Couples Counselling using the Gottman Method

Some of our Waypoint Counsellors use the Gottman Method when providing couples therapy.  The Gottman Method to couples counselling is an evidence-based, research-backed therapeutic approach that helps couples regardless of what stage their relationship is in.Gottman counselling

Couples Counselling: What Happens?

Initially, a couples counsellor will do a relationship assessment. The couple will describe the current relationship status with the counsellor.  Then, in separate meetings with the counsellor,  each partner will meet and talk about the pressing issues individually.

After this assessment , the counsellor will have a good idea about which area of the relationship to focus on in couples counselling and what interventions will be the most helpful.  Any questionnaires and their results will be reviewed and feedback will be provided by the therapist.  One of three relationship areas may be “targeted” as needing attention with deliberate efforts to improve. These areas may be either the relationship “friendship”, conflict-management, or creating shared meaning and purpose.

Any interventions are then specific to improving that relationship aspect. Interventions are carefully selected to replace any negative habits and patterns and repair any past and lingering emotional hurts.  To improve the marital “friendship”, interventions are designed to amplify intimacy and closeness, in efforts to deepen emotional bonds and connections.

Couples Counselling: The Goals

In a nutshell, the goal of couples counselling is to work at improving communication patterns, increase intimacy, enhance feelings of respect and affection, and increase empathy and understanding in the relationship.

Gottman describes nine features to a healthy relationship.  The details of these will be described on the next blog:

  • building love maps
  • share fondness and admiration
  • turn towards instead of away
  • positive perspective
  • manage conflict
  • realizing life dreams
  • create shared meaning
  • trust
  • commitment

How to find a Couples Counsellor:

Selecting the right therapist to discuss your relationship issues is very important. The “right fit” is essential in building trust for each person in a relationship.  At Waypoint, we can help you find the right counsellor.  You can select your own by choosing one from our list of team members, or you can contact us directly to discuss what you are looking for in a counsellor.  Every counsellor offers a free 30 minute session to meet with them to determine if the fit is right for you.

Stay tuned for the next installment on the Gottman Approach!

Photo credit: Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash