Gottman Couples Therapy in Reno
Relationships which work well lead to: healthier people who live longer and stronger; people who can cope better with adversity. Their well-being is higher.” — John Gottman
Couples counseling, marital therapy, couples therapy, intimate partner intervention — there exist subtle distinctions between these terms, and the common denominator is the human wish for positive, meaningful, and lasting relationships. I was initially trained as a Marriage, Family, and Child Counselor in the mid-1990s, and have enjoyed working with couples ever since. It was during this time that I first encountered Gottman Couples Therapy.
I have completed the live Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 Trainings in Gottman Method Couples Therapy through UC Berkeley, Portland State University, and Relationship Training Workshops of Portland, respectively. The Gottman Method integrates 40 years of scientific research on what makes relationships succeed or fail, into a practical “nuts-and-bolts” approach to improving couples’ relationships. I use the Gottman Method to provide couples counseling and marital therapy that is not only based on science, but also custom-tailored to your relationship.
Build Friendship, Love, & Meaning
Affairs are commonly cited as the major cause of divorce but, in fact, the California Divorce Mediation Project has shown that the majority of divorces (80%) are due to people becoming emotionally distant and simply drifting apart. This represents a failure of friendship and intimacy in the relationship. Friendship and intimacy are what affairs are usually about (rather than sex), and these are precisely the things that can be repaired through Gottman Couples Therapy.
In my work with couples, we deal with more than just problem solving through conflict resolution and communication. By focusing on creating connection in the everyday aspects of your interactions, we will systematically build and repair the friendship, love, and meaning in your relationship.
Modern Therapy for Modern Times
Scientific understanding of romantic human relationships—and what makes or breaks them—has come a long way in the last four decades. Gottman Couples Therapy is the most scientifically advanced couple intervention technology of its kind. This approach is derived from 40 years of longitudinal research on relationships, relationship interaction experiments, and innumerable couples workshops as well as couples therapy experiences. Gottman Couples Therapy builds upon prior research on couples’ interventions, and presents a dramatic departure from the shortcomings of the past.
Overview of Gottman Method Couples Therapy
The Gottman Method Couples Therapy is based on Dr. John Gottman’s scientific research that began in the 1970s, and continues to this day. The research has focused on what makes relationships succeed or fail. From this research, Drs. John and Julie Gottman have created a method of therapy that emphasizes a nuts-and-bolts approach to improving clients’ relationships.
The Gottman Method of couples therapy is designed to help teach specific tools that deepen friendship and intimacy in your relationship. To help you productively manage conflicts, you will be given techniques to manage both resolvable and gridlocked (perpetual) issues. We will also work together to help you appreciate your relationship’s strengths, and to navigate gently through its vulnerabilities.
A relationship is a contract of mutual nurturance. Relationships have to be a rich climate of positivity. For relationships to be strong, the ideal climate is one teeming with positive interactions.” — John Gottman
Couples Therapy Process: How does it work?
The process of Gottman Couples Therapy consists of five phases:
- Out of Therapy
- Outcome Evaluation
Phase One: Assessment
In Gottman Couples Therapy, there is an assessment phase that will require you to take part in two interviews (first together, and then separately), fill out some questionnaires, and be videotaped talking about an area of disagreement for 10 minutes, during which we will use a finger pulse oximeter to measure your heart rates and percent of oxygen in your blood.
In my experience, most couples are eager to “get to work” right away, and this is completely understandable. Here, I ask you to consider the importance of assessment and evaluation from a medical perspective: How eager would you be to go into surgery before a specialist had examined you, completed blood-work analyses, formed a diagnosis, and planned the surgical procedure to be performed?
The assessment phase is crucial to successful intervention and therapy outcomes. Accordingly, genuine investment toward working in couples therapy must be made, and begins with a commitment to the assessment phase.
In general, the assessment phase requires three 90-minute sessions to complete three steps:
- Intake Interview: Session #1 (90 minutes)
The first session is all about helping you to tell your own story as a couple, and most couples—not all—find this experience to be a lot of fun. We will talk about the history of your relationship, areas of concern, and goals for treatment. I will also have a chance to get a basic idea of how you process conflict as a couple. At the end of the session, we will schedule individual sessions for year partner with me, and I will give you a welcome packet to take home with you. The welcome packet contains a series of standardized questionnaires that I will ask you to complete and return when you meet with me individually. These questionnaires will be critical in helping all of us to better understand your relationship.
- Individual Interviews: Session #2 (45 minutes each, 90 minutes total)
In the next session, I will meet with each of you individually for 45 minutes. These individual interviews may be scheduled back-to-back, or at completely separate times. In these individual sessions, I will get to learn a bit about your personal histories, families of origin, and also give each of you an opportunity to voice your own thoughts, feelings, and perceptions.
- Treatment Planning: Session #3 (90 minutes)
In the final session of assessment, we will review the results of your relationship questionnaires, my overall assessment of your relationship, and my initial impressions on the future of your relationship. Together, we will work to define mutually-agreed upon goals for your therapy.
Phase Two: Treatment
Most of our therapy work will involve sessions in which you will be seen together as a couple. However, there may be times when individual sessions are recommended. I may also give you specific exercises to practice between sessions.
The length of therapy will be determined by your specific needs and goals. We should have a basic idea of what to expect at the end of the third assessment session, but there are no guarantees on what new issues may be presented as your connection to one another grows closer and stronger.
A commitment to the best therapy possible requires ongoing evaluation of the methods used and client progress. In the course of therapy, we will establish points at which to evaluate your satisfaction and progress. Also, I will encourage you to raise any questions or concerns that you have about therapy at any time.
Phase Three: Application
In the later stages of therapy, we will begin to meet less frequently, in order for you to test your new relationship skills outside of our therapy sessions, and also to prepare for termination of couples therapy.
Phase Four: Termination
Although you may terminate couples therapy whenever you wish, it is most helpful to have at least one final session in which to summarize progress, define the work that remains, and say goodbye.
Phase Five: Outcome Evaluation
In the outcome evaluation phase, as per the Gottman Method, four follow-up sessions will be planned:
- 6 Months
- 12 Months
- 18 Months
- 2 Years
These follow-up sessions have been scientifically shown to decrease the chances of your relapse into previous, unhelpful patterns. The purpose of these follow-up sessions will be to fine-tune any of your relationship skills, if needed, and to evaluate the effectiveness of the therapy received.
Every relationship is a cross cultural experience. There are two valid perceptions and realities which make a difference.” — John Gottman
Fees: How much will couples therapy cost?
Detailed pricing information for my Reno couples therapy services is available on my Therapy Fees page by navigating here: Couples Therapy Fee Schedule.