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.
In his extensive career, Dr John Gottman developed mathematical models, scales, and formulas to identify the elements of stability in relationships and the interactive patterns that cause couples to divorce. We now know what makes relationship work and not.
Here are some fun and not so fun facts.
Dr John Gottman has completed over 12 longitudinal studies with over 3000 couples, the longest period couples were followed up was 20 years.
The 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse, criticism, defensiveness, contempt, and stonewalling predict early divorcing. When the 4 horsemen are present without an effective repair attempt, couples divorce an average of 5.6 years after the wedding.
February has been known as the romance month since well before the 5th century. The holiday has origins in the Roman festival of Lupercalia, held in mid-February. The festival celebrated the coming of spring, and included fertility rites and the pairing off of women with men by lottery, resulting naturally in a glut of newborns arriving during the weeks leading up to Christmas. At the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius I, concerned about the growing size of the lower classes, forbade the celebration of Lupercalia.
The notion was revived however in the 14th century by none other than Geoffrey Chaucer. He wrote a 699 line poem called ‘Parliament of Fowls’ about a group of birds that gather together in the early spring on ‘seynt valentynes day’ to choose their mates for the year.
By the 17th century enterprising young flower sellers (think Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady) were calling to young men in the marketplace to ‘Trap your lady’s heart with flowers on Saint Valentine’s day, sir – primroses two bunches a penny!’ And by the end of that century industrious printers had begun creating commercial Valentine’s Day cards to accompany those flowers.
It only took 300 years to turn Valentines day into the $60 billion dollar business we know it as today. All for one day of the year!
But here’s the thing, Gottman demonstrated clearly in his research that in happy, satisfying, successful relationships romance is a daily occurrence.
One of the most difficult emotions to deal with in couple therapy is contempt. Feelings of superiority, self-righteousness, and a lack of empathy can quickly escalate conflict and lead to gridlock. It can be expressed as sarcasm, put downs, sneering, eye-rolling and of course swearing, name-calling and yelling.
If you suspect that contempt is an issue in a couple's relationship, there are a few things you can do to help them manage it. First, help them to understand what contempt is and why it's so harmful to their relationship. Dr John Gottman demonstrated in seven different studies that he could predict with 93% accuracy which couples would be separated within three years just based on the amount of contempt present during a 10 minute conflict conversation.
Gottman Relationship Therapy has grown in popularity over the last 40 years, internationally and now here in Australia - and there are very good reasons for this. It is one of, if not the most, research-based methodology for couple’s therapy.
Gottman Therapy involves personalising the principles from the Sound Relationship House Theory to each couple’s unique interaction patterns, issues and challenges.
Assessment-Understanding your unique couple story
Gottman Therapy has a strong focus on assessing and understanding the presenting and underlying issues that couples bring to therapy. Gottman Therapists ensure a thorough assessment is completed to gain a clear understanding of the couple’s history, strengths, weaknesses and treatment goals.
RIA is Australia’s lead agency that offers Certified Gottman Methods Couple Therapy training for professionals. We have delivered over 90 Gottman Training programs and trained over 1500 professionals in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and the USA. RIA begins and finishes your Gottman professional development journey offering all three levels of Gottman training, professional supervision, and consultation to become a Certified Gottman Therapist.
Currently across the world, there are 26 Master Trainers and Consultants in Gottman Therapy. This group has honed their craft over many years and lead Gottman training across all levels. Fortunately, in Australia RIA has the two Master Trainers and Consultants, John Flanagan and Trish Purnell-Webb.
Is it too early to start hoping that we are finally coming out of two years of mask wearing, lock downs, isolation, limited travel, and holidays? The pandemic came with a high toll for individuals, relationships, families, and communities across this country. All this compounded by recent devastating flooding with many communities declared disaster zones has certainly added to a growing experience of feeling overwhelmed, stressed and anxious, stretching our reserves of resilience. Below we share three sensible and practical activities to use during your Easter break to restore resilience in your relationship when both of you are feeling fatigued or depleted.
Activity 1: Be on each other’s team
The Stress Reducing Conversation is a wonderful way to turn towards your partner ...
Gottman Relationship Therapy has grown in popularity over the last 40 years, internationally and now here in Australia - and there are very good reasons for this.
It is one of, if not the most, research-based methodology for couple’s therapy. It is well credentialed with studies using randomized clinical trials being published in the Journal of Family Therapy and the Journal of Family Psychology endorsing the effectiveness of the Gottman method.
More and more couples are looking towards this approach to help them with their relationship struggles, but how does one know the level of Gottman expertise and training their relationship therapist has?
There is a world of difference between a therapist using some Gottman techniques and having a rudimentary understanding of Gottman theory and practice - compared to specifically being taught through the different levels of Gottman training and the journey in becoming an endorsed Certified Gottman Therapist.
So here are three questions (and their answers) to ask your potential relationship therapist about their expertise in Gottman Therapy.
The iconic Australian songwriter Paul Kelly wrote,
“Little decisions are the kind I can make, Big resolutions are so easy to break”.
The waters are yet to calm on the COVID 19 landscape; certainty and predictability still remain fragile commodities. As we enter 2022, it is the little decisions we can make that can provide more stability and direction for our future.
As you know the John Gottman mantra of ‘small things often’ is more important than ever as we contend with looking after our relationships, families, work and ourselves. Did you know that if the navigation calculations and trajectory were out by only .1 degree for the Apollo mission to the moon, the spacecraft would have missed the moon by 6709 km. Over time, little things become significant. Importantly this is true for both positive and negative acts.
So here are 5 practical ways to create small change across time in your relationship.
When childhood trauma presents as part of couple distress.
Imagine a couple in their late 40’s, they have teenage children. The presenting problem is described as a parenting problem. Helen (not her real name) reports that when the kids are arguing, yelling, playing loud music or rumbling – making thumping noises, Tony (not his real name) “over-reacts”.