Couples Counseling

The Gottman Method

At Restorative Pathways, we utilize the Gottman Method for Couples Counseling. The Gottman Method is an approach to couples therapy that includes a thorough assessment of the couple relationship and integrates research-based interventions based on their Sound Relationship House Theory.

Couples who enter into Gottman Method Couples Therapy begin with an assessment process that then informs the therapeutic framework and intervention.

A conjoint session, followed by individual interviews with each partner are conducted. Couples complete online questionnaires (the Gottman Relationship Checkup) and then receive detailed feedback on their relationship.

Therapeutic Interventions
Interventions are designed to help couples strengthen their relationships in three primary areas: friendship, conflict management, and creation of shared meaning. Couples learn to replace negative conflict patterns with positive interactions and to repair past hurts. Interventions designed to increase closeness and intimacy are used to improve friendship, deepen emotional connection, and create changes which enhances the couples shared goals. Relapse prevention is also addressed.

The goals of Gottman Method Couples Therapy are to disarm conflicting verbal communication, increase intimacy, respect, and affection, remove barriers that create a feeling of stagnancy in conflicting situations, and create a heightened sense of empathy and understanding within the context of the relationship.

In his New York Times bestselling book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, Dr. John Gottman writes, “Although you may feel your situation is unique, we have found that all marital conflicts fall into two categories: Either they can be resolved, or they are perpetual, which means they will be part of your lives forever, in some form or another.” Gottman says that 69% of marital conflicts are perpetual problems, and these are of particular focus in much of the work performed by Gottman-trained therapists.

The Gottman Method is designed to support couples across all economic, racial, sexual orientation, and cultural sectors. Outcome research has shown Gottman Method Couples Therapy to be effective for treating same-sex relationships.

Some of the relationship issues that may be addressed in therapy include:

  • Frequent conflict and arguments

  • Poor communication

  • Emotionally distanced couples on the verge of separation

  • Specific problems such as sexual difficulties, infidelity, money, and parenting

Learn more by clicking one of the links below

Marathon Couples Therapy

When a relationship is in crisis, an extreme marriage makeover may be needed to help the couple move in a different direction in a shorter period of time than traditional counseling.  This method, known as Marathon Couples Counseling,  is ideal for couples who have difficulty setting aside time for weekly appointments, highly distressed couples, and couples desiring a more urgent and intensive approach for their issues. 

How does Marathon Therapy work?  Marathon Couples Therapy is a form of Gottman Method™ Couples Therapy.  This type of counseling is completed in the course of 2-5 full days of therapy.  During each day, the sessions may include two to three hours of therapy in the morning, a break for lunch, and two to three hours of therapy in the afternoon. Your Marathon Couples' Therapy will be structured depending on the issues to be addressed, the amount of time contracted for the therapy, the goals you have for the therapy, and your emotional needs. The benefit of this type of therapy is that it builds momentum rapidly with regard to the therapy process, allowing for breakthroughs to be made in a shorter period of time.

And just as in traditional couples counseling, distressed couples learn to foster respect and friendship, while also building a deeper, more secure connection with one another.  Couples learn to keep discussions calm and productive to facilitate breakthroughs, understand each other’s inner worlds, gain skill in resolving conflicts and dealing with gridlocked issues and open up the channels of communication.

The Marathon Couples' Therapy approach has been shown to have benefits for couples that undertake it. It often leads to a significant reduction of feelings of distress, resolution of specific problems, and a stronger relationship. In many cases, it has moved couples from thinking of ending their relationship to recommitting to it in new ways.

However, it is important that you also understand the risks involved. Despite the "nuts and bolts" approach of this method, the Marathon Couples' Therapy format may move you more quickly and intensely into the areas of difficulty to be addressed. Therefore, you and /or your partner may experience uncomfortable feelings like sadness, guilt, anxiety, anger, loneliness, and helplessness. Your therapy may also involve recalling unpleasant aspects of your history together and/or individually.

Difficulties between the two of you may become temporarily amplified. Additionally, difficulties with people important to you may also occur, family secrets may be disclosed, and despite our best efforts, therapy may not work out well. Thus, we can make no guarantees about how the therapy process will be for the two of you specifically or what the outcome will be for your relationship. In addition, Marathon Couples' Therapy, as with couples' therapy in general, has limitations and may be unadvisable in the following situations.

Should you have any questions regarding the following issues, please contact us for clarification about whether the Marathon Therapy method is suitable for your situation. These issues are:

  • If there is active alcohol and/or drug addiction on the part of either or both partners, from either partner's perspective

  • If there is serious violence in your relationship, threats by one or both partners that serious violence might occur, or fear of such serious violence on the part of one or both partners

  • If either partner currently has an untreated major mental illness (schizophrenia, recurrent psychotic depression, or bipolar/manic-depressive illness.) This does not include past, successfully treated psychotic episodes (e.g. post-partum depression with psychosis).

  • If there is an undisclosed, current affair that you are not willing to disclose (such secrets predict marital therapy failure)

  • If either partner is currently experiencing suicidal or homicidal thoughts, or has a history of serious harm inflicted on him/herself or another person

Upon completion of the therapy, we can prepare a written summary of your therapy process and recommendations for you as a couple, and if indicated, for each of you individually. We may recommend that Marathon Couples' Therapy be followed by regular weekly couples' therapy.

If your relationship is in crisis or you want to see more rapid change than traditional counseling can offer, Marathon Couples Therapy may be the fastest route to healing.


Gottman Approved Member