Couple’s therapy is a form of talk therapy designed to help couples resolve relationship issues. The Gottman Method, developed by psychologist John Gottman and his wife Julie Gottman, is one of the most well-known and effective approaches to couples therapy. In this article, we’ll discuss the Gottman Method in depth.

Understanding The Gottman Method 

The Gottman Method is an evidence-based couple’s therapy approach based on over 40 years of research and has been tested on more than 3000 couples. Gottman’s model aims to reduce conflicts and promote intimacy, respect and affection among couples by eliminating stuckness in the relationship. Another aim of this approach is to create an atmosphere of empathy and understanding in the relationship.

What makes Gottman’s model unique is that it views conflict as a normal part of every relationship and focuses on empowering couples with conflict management skills. In fact, Dr Gottman found that almost 69% of couple conflicts come from the differing personalities of both partners, hence, these conflicts are likely to be a perpetual part of the relationship, How couples handle these conflicts ultimately decides the fate of relationships.

In addition to the above findings, Dr. Gottman’s research found that couples who break up are likely to display four kinds of harmful behaviours in their relationships. He called these behaviours, the four horsemen. They are:

  • Criticism

Criticism is when someone criticizes their partner’s character or personality instead of addressing a specific problem or behaviour. Ex- You never listen to me or you are always careless.

  • Contempt

Contempt is when one partner believes that they are superior to the other and starts belittling their partner about it.  Ex- Mocking one’s partner based on their looks.

  • Defensiveness

It involves shifting blame or avoiding responsibility during a conflict. Defensiveness typically leads to ineffective communication. Ex- Why do you always expect me to do the dishes, You knew I was busy, why couldn’t you do it?

  • Stonewalling

Stonewalling involves withdrawing emotionally or shutting down during discussions, leading to disconnection and unresolved issues.

Gottman’s Sound Relationship House Theory

The sound relationship house theory lies at the core of Gottman’s method. The theory is based on the assumption that a successful relationship is built on multiple ‘floors’ just like a house. Based on his research, Dr. Gottman. Identified the various elements of a successful relationship. They are:

  1. Build Love Maps

It involves understanding each other’s inner worlds and desires.

  • Share Fondness and Admiration:

It involves regularly appreciating each other’s efforts and qualities.

  • Turn Toward Each Other: 

It involves being attentive and responsive to each other’s needs.

  • The Positive Perspective: 

It involves focusing on the good in your partner and the relationship

  • Manage Conflict

It involves the ability and skills to resolve conflicts respectfully

  • Make Life Dreams Come True

It involves supporting each other’s goals and aspirations

  • Create Shared Meaning

It involves establishing common values, traditions, and goals through conversations.

  • Trust

Trust is the foundational stone of a successful relationship.

  • Commitment

Commitment is the second foundational pillar of the relationship, apart from trust. It helps create a sense of security.

Is Gottman’s Model Effective?

As mentioned earlier, Gottman’s model is firmly grounded in research and has been tested over 40 years. Thus, it is one of the most effective approaches to couples therapy. The latest research also supports the previous findings. Research in 2018 found that Gottman’s model is effective in improving marital relationships. It also increased intimacy and adjustment among couples. 

Another study found that Gottman’s model can help improve relationship dynamics and understanding among couples experiencing stressful situations such as fertility issues.


Gottman’s model is a research-based, effective approach to couples therapy. A therapist trained in Gottman’s model typically starts the first session by assessing the couple’s issues and needs before designing a comprehensive treatment plan to improve the couple’s communication, intimacy and conflict-resolution skills.

 If you are looking to start couples therapy, Mind Voyage would be glad to support you. Click here to start your journey.


  1. Examining the Effectiveness of Gottman Couple Therapy on Improving Marital Adjustment and Couples’ Intimacy—PMC. (n.d.). Retrieved March 19, 2024, from
  2. Hosseinpoor, M., Masoumi, S. Z., Kazemi, F., Soltani, F., & Ahmadpanah, M. (2022). Investigating the effect of couple-centred counselling by Gottman method on the intimacy of infertile couples referring to the infertility Ward of Fatemieh hospital, Hamadan, Iran in 2020: A quasi-experimental study. BMC Psychiatry, 22(1), 581.
  3. The Gottman Method: Definition, Techniques, and Benefits. (n.d.). Retrieved March 19, 2024, from
  4. The Gottman Method—About | The Gottman Institute. (n.d.). Retrieved March 19, 2024, from
  5. What Is The Gottman Method? (n.d.). Retrieved March 19, 2024, from
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