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How The Gothman Method Helps in Couples therapy

Melody Evans Specializes in marriage and couples counselling in Calgary and helps people deal with conflict, communication, infidelity, betrayal, divorce, separation, money issues, co- parenting, issues with extended family, as well as providing couples sex therapy.

She uses the Gottman method of couples counselling. What is the Gottman method? The Gottman Method was developed by Drs. John and Julie Schwartz Gottman. The method relies on 40 years of scientific research on what causes the success and failure of marriages, and aims to deliver effective counselling to couples in need. Through their research they identified that to make relationships last, couples must become better friends, learn to manage conflict, and create ways of supporting each other’s hopes and dreams. The method teaches couples how to create the seven components of healthy relationships outlined below.

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The Sound Relationship House - Marriage Counselling Calgary

What couples will learn in therapy


You will both learn how to understand your partner’s inner psychology. Are you aware of the history, worries, stresses, joys, and hopes that your partner is experiencing? This is called the Love Map.


You will learn how to show fondness and admiration for one another, increase respect, affection, and closeness, as well as gaining an understanding of how to empathize with your partner and strengthen the expressions of appreciation and admiration.

Couples will learn how to state their needs, and be aware of attempts to create connection and how to respond when they feel misunderstood. Gottman calls this turning towards each other and these small every day moments are the building blocks of any relationship.

Couples will learn how to have a positive perception of their partner and know how to problem-solve and repair communication that has gone wrong. These are called repair attempts and all marriages need these skills if they are to survive and thrive.

Couples will learn how to manage conflict. In any relationship conflict is natural and it has functional and positive aspects, but what couples sometimes struggle with is how to manage this conflict. This includes managing their physiology and their psychology to deal with perpetual problems (the ones that will never go away) and solvable problems (the ones that will). Couples will also learn how to keep conflict discussions calm and break through the gridlock to resolve conflict when they feel stuck.

Through the Gottman Method couples will learn how to make life dreams come true and create an atmosphere that encourages each person to talk honestly about his or her hopes, values, convictions and aspirations.

Couples will learn how to understand important narratives, myths, and metaphors about their relationship and can co- construct shared meaning to guide them through any life circumstances.

Trust means knowing that your partner acts and thinks always in your best interests, and not just in their own best interests. I call it know your partner “has your back”. Trust is something that can be built over time through moment by moment interactions.

Commitment: This means believing, acting, and being with your partner on a lifelong journey, for better or for worse. It encompasses cherishing your partner, having gratitude for your partner, and being positive for your partner.

Gottman Couple’s Therapy: What to Expect in Sessions

Using the knowledge and wisdom of nearly forty years of studies and clinical practice, the Gottman Method of Couples Therapy helps couples break through challenges to achieve greater understanding, connection and intimacy in their relationship through research-based interventions and exercises. It is a structured, goal-oriented, scientifically-based therapy. Therapeutic interventions are based upon empirical data from Dr. Gottman’s studies of more than 3,000 couples. This research identifies what actually works to help couples achieve long-term happiness.

Tips & tools for healthy communication

Use “I” Statements: Stay away from using the word YOU. Generally people take the word YOU as a criticism, which causes people to become defensive.

Know when to stop: Couples and families tend to let arguments control them rather than they being in control of the argument. It’s important to take a break to calm down if needed. When we argue our bodies stress response is activated and we go into flight, fight or immobility. This is a process researcher Dr. John Gottman calls DPA (Diffuse Physiological Arousal). A good trick when conflict gets too heated is to stop, take a break, and go suck on a Life Saver. It typically takes 20 minutes for your body to get out of DPA, and by the time the candy has dissolved you will have calmed down.

Practice empathy: This can be difficult when you are upset with your loved one; but empathy is essential to healthy communication. Try to feel what your loved one may be feeling.

Try not to persuade your loved one to your side of an argument: It is best to communicate understanding to your loved one rather than trying to problem solve or get them to see that you are right. (Seek to understand before being understood)

Validate fears: Fear grows in the dark but dissipates in the light. Minimizing fear makes people feel alone and they will either shut down or attack. Here are some examples of what not to say- “Get over it!”, “Oh don’t worry”, “You’re just too sensitive”. The positive alternatives would be: “That sounds scary”, “Of course you’re upset, can you tell me more about your concerns”, “I am here for you”.

Love your loved one the way they want to be loved, not the way you think they should be loved. These ideas are thoroughly described in The Five Love language By Gary D. Chapman: The Secret to Love That Lasts

Recomended Readings
The Five Love language By Gary D. Chapman: The Secret to Love That Lasts
Relationships can be difficult but I encourage people to not give up- there is hope. Call to book your appointment today (403) 808-9124

Melody Evans, R., Psych, RMFT

FYI: Myths About Sex in Marriage
Ideas from the research of Dr. John Gottman
Couples Sex Therapy

Myth #1: Passion will never die if it is genuine

Wrong: In a long term relationship passion and romance does change.

How can therapy help? Couples can learn through therapy how to have intimate conversations to adapt to these changes, and keep love alive.

Myth #2: Avoiding conflict encourages romance in your marriage.

Wrong: On the contrary learning to deal with conflict increases the passion and romance in your marriage.

How can therapy help? Most couples do not know that there are very specific skills that can be learned to deal with conflict in healthy ways. These skills can be learned in counselling.

Myth #3: Affectionate touching takes away from the erotic part of a marriage.

Wrong: Having lots of non-sexual affection, especially touch, can increase the romance in your partnership.

How can therapy help? Couples can learn how to create rituals of connection, which increase the connection and intimacy in relationships.

Contact Melody For Marriage and Couples Counselling in Calgary Today

Relationships can be difficult but I encourage people to not give up- there is hope. Call to book your appointment today (403) 808-9124.

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