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  • Writer's pictureKylee Hamblyn

Why Gottman Method instead of other methods of therapy?

The Gottman Method for Couples Therapy is a researched and proven way to assess, help, and strengthen your relationship. I practice the Gottman Method because it resonates with me deeply and I have had personal success with it in my own relationship as well as a lot of success in supporting other couples to repair their relationships, sometimes rebuilding after trauma and betrayal.

Other forms of therapy can also help couples. The Gottman Method is certainly not the only way to improve relationships. Other forms of therapy such as Emotion Focused Couple's Therapy (EFT/EFCT), Imago Therapy as well as Narrative Couple's Therapy are all researched and effective therapies that help couples look at their relationship in different ways. However, I believe that the Gottman Method can help with more ease, detail, and productive relationship tools. Beginning at Session one when the Relationships Assessment begins before getting into therapy.

I have formal training in the Gottman Method whereas I do not have formal training in these other methods. I chose the Gottman Method because of the extensive research that the Gottman Insistute have put into their findings and method. Projects like the Love Lab gave soo much insight into where couples are going right and wrong in the way in which they interact with one another

Here's a breakdown of 4 Key Popular Methods of Couples Therapy and their differences.

Emotion Focused Couples Therapy

Emotion-Focused Couples Therapy (EFT/EFCT), is the study of Susan Johnson, who proposes that emotional closeness in the midst of all of life’s problems is the goal of relationships.

Sue Johnson and Les Greenberg developed the model by integrating individual and systemic theories, and by carefully observing what works in effective couples therapy. EFT uses an integration of attachment theory, experiential theory, specifically, person-centered therapy, and systems theory. Emotionally focused therapists focus on the emotional system, which includes both interpersonal (i.e., couple and family) and intrapsychic (i.e., individual) systemic processes.

In EFT/EFCT therapy sessions, the focus is on the couple’s present experiences and the therapist’s role is to emphasize the couple’s individual and collective attachment and relationship cycle which includes emotions, behaviors, and hopes that are spoken and unspoken.

Imago relationship therapy

Imago therapy addresses any behavioral concerns that couples may have, addressing childhood experiences that influence their relationships. The techniques are often combined with traditional therapy like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to examine the unconscious reasons behind choosing your partner. In this type of therapy, couples can examine how they relate to one another in caring, positive ways while the therapist looks at any conflicts as a means to a solution rather than a problem.

Imago relationship therapy suggests that directly targeting a relationship's most painful or distressing wounds, including those linked to substance abuse or eating disorders, is the most effective way to treat them. Partners can learn to discuss their past, identify negative thoughts, evoke deeper emotions, and problem-solving difficulties. The therapist can then offer support and help the couples develop solutions based on the lessons they learn from their conflict, employing solution-focused therapy techniques to increase and strengthen intimacy and improve communication.

Narrative Couples Therapy (NCT)

In Narrative Couple’s Therapy (NCT,) the focus of counselilng is re-authoring the pains and experiences that the couple has faced in their past. NCT advocates that we are part of stories and that these stories are being written (present-future tense), not that they have been written (past tense). Rejection of norms gives couples space to identify what story that they have been telling themselves in pain, conflict, triumph, and intimacy whereas there could be a stronger, safer, and structured narrative that could reframe problems into obstacles that the couple overcomes together. NCT also proposes that couples will find their "best selves" in the process of exploring their relationship's cohesive narrative. Differences in this therapy from the previous two therapies are that NCT focuses on the here and now, whereas the previous two focus on the history up until this point. By keeping the focus on positive perspectives within the relationship, identifying teamwork as well as internal resources that can be utilized for the sake of relationship health, growth, and new possibilities.

The Gottman Method of Couples Therapy

The Gottman Method of Couples Therapy is different than the other forms of therapy. The first difference you may notice when beginning therapy is that your therpist will spend the first 2 sessions getting to know your relationships as well as your individual worlds and background in as much depth as possible, You will also be assigned a Gottman Relationship Assesssment to complete in between session 1 and 2 which is designed to strategically highlight the relationships strength areas and areas of weakness before Therapy takes place.

Drs. John and Julie Gottman’s created the Sound Relationship House Theory which is based on over four decades of research with more than 3,000 couples. The Gottman Method proposes that there are two givens to any successful relationship: trust and commitment. Without these, a relationship won't get off the ground. After trust and commitment are in place (or are re-established after trauma, affairs, hurts) the couple has seven tasks: to know one another's inner world, have a sense of genuine appreciation and fondness based on what you know of your partner, that each partner in light of appreciating one another's perspective would ask for more of the other's perspective in their life. After this, there would be a focus on solving circumstantial problems through compromise and allowing for genuine dreams to be known and fostered amidst conflict. After couples have a sense of friendship and conflict management skills, they then work together to make one another's life dreams come true and be intentional with creating a culture of connection within their relationship that is purposeful. On top of all of this, communication tools that will help couples avoid common pitfalls and tap into emotional closeness, overcoming the ways that they have previously hurt one another. Couples know that they have completed therapy when their relationship is meaningful and valuable to them.

After therapy is officially over (and often during the course of therapy), the relationship is reassessed using the Gottman Assessment to document progress as a result of therapy.


Here are 3 Reasons Why I back The Gottman Method of Couples Therapy and believe it can help your relationship:

  1. GMCT has focused and intentional tools to help; the focus of therapy is not on communication loops but on giving you tangible do's and don'ts and tools to use in between sessions.

  1. GMCT naturally creates closeness and emotional connection between couples.

  1. GMCT helps couples bring the best parts of their relationship to focus while intentionally strengthening the weaker points for long-term stability; you don’t need to be in therapy to experience the benefits of therapy.

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