16 Jun 2016

Can I save my marriage through couple therapy? 40-year research-based therapy for couples

“Love and marriage go together like horse and carriage” is a basic truth. True is also the fact that marriages in which love dried out are left without their horse, meaning their locomotive power.

 Marriage counselors seem to have a job nowadays more than ever.

Not all marriages are salvageable. In the process of marriage counseling, some couples may discover it is healthier for them to be apart. However, for those relationships that can be salvaged, and for those couples willing to commit to the process – as partners’ will is a decisive factor  – marriage counseling may be able to remind them why they fell in love and keep them that way.

What can be done, concretely, to save marriages in decline?

Two of the most famous marriage counselors who founded an effective therapy protocol that has been producing results for more than 30 years already are the couple formed by Dr. John and Julie Gottman: the Gottman Method® is a highly structured and goal-oriented form of marriage counseling therapy that is designed to help couples maintain healthier, lasting relationships.

The Gottman Method® was developed by Dr. John Gottman and his wife Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman in the 1980s. It is a highly scientific method in marriage counseling that strives to assist couples in achieving a deeper sense of understanding, awareness, empathy, and connectedness within their relationships that ultimately leads to better intimacy and interpersonal growth. By combining therapeutic interventions with couple exercises, this type of marriage counseling helps couples identify and address the natural defenses that hinder effective communication and bonding.

Couples who enter into the Gottman Method Couples Therapy® begin with an assessment process that then informs the therapeutic framework. An initial session might look like this:

Assessment: Individual interviews with each partner are conducted, followed by a joint assessment of the couple.

Therapeutic Framework: The couple and therapist decide on the frequency and duration of the sessions.

Therapeutic Interventions: An analysis of couple conflict is one example of a therapeutic intervention. The couple enacts a recent conflict and through observation, the therapist identifies the strengths and problems and implements interventions that aim to improve the couple’s communication. The therapist assists the couple in repairing the conflict.

Goals and Principles of marriage counseling within the Gottman Method

Drs. John and Julie Gottman developed nine components of healthy relationships, also known within the practice as the Sound Relationship House. These include:

• Building love maps

• Sharing fondness and admiration

• Turning towards (as opposed to turning away from each other)

• The positive perspective (seeing your partner as a friend, not an adversary)

• Managing conflict

• Making life dreams come true

• Creating shared meaning

• Trust

• Commitment

Who Can Benefit from marriage counseling in the Gottman Method?

The Gottman Method in marriage counseling is designed to support couples across all economic, racial, sexual orientation, and cultural sectors. Some of the relationship issues that may be addressed during the marriage counseling include:

• Frequent conflict and arguments

• Poor communication

• Emotionally distanced couples on the verge of separation

• Specific problems such as sexual difficulties, infidelity and parenting

Gottman was recognized in 2007 as one of the 10 most influential marriage counselors of the past quarter century. Romania is also represented in the Gottman Referral Network here:https://www.gottmanreferralnetwork.com/therapist/nadia-gorduza

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