Gottman Method Couples Therapy

As utilised by Dr Katie Stirling
(Clinical Psychologist
& Couple Therapist
at Dennison Psychology)

The Gottman approach to couples therapy is a well-known approach, which is based upon 40 years of research into relationships, as well as clinical practice. The approach aims to help couples break through barriers, and improve the level of connection, understanding and intimacy within their relationships. The therapy is structured, scientifically-based, and goal-oriented. The interventions used in the therapy are based on research data, acquired through a study conducted by Dr Gottman on over 3000 couples.

The Gottman approach to couples/relationship therapy is designed to help partners:

  • Increase closeness, respect and affection
  • Increase understanding between partners
  • Break through and resolve conflict, when partners feel stuck
  • Keep calm when discussing conflict.

The Gottman Method Assessment Process

The Gottman method of relationship therapy begins with a 3 part assessment process. This consists of four 50 minute sessions, and a comprehensive set of questionnaires that each partner completes at home. The assessment process will provide a clear picture of your relationship, including the strengths and issues you bring into therapy, as well as an understanding of each of you as individuals.

Session 1: Understanding your relationship

In our first session, you and your partner will have the opportunity to share what has brought you to couples therapy and the history of your relationship. In order to understand how you currently deal with conflict as a couple, your psychologist will ask you to discuss a topic which you currently disagree on.

Following this session, each of you will be asked to complete an online set of questions about your relationship and your individual histories.

Session 2 and 3: Understanding you and your partner as individuals

Session 2 and 3 are conducted as individual sessions. These sessions provide an important opportunity for your psychologist to get to know you as an individual, and develop an understanding of how your background and past experiences influence your current experience of your relationship.

Session 4: Understanding the strengths of your relationship and areas you want to change

In session 4, your psychologist will share the understanding they have gained throughout the assessment process. Each member of the couple will share how this summary compares with their own experience of the relationship. You will discuss potential goals for your couples therapy that arise from this assessment and work together to develop a plan that is agreeable to everyone.

Booking your first four sessions

We recommend trying to book your first four sessions closely together. In our experience couples are usually eager to complete the assessment process quickly and begin working on their relationship. As our couple appointments generally fill quickly it is important that, at the time you make your first booking, you book in for the first four sessions. Click here to book appointments.

For Example:

  • Session 1: Tuesday 1st January 5pm – Alex and Sam
  • Session 2 and 3: Tuesday 8th January 5pm – Alex, 6:15pm Sam
  • Session 4: Tuesday 15th January 5pm – Alex and Sam

Please note that only session 2 and 3 can be completed on the same day.