of the relationship”.

Dr. Gottman found when couples created shared meaning through rituals, goals and visions they had a stronger relationship. All relationships need to be careful that you do not build your relationship on washing dishes, paying bills and taking care of the children.

Is The Gottman Method Effective

Research has been done to determine the effectiveness of the Gottman marriage counseling approach. The findings found that the Gottman marriage counseling improved marital relationships by helping couples “develop problem-solving skills. These skills make couples more flexible in their relationships and help them achieve a high degree of emotional stability and a peaceful life”. In addition, the “Gottman approach increased couple’s intimacy and joy through helping them to engage in positive interactions and respect for each other’s ideas and to use proper methods of discussion.”

Gottman’s Sound Relationship House

Gottman marriage counseling is based on Gottman’s Sound Relationship House. Building a “house” has all the necessary components of what makes a successful relationship. Whether you are building an actual home or a home with your partner, it takes time to prepare, plan and construct, money for all of the supplies and labor, and mental and emotional energy to create your dreams. Gottman used the house metaphor to show the necessary aspects of a successful marriage: trust, commitment, love maps, fondness and admiration, turn toward instead of away, positive perspective, manage conflict and life dreams and shared meaning.

7 Principles of Successful Relationships

Elements of the house can also be found in John Gottman’s 7 Principles of Successful Relationships:

  1. Love Maps-How well do you know your partner? Do you know their fears, what makes them happy and how to care for them?
  2. Nurture Fondness and Admiration-Increase your appreciation and gratitude for each other. Having a positive view of your partner will go a long way.
  3. Turn Toward and Away-In a fight, do you try to connect and work out the issue or call each other names and/or leave your home?
  4. Let your partner influence you-Do you make decisions together? Do you consider each other when making a decision or make it on your own, even if it impacts both of you?
  5. Solve your solvable problems-couples have issues that are solvable and perpetual. The perpetual problems are more difficult to solve, but at the bare minimum, work on the problems which you can resolve.
  6. Overcome gridlock- Perpetual problems are usually unfulfilled dreams that you feel stuck  and go round and round about. See if there’s a part of the issue that you can address and resolve.
  7. Create shared meaning-You can develop small and large rituals that will create connection and bonding with your partner. For example, daily, you take turns with your partner making coffee and breakfast. An example of a larger ritual is your partner and you host the Holiday dinner every year.

Gottman marriage counseling will help you resolve issues and address gridlock issues in your relationship. You can find ways to feel appreciated and loved and nurture your intimacy. Gottman marriage counseling will teach you skills and tools to solve your solvable and perpetual problems.

Lisa Rabinowitz, LCPC is a licensed counselor in the state of Maryland.  She is a Certified Gottman Couples Therapist and PACT Level 3 Candidate. If you are looking for a scientifically proven approach to couples therapy, then reach out for a 30 minute free private consultation to learn more about Gottman marriage counseling.

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