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A Brief Introduction to the Gottman Method for Relationship Counselling

As an aspiring counsellor, understanding the various therapeutic approaches to counselling can help you determine when to best take advantage of each technique’s benefits. For example, if you are looking to pursue a career in relationship counselling, then becoming familiar with the Gottman Method may be an effective way for you to prepare for sessions with your future clients. This method has been proven to assist marital relationships while increasing intimacy and welcoming relational adjustments (Davoodvandi, 2018).

At Rhodes Wellness College, graduates of our Professional Counselling Diploma program develop high-level skills that help them launch successful careers while immersing themselves in various population groups. From family and relationships to trauma and abuse counselling, RWC graduates exhibit proficiency in extensive physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness services. Exploring relevant topics such as the Gottman Method can help you uncover what it means to assess the foundations of a relationship in order to encourage mutual understanding and growth from all parties involved. Continue reading to learn how you can implement this method into your future practice.

Relevance of the Gottman Method in Relationship Counselling

The Gottman Method is a research-based approach to relationships often used during relationship counselling that strives to connect partners more deeply and help them better appreciate one another while mitigating negative interactions (The Gottman Institute, 2022). John Gottman’s research has spanned well over 40 years, beginning with the discovery of consistent sequences that differentiated happy couples from those whose marriages would end in divorce (The Gottman Institute, 2022). From the 1970s through the 1990s, John Gottman and his colleagues, including his wife Julie, researched couples from all walks of life in order to develop a method for improving interactions between individuals in a relationship through positive interactions (The Gottman Institute, 2022). Through decades of research, John and Julie Gottman developed the Gottman theory, a way to determine how relationships function well or ultimately fail and what to do to facilitate change in these relationships through interventions (Gottman & Gottman, 2008). 

The Gottman Method is research-based and aimed at interventions to improve relationships.

The Seven Elements of the Gottman Method

The Gottman Method is based on the idea of a structural house made up of seven floors. Each of these floors acts as a foundational concept for couples to base their relationships on. The first three floors, dedicated to the instructions to build love maps, create fondness through affection in small, everyday moments, and turn toward one another instead of away, help couples set the scene for a deeper appreciation of one another (Gottman & Gottman, 2008). The next floor stresses the importance of not taking your partner’s negative actions personally, followed by the encouragement to voice complaints while establishing dialogue for a two-pronged approach to conflict resolution. Finally, the last two floors of the “sound relationship house” that round out this theory involve honouring one another’s life dreams and building a valued shared meaning system to deepen the connection (Gottman & Gottman, 2008). 

Relationship counselling using the Gottman Method can help clients reconnect.

Implementing this Method in Your Counselling Career

Many studies have now been conducted looking at the effectiveness of this method on different population groups. Couples from all walks of life, including various cultural backgrounds and sexualities, have been shown to benefit from working through this method as a team (Deylami, 2021).

After completing your relationship counselling training, you may be able to apply concepts from this method to your practice. The Gottman Method has been shown to be most effective for focusing on perpetual problems within a relationship, that is, problems that will always exist but may not always cause negative conflict when managed properly (Killoren, 2022). This method also may be utilized with clients who present the desire to separate or divorce and are giving their relationship another chance (Killoren, 2022). As a counsellor, you can lead your clients through each foundational aspect of the “sound relationship house,” helping them reveal deeper respect for one another while learning the communication tools and daily techniques needed to see progress. As one of the most well-known and extensively researched methodologies out there, this method will prove to be of great value to add to your practice after you earn your counselling diploma.

Interested in starting relationship counselling courses?

Contact Rhodes Wellness College for more information!

Works Cited

Davoodvandi, M. (2018). Examining the Effectiveness of Gottman Couple Therapy on Improving Marital Adjustment and Couples’ Intimacy. Iranian Journal of Psychology. Retrieved on October 3, 2022 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29997659/ 

Deylami, N. (2021). Evaluation of an Online Gottman’s Psychoeducational Intervention to Improve Marital Communication among Iranian Couples. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18(17). Retrieved on October 4, 2022 from https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/18/17/8945/htm 

Gottman, J. M., & Gottman, J. S. (2008). Gottman method couple therapy. Clinical handbook of couple therapy (pp. 138–164). Retrieved on October 2, 2022 from https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2008-09621-005 

Killoren, C. (2020). Gottman Method 101: History, Overview and How it Can Save Your Relationship. Relish. Retrieved on October 4, 2022 from https://hellorelish.com/articles/gottman-method-overview-history.html 

The Gottman Institute. (2022). Research. Retrieved on October 2, 2022 from https://www.gottman.com/about/research/

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