What is the Gottman Method?
The Gottman Method is a specific approach to couples therapy. It begins with a detailed assessment of the relationship. You’ll start by coming together with your therapist to answer questions. Then each of you will have an individual interview with the therapist. Sometimes both partners also complete online questionnaires.
The assessment process is certainly helpful for your therapist to gain information about the relationship and how best to help you and your relationship. However, it’s also helpful for you. It’s really the start of the therapeutic process. As you share your story – together and separately – you begin to gain insight into the bigger picture of your relationship. You get a chance to see where you are, how you feel about things, and what you’d like to see change in the relationship. Telling your story helps you get clearer on what that story is. In other words, the assessment itself is therapeutic.
Of course, the assessment is just the beginning. It helps determine where the therapy goes from there. Your therapist will share with you their feedback about where your relationship is strong and where it needs work. They will also give you a sense of how therapy can help that work to happen, what the priorities will be, and some sense of how long it might take.
You’ll work together in therapy to address three core aspects of your relationship:
- The friendship between you and your partner
- How to better manage conflicts in your relationships
- Ways to create shared meaning to strengthen the relationship
Through a wide variety of techniques and exercises, you’ll work on deepening your friendship and intimacy, handling conflicts in better ways, and healing the past, and working towards a shared sense of your future together.