The most intensive program of objective research on marriage and divorce ever conducted has studied and followed over 3000 couples for over 30 years. In some studies, Dr. John Gottman and his colleagues at the University of Washington put couples up at the “Love Lab” and carefully videotaped and characterized their interaction. Over the decades, the researchers followed up to see which couples stayed together and which ones divorced. Then they correlated that with their original styles of interaction. While I felt I did good work with couples before, once I added this approach, my work with couples has had even greater success. Elizabeth and I use it in our marriage and we both feel it’s made a good marriage even better!
When I work with couples, I see the relationship itself as the client, using the Gottman approach, which has an impressive track record at repairing relationships effectively. I typically meet with each person once individually so that each member of the couple feels I understand their concerns and hopes for the relationship. I hold that information in confidence even from the other member of the couple so that each person can tell me their genuine concerns. While I don’t share that information with the other person, you can assume I use it to better the relationship.
Our joint sessions begin with a positive approach, drawn from Gottman’s work, where we work first on improving the quality of your communication and maximizing the relationship’s existing strengths. When that is improved, it’s a lot easier to tackle the issues that are troubling to you both. Joint sessions are held whether you are at the same location or attend the session remotely from each other. I often give constructive, positive exercises between sessions for you to work on, which moves you forward more quickly.
Gottman has found that the average couple waits seven years before seeking help! Even if problems are long-standing, relationships can still be made much better. Call me today to discuss how I might serve you both in improving your relationship!