Gottman Couples Therapy

The foundation of Gottman couples therapy is based on Dr. John and Julie Gottman’s 40+ years of clinical experience and research that is based on interventions and exercises that are structured, goal-oriented and scientifically-based.

What some of the research has shown is that couples need to be able to work on becoming better friends, learn to manage conflict, and create ways to support each other’s hopes for the future.

9 Components to Gottman Therapy

There are 9 key components of healthy relationships which therapists and this model tend to focus on. These 9 copponents include:

  • building Love Maps
  • Sharing fondness and Admiration
  • Turning Towards your partner
  • having a Positive Perspective
  • Managing Conflict
  • Making Life Dreams Come Tru
  • Creating Shared Meaning
  • Having trust
  • Commitment

Understanding Lovemaps involves knowing the partners in the world, the history, their stresses, their worries and their joys and hopes. Sharing fondness and admiration focuses on increasing affection and respect.

Turning Towards involves connecting and responding to ones partner, while the Positive Perspective is having a positive approach throughout this process. The concept of Managing Conflict is important as couples will continue to engage in conflict, which is not a problematic thing, but it depends on how the couples conflict. All of this leads to helping individuals make their Life dreams come true, which then leads to creating shared meaning by living through these experiences.

All of this is under the umbrella and or walls of trust and commitment to the process and one’s partner.

4 Horseman

One of the other main concepts identified in Gottman’s couple therapy is the “4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse” of relationships.

These “4 Horsemen” are negative interactions that are highly predictive of relationship failure. These are:

  • Criticism
  • Contempt
  • Defensiveness
  • Stonewalling

Criticism involves a more global negative statement about one’s partner’s character or personality.

Contempt commonly involves statements that are either sarcastic or cynical. These also include name calling, eye-rolling, sneering or mockery and hostile forms of humor. Contempt is poisonous to relationships because it conveys disgust and ultimately leads to more conflict.

Defensiveness is when an individual does not back down or apologize for their behavior and tends to engage in defensive response which tends to feel like blaming. This escalates conflict.

Finally, Stonewalling is commonly experienced when these first three Horsemen occur over time which then leads to one partner tuning out in order to avoid the barrage of the three previous horsemen (commonly seen as disengaging or avoiding types of behavior).

Insight Psychological Features therapists specializing in Gottman Couples Therapy in our Edmonton, Calgary, and Red Deer locations. Contact us for more info.

Gottman Approved Therapists & Relationship Checkup

gottman certified

Insight Psychological is proud to feature Gottman™ approved Therapists in our locations. If you have been sent to this page by your therapist, please click here to login. For more information about taking the Gottman online relationship checkup please visit this page, or contact us for more info.