The primary goal of every couple’s therapy model is to help the couple improve their connection and communication which leads to an improvement in the relationship. Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) and Gottman’s Method are the most effective approaches therapists use in couple’s therapy work. While both approaches have their merits and are backed by scientific research, they have their differences as well.

What is Emotionally Focused Therapy(EFT)?

Emotionally Focused Therapy was developed by Sue Johnson and it is based on attachment theory. It focuses on the ways couples interact with each other and how they can change unproductive or unhealthy patterns of behaviour within a relationship.  EFT works to strengthen emotional bonds more than to change behaviour. EFT focuses on helping couples form secure emotional bonds, resulting in improved communication and stronger relationships.

EFT begins with helping the couple identify negative patterns of interaction. As the therapy goes further both partners are encouraged to be emotionally vulnerable to each other so that they can create a secure bond with each other. The couple is also encouraged to create healthy emotional experiences so that they find newer ways of connecting with each other.

What is Gottman’s Method?

The Gottman Method was developed by Dr. John Gottman and Dr. Julie Gottman and is based on over 40 years of research. The Gottman Method is based on the Sound Relationship House Theory which believes that there are skills that contribute to a healthy relationship. The Method focuses on giving couples insight into their relationship while also giving them the tools needed to manage negative interactions within the relationship.

Gottman’s Method begins with an assessment of the couple’s relationship through joint and individual interviews with a trusted therapist. Based on the interviews, a plan of treatment is created depending on the needs of the couple. Throughout therapy, interventions are designed to progress the relationship in three areas: friendship, conflict management, and the creation of shared meaning. The couple learns skills to replace negative conflict patterns and reactions with positive ones.

Gottman’s Method vs EFT: The Key Differences

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) Gottman’s Method
EFT is based on the Attachment Theory Gottman’s Method is based on The Sound Relationship House Theory
EFT assumes that conflicts arise from unmet emotional needs Gottman’s Method views conflicts as a part of every relationship
EFT focuses on helping couples create a secure attachment with each other Gottman’s Method focuses on helping couples build skills to create positive experiences in the relationship
EFT can seem less structured sometimes Gottman’s Method is very structured
An EFT therapist focuses on helping couples understand why they are experiencing certain emotions Gottman’s method therapist focuses on helping couples learn coping skills to deal with emotions

Although there are differences in the way EFT and Gottman’s method look at relationships both are similar in many ways. Both approaches help couples identify unhealthy patterns of interactions and replace them with positive ones, Both approaches have been found to be effective in reducing conflicts and improving communication between couples. Some therapists might use a combination of the EFT and Gottman method depending on their training and the needs of the couple.


EFT and Gottman’s Method are two effective approaches to couples therapy, both of which aim to help couples improve communication. As every couple is unique, a trained therapist can help each couple identify an approach that fits their needs the best. Make sure you seek therapy from a trained therapist in these approaches.


  1. The 2 Styles of Couples Therapy | Life Insight | Hinsdale Couples Counseling. (2021, February 19).
  2. Gottman or EFT? Which one will save my marriage? — Virtual Relationship & Couples Counseling. (2019, July 22). Virtual Relationship &  Couples Counseling.
  3. Toller, J. (2021, November 17). Gottman Method & Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy. Nomina Health.
  4. Tips, T. R. (2022, December 21). Emotionally Focused Therapy & The Gottman Method for Couples. Thrive Couple & Family Counseling Services.

Dhruva Koranne

Dhruva Koranne has completed his Masters in Applied Psychology from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, BALM. He has been practicing as a counsellor since 2020 and works to create a safe space for clients where they can open up. In addition to this, Dhruva loves researching and studying about upcoming theories in the field of Psychology. Connect with him on Linkedin