Gottman or EFT? Which one will save my marriage?

We’ve all heard those nightmare stories from our friends about those couples who went and the therapist only made it worse.

The reality is that going to couples therapy does bring up unresolved issues.  It does sometimes mean that things get worse before they get better. That’s why finding a trained couples therapist is so important.

With couples therapy there are 2 main modes of treatment; Gottman Couple’s Therapy and Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT).  Both treatment approaches have their merits and both are backed by science.

Gottman Therapy

John and Julie Gottman are psycho-therapist’s in Seattle, Washington.  John Gottman has been researching couples for many years, even decades and can predict the success of a marriage with 90% + accuracy.

Gottman couples therapy is based on the Sound Relationship House framework.  The Sound Relationship House is like the layers of a relationship, at the foundation is what Gottman refers to as Love Maps - knowing your partner, the next layer is Fondness and Admiration.  The Sound Relationship House builds up from the foundation to managing conflict to eventually building shared meaning. Simply put, you need a good foundation to create a life of shared meaning.  That is why at the bottom of the Sound Relationship House you’ll find Love Maps (knowing your partner) and Fondness and Admiration. When the shit hits the fan you need to know and like your partner in order to stick it out with your partner.

Gottman couples therapy relies heavily on skill building.  With Gottman couples therapy the therapist helps to create an environment which in the early stages of therapy helps build that fondness and admiration.  In the mid to later stages of therapy the therapist takes on more of a coach role, educating couples on communication skills and strategies and then coaching the couple as they work to use these newly learned skills.  

With Gottman Couples Therapy couples leave the therapy session with skills they can start using right away that help them to start to work through conflict and decrease fighting.

Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy

Sue Johnson is the creator of emotionally focused couples therapy (EFT).  EFT is based attachment theory and helps couples to create a more secure attachment with each other.

The idea behind EFT is that we all respond to emotions and some of our responses are rooted in fear and defenses.  Our attachment wounds and attachment styles impact how we respond to emotions. Our partners have the capacity to trigger attachment wounds, emotional defenses and fearful responses.  EFT works with couples to help them learn how to re-organize their emotional responses which creates a new way of relating with your partner.

Both of these methods have been shown to be important in helping couples to work through relationship difficulties.  Both methods have been shown to help couples to decrease fighting in the relationship.  

When you come to me, Gwendolyn Nelson-Terry, LMFT, for couples therapy you will get couples therapy from a trained couples therapist.

When selecting training for treating couples I was drawn towards Gottman because of the science that backs it.  While both are rooted in data and science, Gottman spoke to the more logic and data driven side of me. As a therapist who married a scientist I love facts, figures, rules, and things I know work.  

I know how important your relationship and your family is to you.  

Call (619) 383-1900 today to schedule your free 15 minute phone consultation to find out how Couples Therapy with me, may be able to help your relationship.

Is your partner resistant to couples therapy?  No problem, relationship therapy can be done through individual therapy.  Call (619) 383-1900 today to schedule your free 15 minute phone consultation to find out how individual therapy may be able to help your relationship.