Relationships are hard.
They are also a central source of strength, joy and growth in our lives.
By nature, most of us deeply desire love and belonging, and the majority of all people in Western cultures will marry, regardless of religion, race or ethnicity. While the power of romantic love is what usually inspires us to make this 50+ year commitment, the majority of couples soon learn that romantic love will not maintain the relationship’s stability over time. When babies are born, finances become strained, work seems all-consuming, or trust is compromised, conflicts arise that can sometimes feel impossible to resolve.
The good news is that it is possible to manage conflict together and to do so in a way that renews the feelings of closeness, friendship and love again. We help couples learn how to disarm conflict and get them started on making small daily contributions to the relationship that make a big difference in the feelings of closeness and caring for one another almost right away.
Goals and Principles of the Gottman Method
Decades of research in relationship psychology have revealed the keys to lasting happiness in love, including three core areas which we target in couples therapy:
1) Friendship, 2) Conflict Management, and 3) Shared Goals and Values.
Our couples therapists have completed all three levels of training in the Gottman Method- the most evidence based, effective therapy available for relationship improvement. Gottman therapy involves structured and solution-focused interventions that help couples deepen their emotional connection; replace negative conflict patterns with positive interactions; increase intimacy, respect, and affection; remove barriers that create a feeling of stagnancy; repair past hurts; rebuild trust; recover from affairs or infidelity; adjust to parenthood; increase sexual satisfaction and compatibility; and create shared goals and values.
Our aim is to help our couples experience an immediate increase in closeness and intimacy while building a solid foundation for happiness that lasts.
Why we’re different
Effective, Research-Based Methods ONLY
Your relationship is valuable. Our couples therapists have completed all three levels of post-doctoral training in the Gottman method and do not veer from this highly structured and well-researched method of therapy.
The Human Component
Therapy works best when you trust and feel comfortable with your therapist. We want you and your partner to both feel welcome and understood, and we love when our clients tell us that we’re easy to talk to, or that they look forward to coming in to see us. From the very start, our clients will see that couples therapy is different with us. We are not here to be the judge and jury, deciding who is right or who is wrong. Rather, we provide education about relationships and coach you as you practice new skills. Instead of taking sides, we guide couples through difficult conversations, turning what would have typically become a fight into a chance to see your partner’s heart and soul. We genuinely care about our couples and love this work, so we will be 100% with you, rooting for your relationship every step of the way.
Talking about tough topics with your spouse is never easy, but relationship repair depends on both partners feeling calm and heard. We take an active role in couples sessions to ensure that things remain calm and productive. This is not your unstructured therapy session where you come in with your partner, fight about a number of issues, and leave feeling bad. In Gottman therapy, you are here to learn and practice new skills that will continually move your relationship forward. When old habits like criticism or defensiveness arise, we will intervene and bring the conversation back on track. With some practice, couples are eventually able to adopt these new habits into their daily lives.
What to expect
The Assessment Phase
Gottman therapy begins with a four-session introduction and assessment phase:
- Session 1: During the first session, the therapist will meet with the couple to gather a history of the relationship and provide a basic introduction to the Gottman method of therapy. Both partners will also be asked to complete an online assessment which measures various aspects of relationship well-being after they leave. The assessment will be transmitted to the therapist when completed and she will score and interpret the results to consider in the treatment plan.
- Sessions 2 & 3: The therapist will meet with each partner individually to gather personal histories.
- Session 4: The therapist and couple will reconvene to discuss the results of the assessment. During this meeting, the therapist will provide a recommended treatment plan. Skills training and an initial intervention exercise may also be introduced.
The Therapy Phase
Once the assessment is complete, most couples return for weekly sessions over a period of two months or longer, depending on the presenting issues and goals for therapy. The frequency and duration of therapy sessions can be adjusted depending on a couple’s needs and availability. Therapy sessions are solution-focused and skills-based. Couples are provided with handouts and guided through structured exercises designed to bring them closer right away while also teaching practical skills they can maintain after therapy concludes.
Couples often find that the therapy experience is so positive for them that may come in for a “refresher” appointment at the 6-month, 12-month, and 18-month mark after regular therapy ends.
Couples who actively participate in Gottman therapy with one of our trained Gottman therapists can experience the following improvements in their relationship:
- Feel appreciation for and remember the qualities you admire in one another.
- Stop the “tit-for-tat” competition around “who did what.”
- Express empathy for each other’s struggles and better understand each other’s triggers and sensitivities.
- Use communication tools during disagreements that actually strengthen the relationship.
- Experience understanding and support from your partner.
- Give each other the benefit of the doubt (like you did when first dating).
- Rebuild broken trust.
- Improve your sex life.