Relationship Institute Australasia

Counselling and
Professional Training

A Formulation HAC - By Advanced Gottman Clinical Trainer & Consultant John Flanagan

13 March 2024 / For therapists / Relationship Help

I have been struck over the years by both the courage and struggle couples experience in their relationships, inspired by their capacity to repair, forgive, reconnect and in awe of their abilities to rebuild when the obstacles seem overwhelming and insurmountable. Ordinary everyday couples do extraordinary things; healing the deepest wound, taking responsibility for betrayals, atoning and attuning with each other and eventually creating a safer, stable and connected future together.

Couple therapeutic practice is dynamic and continually evolving. Over the next series of RIA articles, I want to share with you some practice and training insights I have gathered while training over 2500 therapists in Gottman methods and completing over 12 000 hours in couple’s therapy. My hope is this series will support therapists in a very practical sense, sharpening assessment formulation, conceptualising couple repair through the repair continuum lens and finally exploring intervention to aid in deeper couple repair and healing.

The first article is the Formulation HAC- Healing the past, Attuning the Present and Creating the Future
The second article is the Repair Continuum- Creating a lens for therapists to distinguish between different relationship injuries and the repair interventions required for each.
The third article will take a deeper dive into Relationship Repair Interventions exploring repairs in motion, those small missteps in couple communication; Restorative Dialogue-an atoning conversation and finally we will discuss a couple’s Trigger Management Approach when old hurts, memories and triggers resurface.

View article

Wisdoms of Anatol Rapoport on Conflict and the Gottman Rapoport Conversation by By Advanced Gottman Clinical Trainer & Gottman Consultant John Flanagan

6 November 2023 / For therapists / Relationship Help / Relationship Institute Australasia

Sometimes we can feel in a perpetual conflict cycle in our relationships and lives, continuously reinforced when we turn on the news or open up social media. We are constantly presented with polar opposite perspectives and asked to take a side. This polarity creates deeper chasms in views and does very little to help build understanding of difference or encourage a curiosity of exploration and tolerance. We miss out on the depth and rich complexity when we narrow down our perspectives and actively exclude other views and opinions.

In relationship and in life there are fewer absolutes than what we imagine.

View article

Being a Gottman Method Couples Therapist - by Gottman Senior Trainer Trish Purnell-Webb

5 July 2023 / For therapists / Gottman Marital Therapy

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.

View article

An introduction to Gottman Method Couples Therapy

22 May 2023 / For therapists / Relationship Help / Relationship Institute Australasia

Gottman Method Couples Therapy is an evidence-based approach for working with distressed couples. This approach, developed by renowned relationship experts John and Julie Gottman, is designed to help couples increase trust, build understanding, and improve communication in their relationships.

The foundation of the Gottman Method of Couples Therapy is based on many years of research from the Gottman’s research centre known as the Love Lab. Through their work, they have identified the key components that can predict the success or failure of a relationship. They have divided these components into three main areas: friendship and connection, conflict management and creating shared meaning. Through their research, they have developed strategies to help couples in each of those areas.

View article

The Maths and Stats of Love - By Gottman Master Trainer John Flanagan

21 March 2023 / For therapists / Relationship Help / Gottman Marital 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.

View article

ROMANCE ❤️ - By Gottman Master Trainer Trish Purnell-Webb

31 January 2023 / For therapists / Relationship Institute Australasia / Gottman Marital Therapy / For Couples

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.

View article

Managing Contempt in Couple Therapy - By Gottman Master Trainer Trish Purnell-Webb

20 January 2023 / For therapists / Gottman Marital Therapy

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.

View article

What you can expect when you go to Gottman Relationship Therapy? By Gottman Master Trainer John Flanagan

23 September 2022 / For therapists / Relationship Help / Gottman Marital Therapy

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.

View article

Why train in couples therapy with Relationship Institute Australasia

12 April 2022 / For therapists / Relationship Help / Relationship Institute Australasia / Gottman Marital Therapy

 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.

View article

Working with Individual Clients presenting with Couple Problems.  By Trish Purnell-Webb -  Clinical Psychologist, Certified Gottman Therapist, Master Trainer & Consultant

3 February 2022 / For therapists / Relationship Help / Relationship Institute Australasia

When couples are dissatisfied in their relationship, couple therapy has become one of the most widely practiced interventions. The effectiveness of couple therapy has been demonstrated by several studies (Shadish Baldwin, 2003). and in systematic reviews. Lebow, Chambers, Christensen, and Johnson (2012) summarized research findings indicating that evidence based couple therapy improves relationship satisfaction for 71% of participating couples at the end of treatment.

While couple therapy has shown to be significantly more effective than individual therapy in addressing relationship distress (Barbato & Avanzo, 2008), many people who seek help for couple-related issues are treated in individual therapy.

There are several reasons for this. For example:
• One partner is reluctant to attend;
• One partner may be reluctant to invite the other partner;
• Therapists might recommend individual treatment if one partner demonstrates clinical issues such as substance abuse, depression, trauma, etc;
• Individual therapy may be the only format of therapy offered by the service provider (organisational EAP programs, or therapist is not trained in couple therapy)

The current research raises three major concerns about treating couple problems in individual therapy (Gurman & Burton,2014): ...

View article

Page 1 of 4 pages  1 2 3 >  Last ›


Thank you for your enquiry. We will get back to you soon.

Let's Talk

To best direct your enquiry, please fill out the following form, including a brief message. One of our relationship professionals will reply as soon as possible.

By submitting this form the information provided will be added to the RIA database and used to provide you with helpful hints on strengthening your relationship and advance notice on upcoming events and workshops in your state. All information will be kept private and not used in any way other than stated here.

If you require urgent assistance please call +61 7 5576 2633 or contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or

Subscribe to our mailing list

If you would like to receive more helpful hints and advance notice of upcoming events in your state, please provide your details here.

By submitting this form the information provided will be added to the RIA database and used to provide you with helpful hints on strengthening your relationship and advance notice on upcoming events and workshops in your state. All information will be kept private and not used in any way other than stated here.


This resource has been sent to your friend.

Send to a friend

Fill out the form below and we will send this page to your friend.

By submitting this form the information provided will be added to the RIA database and used to provide you with helpful hints on strengthening your relationship and advance notice on upcoming events and workshops in your state. All information will be kept private and not used in any way other than stated here.