Jill Wiltshire’s approach to relationship counselling is influenced by the Gottman Method for Couples Counselling, which is an evidenced based approach to helping couples repair, rebuild, and rejuvenate their relationships. The Gottman Method Couples Therapy was developed by Drs John and Julie Gottman in Seattle, WA (USA) and is based on 40 years of research examining characteristics of successful relationships. Their research followed more than 3500 couples. It taught them to predict with great accuracy (over 94%) whether a marriage would survive or have ended after 6 years. This research informed the theory of relationship functioning which underpins the Gottman Method.
Outcome research supports the Gottman Method, with couples reporting greater relationship satisfaction after counselling based on this method. Research suggests that the Gottman Method Couples Therapy is effective not only for heterosexual couples, but also for couples in same-sex relationships. It may also be useful for couples who do not feel that their conflict level is abnormal but would like to learn better ways to communicate with and support one another.
The Theory Behind the Gottman Method
This approach to couples counselling focuses on assisting couples with increasing their understanding of how their relationship is functioning through examination of the relationship’s development since its inception, exploring what is working and what is not, and providing the necessary skills to make the desired changes to increase the overall quality of the relationship. The Gottman Method sees a healthy relationship as being represented by 9 levels:
- Build love maps
- Build fondness and admiration by showing affection and respect in small ways every day
- Turn towards opportunities for emotional connections (instead of turning away)
- Take a positive perspective towards your partner’s actions (i.e., assume good intentions)
- Manage conflict by approaching conflict gently and establishing dialogue about problems
- Support each other’s life dreams
- Create shared meaning through connection, support and creating shared goals/values
Jill recognizes that each couple is unique, and that sometimes problems arise because of mismatches in emotional responses between two people in a relationship. When this is the case, counselling must not only focus on reducing negative conflict, but also on creating or enhancing opportunities for positive interactions.
What does Jill’s relationship Counselling Look Like?
The first session of Gottman Method Couples Therapy consists of an interview with both partners which allows the therapist to better understand the current strengths of the relationship, as well as identifying existing challenges and provides a comprehensive history as to how the relationship has developed over time. After the first session, both partners will be asked to complete a series of online questionnaires that provide further insight into the relationship and assist in creating a road map for counseling based on the identified needs of both partners.
After the initial session and completion of relevant assessments, both partners will be asked to attend an individual session with the therapist to increase the therapist’s knowledge of each partner individually. This provides an opportunity to gain an understanding of each partner’s personal history, while also examining how each individual views their relationship. The first 3 sessions serve as the assessment phase of treatment. From here, couples will attend all future sessions together. The therapist and the couple will collaborate in creating treatment goals and identifying an effective course of therapy.
Counselling sessions aim to provide a space for each person to share their concerns and emotions in an accepting and empathetic environment. The Gottman Method is emotion-focused, experiential, and focuses on the present. Additionally, it provides couples with strategies that can be applied in the future to reduce negative feelings and increase positive outcomes during conflict. Essentially, the aim of counselling is to:
- Increase intimacy, respect and affection
- Resolve conflict that may have reduced closeness in the relationship
- Achieve greater understanding between the two partners
- Enable both parties to engage in calm and constructive discussions
- Developed the necessary skills to ensure a stable, fulfilling, long-lasting relationship
What if I don’t want to commit to the Gottman Approach series of appointments?
Paul Greeff also takes elements of the Gottman approach and is happy to see couples on the basis of hourly appointments.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.
You may call us on (08) 8333 0940, or alternatively email us at email@example.com