In my couple therapy, I draw primarily from the Gottman Method Couple therapy approach and Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy approach. Both approaches have their pro’s and cons and that can be beneficial when working with different issues causing issue in a couples relationship. The focus of this short post is on how the Gottman method helps in addressing disconnection. Analogies break down but if the relationship were likened to a tree, I see the Gottman method as most useful for trimming the branches and Emotionally Focused Therapy as most useful for treating root rot. Gottman is great for setting boundaries for healthy communication and a relationship and Emotionally Focused Therapy is great for Restoring a love bond.
Stuck in a Rut
Couples sometimes find themselves stuck in a rut, a rut of negative communication. One partner may feel neglected while the other feels over-protected. Or perhaps they’re both feeling stressed out or burnt out and find themselves spending more time apart, not communicating. In these situations, couples often resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms. Communication is often broken down by rigid interactions with one partner engaging in probing, giving the third degree, poking, or blaming and the other partner engaging in defensiveness, dismissing, shutting down, stonewalling or turning to others for attention and care. These behaviors only make things worse. If you want to break free from emotional pain, then you need to learn how to communicate effectively.
Communication Skills Training
Communication skills training teaches you how to express yourself clearly and effectively. You’ll learn how to listen without interrupting, how to ask questions instead of giving orders, and how to say what you mean without hurting someone else’s feelings. In our work, we will use interventions like the Rappaport Exercise.
Conflict Resolution & Compromise
Conflict resolution helps you understand your own emotions and those of others. You’ll practice techniques like active listening, empathy, and problem solving to help you resolve conflicts peacefully. Gottman found that most compromises don’t work when one compromises on something that is core to who they are. Thus, one intervention to address issues around compromise would be the “The Art of Compromise.”
Relationship building teaches you how to build trust and respect between partners. You’ll work on developing positive communication habits and learning how to forgive each other. Among interventions will be building rituals of connection and creating a structure where you get to know each other deeper on a daily and weakly basis.
Your relationship is only as healthy as you, the individual. Self care means taking good care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. You’ll explore ways to improve your physical fitness, develop healthier eating habits, manage stress, set boundaries, and take breaks.
With enhanced communication, many issues related to sex resolves themselves naturally. However, sometimes struggles with sex need more help. I have worked with many to create a more fulfilling sex life, overcoming things like initiation and lack of desire. Some issues may require a specialist, and I will refer out wh