The Gottman Method, developed by Dr. John Gottman and his wife, Julie Gottman, is a form of couple’s therapy that draws on building the elements that make a relationship last. The Gottman’s spent 40 years exploring these elements, regarding all types of couples, no matter which phase of life they are in. One major insight to this method is that negative emotions like defensiveness and contempt have more power to hurt a relationship than positive emotions can help a relationship. In a 2016 Business Insider article written by associate editor Rachel Gillett, it seems the most successful couples take elements from the Gottman Method.
Psychology Today notes that the method focuses on helping couples develop understanding and other skills so that each partner can maintain fondness and admiration of the other. The Gottman Method teaches people to lean on each other to get their needs met – especially in times of need, to manage conflict together, help each other when they make mistakes, and to follow their dreams. The Gottman Institute notes seven crucial principles that are typically shaped and customized to fit each couple’s patterns and challenges:
- Build love maps. This refers to the ongoing awareness of each other’s worlds as time goes on. This involves staying aware of how the other person thinks and feels, what daily life is like for them, and remembering their values, hopes, aspirations, and stresses.
- Express fondness and admiration. Successful couples can enjoy most aspects of each other’s behavior and learn to accept their differences.
- Turn towards one another. Couples who turn towards each other in conversation show interest and acknowledgement, rather than ignoring conversational pieces.
- Accept influence. Couples who take each other’s preferences into account and are willing to compromise are most happy.
- Solve the solvable. Couples are successful when they incorporate 5 main elements of compromise.
- Manage conflict. Happy couples can work together and view their conflicts as a shared landscape between the two; they do not dwell on their conflicts.
- Create shared meaning. Ultimate connection occurs when each person experiences the multitude of ways their partner enriches their life.
Couple’s therapy is an excellent resource to develop tools pertaining to happy relationship. The Gottman Method is one of many successful approaches used. When couples work on these elements in and outside of therapy, they enhance their relationship and open possibilities for further happiness and success together.
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