Gottman Method Couples Therapy

What is  Gottman Method Couples Therapy?

Couple holds hands.

Gottman Method Couples Therapy, developed by renowned relationship experts John and Julie Gottman, is a research-based approach to couples therapy that addresses relationship issues and fosters healthier communication. Our Vancouver couples therapists, utilizing Gottman Method, help couples strengthen their bond, navigate conflicts, and build a life of shared meaning.

One of the key features of the Gottman Method is its focus on the positive aspects of the relationship. Rather than simply trying to fix what’s broken, the Gottman Method helps couples identify and strengthen the things that are already working well. This approach has been shown to be highly effective in helping couples overcome their differences and build a more satisfying relationship.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are a set of communication styles identified by John and Julie Gottman that can be particularly damaging to a relationship.


  1. Criticism: This occurs when one partner attacks the other’s character or personality, rather than addressing a specific behavior. Criticism can be harmful, as it makes the targeted partner feel defensive and unloved.


  1. Contempt: Contempt is demonstrated through sarcasm, mockery, eye-rolling, or belittling comments. It is the most detrimental of the Four Horsemen, as it conveys disgust and disdain, eroding the foundation of respect in a relationship.


  1. Defensiveness: Defensiveness occurs when one partner refuses to take responsibility for their actions or mistakes, instead blaming their partner or making excuses. This behavior escalates conflicts rather than resolving them.


  1. Stonewalling: Stonewalling is the act of shutting down, withdrawing, or refusing to engage in conversation or address issues. It typically results from feeling overwhelmed or flooded by emotions and can make the other partner feel abandoned and frustrated.


The Gottman Method aims to address these destructive communication patterns by teaching couples the nine principles of the Sound Relationship House Theory. These principles include building love maps, sharing fondness and admiration, turning towards each other, maintaining a positive perspective, managing conflict, supporting life dreams, creating shared meaning, fostering trust, and nurturing commitment. By understanding and practicing these principles, couples can build a deep, enduring friendship that serves as the foundation for a healthy and lasting relationship.


Our Vancouver couples therapists are dedicated to assisting couples in recognizing and substituting these destructive behaviors with healthier alternatives, such as articulating emotions constructively, taking accountability for actions, and actively engaging in empathetic listening with one another.