“Even in stable, happy relationships: When conflict begins with hostility, defensive sequences result” - John Gottman

Gottman Method for Couples and Marriages

spiral2grow, a leading provider of Gottman couples therapy method in New York City, has professionals that include licensed Gottman therapists and counselors, who are trained in the Gottman approach as well as its application in couples therapy. spiral2grow, located in midtown Manhattan at 260 Madison #8023, New York, NY 10016, offers the effective Gottman treatment for couples who are interested in healing, improving or rebuilding their relationship while learning healthy relationship skills.

Gottman Therapy for Couples

The Gottman Method, developed by John and Julie Gottman in the Gottman Institute, assists couples enhance their relationship by teaching them the foundation of relationship skills. The Gottman Method applies leading-edge research on relationship and marriage while using proven, practical and down-to-earth counseling. The approach to couples therapy has relied on comprehensive and long-term scientific study of why marriages succeed or fail.

Gottman Intervention is designed to help couples strengthen their relationships in main three areas: friendship, conflict management, and creation of shared meaning. Couples learn to replace negative conflict patterns with positive interactions and to repair past hurts. Intervention promotes increase closeness and intimacy are used to improve friendship, deepen chemistry and emotional connection, and create changes which enhances the couples shared goals.

How to keep your relationship strong by Gottman Method

    • Focus and change yourself. Avoid being critical , which lead to a greater level of relationship satisfaction.
    • Soften your “start up.” Arguments first “start up” because a spouse sometimes escalates the conflict from the get-go by making a critical or contemptuous remark in a confrontational tone. Bring up problems gently and without blame.
    • Accept influence. Accepting influence from your partner is a good indication of healthy marriage.
    • Have high standards. Happy couples have high standards for each other even as newlyweds. The most successful couples are those who, even as newlyweds, refused to accept hurtful behavior from one another. The more you can tolerate bad behavior in the beginning of a relationship, the happier the couple is down the road.
    • Learn to repair and exit the argument. Successful couples know how to exit an argument. Happy couples know how to repair the situation before an argument gets completely out of control. Successful repair attempts include: changing the topic to something completely unrelated; using humor; stroking your partner with a caring remark (“I understand that this is hard for you”); making it clear you’re on common ground (“This is our problem”); backing down (in marriage, as in the martial art Aikido, you have to yield to win); and, in general, offering signs of appreciation for your partner and his or her feelings along the way (“I really appreciate and want to thank you for.…”). If an argument gets too heated, take a 20-minute break, and agree to approach the topic again when you are both calm.
    • Focus on positives. In a happy marriage, while discussing problems, couples make at least five times as many positive statements to and about each other and their relationship as negative ones. For example, “We laugh a lot;” not, “We never have any fun”. A good marriage must have a rich climate of positivity. Make deposits to your emotional bank account.
    • Seek help early. The average couple waits six years before seeking help for marital problems (and keep in mind, half of all marriages that end do so in the first seven years). This means the average couple lives with unhappiness for far too long.

The Goal of Gottman Approach

The goals of the Gottman Method include increasing closeness and friendship behaviors, addressing conflict productively, and building a life of shared meaning together. The Gottman Method involves customizing principles from the research to each couple’s particular patterns and challenges. The goals of Gottman Method Couples Therapy are to disarm conflicting verbal communication; increase intimacy, respect, and affection; remove barriers that create a feeling of stagnancy; and create a heightened sense of empathy and understanding within the context of the relationship. The Gottman Method for Couples Therapy aim  to disarm improve communication, improve conflict resolution, increase intimacy, respect, and affection; remove barriers that create a feeling of stagnancy; and create a greater level of compassion within the context of the relationship.

Gottman therapy involves:

  • Sharing couples’ history their relationship philosophy and their goals for the for treatment
  • Undertaking an assessment of the marriage
  • Engaging in discussion of a topic on which partners disagree
  • Learning components of healthy relationships and dynamics
  • Providing deeper insight into why partners create the relationship dynamics they do
  • Strengthening the fondness and respect that originally brought partners together
  • Learning and practicing skills for each element of a good relationship, from developing trust, recovering from regrettable incidents to repairing aggressions and mistakes and other
  • Obtaining tools for checking and maintaining relationship health
  • Coaching interaction skills

Sound Relationship House (SRH)

The Gottman Method is an approach to couples therapy that includes a thorough assessment of the couple’s relationship and integrates research-based interventions based on the Sound Relationship House Theory (SRHT).

