John Gottman Therapy

The Gottman Method is a paradigm that focuses on the ways in which couples communicate with one another, in order to identify and correct problematic or negative communication habits. This helps couples become closer and gives them the tools they need to communicate more effectively without unnecessarily harming their partner’s feelings. Bad communication habits that this theory seeks to address include the use of harsh criticism, defensiveness, stonewalling, and contempt. When we criticize our partners it does not really communicate our thoughts or feelings to the other person. Instead, most people will react defensively to criticism, thus shutting down any opportunity that was available for discussion. Additionally, with the help of this intervention, partners who are defensive can learn to become open to accountability for their actions and understanding of the other person’s feelings. Stonewalling is when an individual shuts down and becomes disengaged due to overstimulation and high emotionality. Therapists who use the Gottman method can teach these individuals how to self-soothe and become re-engaged. The final negative communication habit, contempt, can be resolved through the use of appreciation and recognition of the other partner’s good qualities.