Gottman Method Couples Therapy?!
Gottman Method Couples Therapy is a couples therapy and marriage counseling approach that our team uses with the vast majority of couples that walk through the door. And we stick to this approach because it’s one of (if not the) most effective couples counseling approaches that currently exists. *Some might argue, but the research speaks for itself.
Okay, couples counseling using Gottman Method – what can we expect?
Well, I’m happy you’ve asked. You can expect:
- structure, initially, that shifts into more fluidity
- informal and formal assessment (initially) to get to the root of the problems
- a clear and thorough understanding of what is going wrong within your relationship
- a clear and thorough understanding of what is going right within your relationship
- to talk to your partner and not use your counselor as a middle person
- to have deep, meaningful conversations about a variety of topics
- to put in the work outside of sessions (counseling isn’t a magic pill and work has to be done between the hour per week you see your counselor)
Why is Gottman Method any better than something else?
It’s better because it takes couples counseling to the next level. When people come in for couples counseling, they’re typically stuck in some sort of ongoing conflict or really struggling with communication (i.e. feeling heard or understood by their partner). And there are plenty of counselors who get caught up in the argument or in the communication issues, but don’t actually get to the root of what’s going on. Here’s an example.
Partners A and B come into couples counseling in Columbia, Mo and they’re arguing about money. In fact, they’ve been arguing about money for the past 10 years. They’re increasingly angry and resentful and feel more and more misunderstood. They don’t understand why their partner can’t just see their side and they’re reaching the end of their tether with it. Money is on both of their minds on an almost daily basis, and they can’t stop thinking about how frustrated they are and how hopeless they feel.
Okay. So. Counselors without additional training or experience working with couples will probably try to talk more about money and solve the “issue” at hand. They’re likely to ask questions about negotiating on spending and saving, and figuring out a way forward with the “issue.” On the surface, this seems like it would make sense. But it’s wrong.
The reality is that this couple isn’t having an argument about money. They’re arguing about the meaning of money, they’re arguing about their fears of not having enough, or their disdain for people who have excess, or their messages they internalized about money as children, or their despair from struggling to survive as children and going without getting their basic needs met, or their discomfort with transitioning from having too little to have too much – the argument isn’t about money. Money is just a symptom of the bigger conversation that needs to be had.
Those bigger conversations are what we specialize in. We help people fully understand their stance and their partner’s stance before we try to resolve anything. Without a thorough assessment, then we’re doing a disservice to our clients, period.
And, lest you think we stop there, we then pull it back to the “issue” at hand and figure out what compromise looks like. But we’re doing it in such a way that you’re, ideally, not going to be having that same argument again and again and again without deeper understanding of your own needs and your partner’s needs. All of it is important. Not just figuring out how to budget or spend, but deeper understanding coupled with the logistics of the issue – we do it all.
What do couples counseling sessions look like?
Well, my good friend, I’m glad you’ve asked. Here’s the breakdown of the first three sessions.
80-85 minutes; informal assessment; followed up with a relationship checkup, which is a more formal assessment
110-115 minutes; two 55(ish) individual interviews
80-85 minutes; feedback and treatment planning
*Between sessions two and three, your counselor consolidates all the information that’s been gathered and develops a feedback “report” of your relationship and a treatment plan
Sessions Four and On
50-55 minutes or 80–85 minutes (client choice and dependent on the relationship); solely focused on interventions, enhancing communication, working through conflict, and deepening your connection
And that’s it! Well, technically, that’s just the start of it. There’s loads that happens during and after, but above is just the basic outline of the first few sessions. Really, we just want you to have an idea of what to expect.
Couples Counseling using the Gottman Method approach sounds like what I need. Now what?
Now you simply click the button below to submit your information and ask any questions you might have. We’re happy to get all questions answered and want you to know what to expect.