What is the Gottman Method?

The Gottman Method is a research-based approach to couples therapy that was developed by psychologists John and Julie Gottman. Over decades of research, they've identified key elements that contribute to a successful and healthy relationship. The method is based on their "Sound Relationship House Theory," which conceptualizes the fundamental aspects of a thriving relationship as parts of a house. 

Here's an overview of the key concepts of the Gottman Method and the "Sound Relationship House":

Build Love Maps: This is all about knowing your partner's world. It means understanding their likes, dislikes, hopes, dreams, fears, and experiences. This knowledge forms the foundation of the "house".

Share Fondness and Admiration: This step focuses on the amount of affection and respect within a relationship. Expressing appreciation and respect can help to counteract negativity that may arise during conflicts.

Turn Towards Instead of Away: This concept emphasizes the importance of responding to your partner's "bids" for emotional connection. These can be small (like responding to a comment about the weather) or big (like supporting each other during major life changes).

The Positive Perspective: A positive perspective helps couples to view their relationship in a more favorable light. This positive outlook can act as a buffer during times of stress or conflict.

Manage Conflict: Conflicts are natural in any relationship. The Gottman Method focuses not on eliminating conflict, but on managing it. This includes learning to identify and rectify "gridlocked" conflicts (those that keep recurring) and ensuring discussions don't escalate into damaging arguments.

Make Life Dreams Come True: Understanding and supporting each other's life goals can add a deeper layer of connection in a relationship.

Create Shared Meaning: This involves creating a shared narrative of your life together, including your shared goals, values, and traditions.

The "walls" of the house represent trust and commitment, two fundamental aspects of a strong relationship. 

A therapist using the Gottman Method will aim to help couples strengthen these elements in their relationship, using strategies and exercises based on the Gottmans' research. While it can be particularly useful for couples, the fundamental principles of the Gottman Method can be applied in various relational contexts to enhance understanding, improve communication, and deepen connections.