    • Gottman method couples therapy is based on the Sound Relationship House (SRH) theory. John Gottman is his research found out that successful couples work on three levels: one, sustaining romance through friendship, two, managing conflict well, and three, creating shared sense of meaning.
    • In addition, the partners minimize criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling.
    • The couples are, also, able to provide to the relationship more positives than negative, in a ratio of at least of five positive to one negative.
    • The Sound Relationship House is subdivided into seven domains:
    • Love map: The love map is a road map of one’s partner’s inner psychological world. In this case, each partner acknowledge and validate the other partner’s internal word.
      Lack in this area occurs when couples become distant from one another.
    • Fondness and admiration: Fondness and admiration is the antidote for contempt. By voicing and expressing feelings of care and respect to the partner the couples create a culture of appreciation, affection, and respect. .
      Instability or lack in this area results in loneliness, a sense of invisibility, and feeling of being uncared for.
    • Turning toward: Successful couples turn toward when bids for emotional connections are made, which is also called building the “Emotional Bank Account.” Turning toward takes place when one partner make a bid of connection and the other responds back in a positive way.
      Couples may also turn away or turn against to distance themselves.
    • Positive sentiment override: In this case, the tendency of each partner is to interpret neutral statement of the other as positive.
      On the other way, when couples are distant or hyper-vigilant and negative interpretation takes place. In this cased, individuals see they see their partner as an adversary, not a friend.
    • Managing conflict and solving problems: Couples need to identify the core issues and the anatomy of repeating negative cycles in their relationship. In that regards, healthy couples are successfully negotiating problems to establish win-win resolution.
      To be able to resolve problem successfully, couples must develop skills such as: soft start-up, repairs, self-soothing, accepting influence and ability to compromise.
    • Make life dreams and aspirations come true: Couples at that domain honor each other’s dream, support them in pursuing it. This includes having fun, creating adventure and pursuing passion.
    • Creating shared meaning: A relationship involves building a life together, and that life is full of meaning. Partners explore roles, values and symbols that give the couples shared meaning and fulfillment.

Gottman’s Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is a metaphor depicting the end of times in the New Testament. They describe conquest, war, hunger, and death respectively. We use this metaphor to describe communication styles that, according to our research, can predict the end of a relationship. Being able to identify the Four Horsemen in your conflict discussions is a necessary first step to eliminating them and replacing them with healthy, productive communication patterns. Here they are:

1. Criticism:
Attacking your partner’s personality or character, usually with the intent of making someone right and someone wrong:

Generalizations: “you always…” “you never…”“you’re the type of person who …” “why are you so …”

2. Contempt:
Attacking your partner’s sense of self with the intention to insult or psychologically abuse him/her:

– Insults and name-calling: “bitch, bastard, wimp, fat, stupid, ugly, slob, lazy…”
– Hostile humor, sarcasm or mockery
– Body language & tone of voice: sneering, rolling your eyes, curling your upper lip

3. Defensiveness:
Seeing self as the victim, warding off a perceived attack:

– Making excuses (e.g., external circumstances beyond your control forced you to act in a certain way) “It’s not my fault…”, “I didn’t…”

– Cross-complaining: meeting your partner’s complaint, or criticism with a complaint of your own, ignoring what your partner said

– Disagreeing and then cross-complaining “That’s not true, you’re the one who …” “I did this because you did that…”

– Yes-butting: start off agreeing but end up disagreeing

– Repeating yourself without paying attention to what the other person is saying

– Whining “It’s not fair.”

4. Stonewalling:
Withdrawing from the relationship as a way to avoid conflict. Partners may think they are trying to be “neutral ” but stonewalling conveys disapproval, icy distance, separation, disconnection, and/or smugness:
– Stony silence
– Monosyllabic mutterings
– Changing the subject
– Removing yourself physically
– Silent Treatment

Remedies and Repairs for the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Learn to make specific complaints & requests (when X happened, I felt Y, I want Z)

Conscious communication: Speaking the unarguable truth & listening generously

Validate your partner (let your partner know what makes sense to you about what they are saying; let them know you understand what they are feeling, see through their eyes)

Shift to appreciation (5 times as much positive feeling & interaction as negative)

Claim responsibility: “What can I learn from this? ” & “What can I do about it?”

Re-write your inner script (replace thoughts of righteous indignation or innocent victimization with thoughts of appreciation, responsibility that are soothing & validating)

Practice getting undefended (allowing your partner ’s utterances to be what they really are: just thoughts and puffs of air) and let go of the stories that you are making up


Feeling Stuck? Let Us Help
Why wait any longer? What could be more important than saving your relationship? It’s time to move forward and make your relationship what you know it could be. Let us help.

By taking the first step, you’re one step closer to a new and empowered you, set on a positive path to growth and well-being. With world-renowned expertise from the Gottmans, you’re in the right place.

Read more about other approaches for couples therapy and individual counseling in NYC.

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Book a Consultation

For an appointment
Call: 917 - 692 - 3867
Email: info@spiral2grow.com

15-minute FREE
Request a FREE Phone

Request now

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