Gottman Couples Therapy
Why do some relationships succeed, while others seem doomed to fail, even when they are plagued with identical problems? Three decades ago, Dr. John Gottman of the University of Washington set out to find the answer.
Gottman set up a comfortable apartment lab at the UW and equipped it with video cameras. He asked couples to come live there for a short period of time and be video taped in their interactions with one another under everyday circumstances. The Love Lab, as it was dubbed by the fellow researchers although the bedroom remained private and camera-free, provided Gottman and his research partners a unique opportunity to study both the evident and the extremely subtle ways couples attempt to communicate with one another.
Through the studies, the researchers found they were able to predict with over 90% accuracy which couples would eventually divorce. Then, moving beyond predicting, they began to discover the crucial elements in a couple's interactions that led to either the success or failure of the relationship.
The results of Gottman's research led to the development of a practical, down-to-earth
approach to couples therapy that strengthens happy relationships and supports and repairs troubled ones. No other approach to couples education and therapy has relied on such intensive, detailed, and long-term scientific study of why marriages succeed or fail.
The therapy is based on improving the couple's friendship with one another by helping them build the general positivity that is essential to ensure lasting change in the relationship. Also incorporated into the approach is Gottman's belief that all individuals are capable of and deserving of compassion, and that compassion must begin with ourselves.
With the emphasis on their friendship as the foundation of their relationship, couples also learn how to foster respect, affection, and closeness; generate greater understanding between one another; keep conflict discussions calm; and break through and resolve conflict gridlocks.
I have been practicing Gottman Couple’s Therapy since my Gottman Institute Training in 1998, and find it to be a remarkably effective method for helping couples in all stages of relationship. It is particularly rewarding to assist couples in turning back toward one another, restoring trust, and deepening their relationships to unimagined levels.