As a Gottman therapist, the goal is to help couples build and maintain a strong, healthy relationship. The Gottman Method is a research-based approach to couples therapy that focuses on building a strong emotional connection between partners. A Gottman therapist is trained to use this method to help couples improve their communication, increase their understanding of each other, and strengthen their emotional bond. Here are some of the key things that a Gottman therapist does:
1. Builds a strong therapeutic alliance
One of the most important things that a Gottman therapist does is to build a strong therapeutic alliance with the couple. This means creating a safe and supportive environment where the couple feels comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings. The therapist works to establish trust and rapport with each partner, and to create a sense of mutual respect and understanding. This is essential for creating a foundation for effective therapy.
2. Helps couples identify their strengths and challenges
A key aspect of the Gottman Method is helping couples identify their strengths and challenges. A therapist will work with the couple to identify areas where they are already doing well, and where they can build on their strengths. They will also help the couple to identify areas where they are struggling, and to develop strategies for addressing these challenges.
3. Teach couples communication skills
Communication is key to a healthy relationship, and a Gottman therapist will teach couples communication skills that they can use to improve their relationship. This includes skills like active listening, expressing feelings and needs, and using "I" statements instead of "you" statements. The therapist will also help the couple to identify communication patterns that are causing problems in their relationship, and to develop strategies for changing these patterns.
4. Helps couples manage conflict
Conflict is inevitable in any relationship, but it's how couples manage conflict that can make or break a relationship. A Gottman therapist will help couples to identify their conflict styles and to develop strategies for managing conflict in a healthy way. This includes teaching couples how to take a break when emotions are running high, how to compromise, and how to repair after a conflict.
5. Uses assessments to guide therapy
The Gottman Method uses a number of assessments to help guide therapy. These assessments are designed to help the therapist understand the couple's strengths and challenges, and to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to their specific needs. A Gottman therapist will use these assessments to guide therapy, and to track the couple's progress over time.
6. Helps couples build a strong emotional connection
At the heart of the Gottman Method is the idea that a strong emotional connection is essential for a healthy relationship. A Gottman therapist will help couples to build this connection by teaching them skills like empathy, emotional attunement, and turning towards each other instead of away. The therapist will also help the couple to identify ways to deepen their emotional connection, such as spending quality time together, expressing appreciation and gratitude, and engaging in shared activities.
7. Encourages ongoing growth and development
Finally, a Gottman therapist will encourage ongoing growth and development in the couple's relationship. This means helping the couple to set goals for their relationship, and to work towards these goals over time. It also means teaching the couple how to continue to strengthen their relationship outside of therapy, by practicing the skills they have learned and continuing to prioritize their relationship.
Overall, a Gottman therapist is a skilled and compassionate professional who is dedicated to helping couples build and maintain a strong, healthy relationship. By building a strong therapeutic alliance, helping couples identify their strengths and challenges, teaching communication skills, managing conflict, using assessments to guide therapy, building a strong emotional connection, and encouraging ongoing growth and development, a Gottman therapist can help couples create a relationship that is fulfilling, supportive, and long-lasting.