Gottman Method Couples Counselling
The centre's counsellor, Devin T. Pollitt, as part of a promotion for family wellness, is offering Gottman Method Couples Counselling at a significantly reduced rate in order to support and build family wellness in the community.
According to the research by clinical psychologists Dr. John and Dr. Julie Gottman, couples experiencing marital distress, which can include distance and isolation (living separate and apart lives), wait on average around 5-6 years before getting help. The average timeline between the wedding ceremony and divorce among what Gottman calls “the disasters of relationship” is around 5 years. Their research shows that to make relationships last couples must become better friends, learn to manage conflict, and create ways to support each other’s hopes for the future. Drs. John and Julie Gottman have shown how couples can accomplish this by paying attention to what they call the Sound Relationship House, or the 7 components of healthy relationships. In Northern communities, where access to trained couples specialists is often limited, couples often struggle to find the help they need. Devin T. Pollitt is now offering these services to couples in Terrace B.C as part of his counselling practice. Devin is a Registered Social Worker and works in areas of Mental Health, Geriatrics, and Chronic Illness. He provides direct 1:1 counselling in Terrace, and also provides clinical services to Aboriginal Clinics in Northern B.C. He is co-founder of Northwest Integrative Healthcare Centre, alongside his wife Dr. Candice Griffith, ND, who has been a practicing Naturopathic Doctor in Terrace for over 12 years.
Gottman method counselling, and The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, is based upon three decades of research by Dr. John Gottman and his wife Dr. Julie Gottman. The Gottmans spent this time following hundreds of couples, both those who stayed together and were happy (The Masters of relationship), and those who were unhappy and divorced early (The Disasters of relationship) by inviting them to stay in the, what they call, The Love Lab. In the Love Lab, researches monitor the couples and document how they interacted with the intention to determine the differences between the masters and disasters. From this research, the Gottmans and their Team were able to determine what predicts marital breakdown and unhappiness, while also understanding the principles operating in the relationships of the masters that make their relationships happy and lasting.
Who is this for?
Couples that are experiencing marital distress and who are wanting to work together to identify negative communication patterns, re-kindle friendship, and learn how to nurture love and admiration between each other. Couples that have a healthy relationship, but would like to grow and nurture it even further.
What couples can expect?
Unlike many other forms of couples therapy, the Gottman Method is based upon over 30 years of research and has been shown to be highly successful. As with any area of life, it is difficult to determine what is happening if a thorough assessment has not been done – mechanics cannot fix a car without first determining where the problem is. The Gottman approach does just that. Gottman method therapy occurs in 3 phases: An assessment phase; Treatment Phase; and . Both spouses are expected to fully participate in all aspects of each phase.
Phase 1: Assessment
Session 1 – Conjoint session – Intake Interview (80-90 minutes)
Session 2 – Individual Interviews with therapist – Personal Narratives (45 Minutes each)
Session 3 – Treatment Planning and Commitment from Couple.(80-90 Minutes).
Phase 2: Treatment
Sessions 4 -20 – Depending on how well couple moves through the process.
In this phase, the therapist will then move couples through treatment, which is a combination of discussion, training, exercises/activities, homework, and just simply lots of great fun and laughter. The work we do with couples is fun and teaches couples how to have fun in developing and nurturing their friendship.
The Foundational Principles of Treatment:
Trust: this is the state that occurs when a person knows that his or her partner acts and thinks to maximize that person’s best interests and benefits, not just the partner’s own interests and benefits. In other words, this means, “my partner has my back and is there for me.”
Commitment: This means believing (and acting on the belief) that your relationship with this person is completely your lifelong journey, for better or for worse (meaning that if it gets worse you will both work to improve it). It implies cherishing your partner’s positive qualities and nurturing gratitude by comparing the partner favorably with real or imagined others, rather than trashing the partner by magnifying negative qualities, and nurturing resentment by comparing unfavorably with real or imagined others.
Couples will learn what predicts divorce and an unhappy relationship by working through Gottman’s 6 predictors of divorce with each other and the therapist.
The Four Horseman: Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness, and Stonewalling.
Failed Repair Attempts.
With commitment from the couple, Treatment will then lead couples through the Principles for Making Marriage Work, which are the antidotes to the predictors of divorce.
Couples will learn how to:
1. Build Love Maps: How well do you know your partner’s inner psychological world, his or her history, worries, stresses, joys, and hopes?
2. Share Fondness and Admiration: The antidote for contempt, this level focuses on the amount of affection and respect within a relationship. (To strengthen fondness and admiration, express appreciation and respect.)
3. Turn Towards: State your needs, be aware of bids for connection and respond to (turn towards) them. The small moments of everyday life are actually the building blocks of relationship.
4. The Positive Perspective: The presence of a positive approach to problem-solving and the success of repair attempts.
5. Manage Conflict: We say “manage” conflict rather than “resolve” conflict, because relationship conflict is natural and has functional, positive aspects. Understand that there is a critical difference in handling perpetual problems and solvable problems.
6. Make Life Dreams Come True: Create an atmosphere that encourages each person to talk honestly about his or her hopes, values, convictions and aspirations.
7. Create Shared Meaning: Understand important visions, narratives, myths, and metaphors about your relationship.
Committed Couples who are willing to move through treatment and turn towards each other can expect to achieve:
•Increase respect, affection, and closeness
•Break through and resolve conflict when they feel stuck
•Generate greater understanding between partners
•Keep conflict discussions calm
Phase 3: Phasing out & Maintaining Gains.
During phase 3, the gains made by the couple will be measured (outcome evaluation) and the couple will be provided with tools and direction as to how they can continue, on their own, to continue to maintain and nurture the gains and success they have achieved in their relationship. Couples will be provided with copies of all the material, along with 1 free follow up session 3 months post treatment.
The cost of anything these days is always the first thing on most of our minds.
Many couples hesitate to spend $100 per week for 10-15 weeks on their relationship. But when you compare the cost of counselling to the costs of divorce, the cost is very nominal.
1 Session per week for 15 weeks of counselling = $750.00
The average lawyer consultation ranges between $500-$2000, depending on the complexity of the situation.
Then you have moving expenses, renting/buying homes, buying more furniture and so on. If there are children involved, then the expenses and difficulties become even greater.
Recovering your marriage is worth both the time and the money, if it is what both spouses want.
We look forward to seeing you at the clinic.
If you would like to book an appointment, please contact our office at 250-635-0980 to book a time.