Gottman Method Couples Therapy

A Laboratory. For Love

Way back in the 1980s, mathematician and psychologist Dr. John Gottman persuaded the fine folk at the University of Washington to build a little apartment. A little place in the woods where couples could stay for the weekend, or a week or so, just hanging out and being themselves. Watching tv, reading, cooking meals, talking, laughing, arguing, fighting, etc. The catch was that it all had to be filmed. Often while attached to wires that monitored heart rate or stress level. It was all in the name of Science. And all with intent to understand what makes a relationship last.

The little apartment at the University of Washington came to be known as the Love Lab. Many couples who stayed there stayed many times, over the course of years. Sometimes decades. That’s pretty important. It’s important because while it would be interesting to observe a couple once in order to learn from them, it’s much more valuable to learn from many couples over time. And to compare them to each other, using lots of top-shelf mathematics. That’s not just interesting, that’s meaningful. That allows for longitudinal data, which is a fancy name for information collected through a series of repeated observations of the same subjects over an extended time. One thing this has helped us gain is a much better understanding of what couples who get on well with each other are consistently doing right. We can then turn to troubled couples and help them get it right too.

But I am not here to sell you on the value of longitudinal data. It’s only important because it has led to Gottman’s theory of the Sound Relationship House, which is what helps someone like me help someone like you.

The Sound Relationship House suggests that just as a house needs strong walls and a solid foundation before it can provide shelter and comfort, so does a relationship. Couples need a solid foundation of love and friendship, and walls made of trust and commitment. On this foundation and between these walls, the whole relationship is built. Establishing or restoring these is where counseling begins.

Now, the Gottman Method is just one of many ways to address challenges in a relationship. Other ways can be very successful as well. I was drawn to the method because it worked so well for my wife and me. While there is a lot of scientific data to support it, nothing beats personal experience.

More important than any method, though, is motivation. There must be a desire to see change, and to do the work that takes. If you would like to know more about how I will help you using the Gottman method, please head over to my contact page. I look forward to hearing from you.

~ Mike

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