Dave is a very compassionate and empathetic therapist who has been able to work with me and my husband in very constructive and practical ways.”– Client review
As a Certified Gottman Therapist, I generally employ the concepts, strategies and techniques of Gottman Method Couples Therapy. This approach is designed to teach you specific tools to deepen friendship and intimacy, productively manage conflict, talk about about gridlocked (or “stuck”) issues, and help you appreciate your relationship’s strengths and gently navigate through its vulnerabilities.
Gottman Method Couples Therapy consists of 5 parts: Evaluation, Treatment, Re-Assessment, Phasing Out, and “Tune-up” sessions.
The evaluation process consists of four sessions:
- Session #1 – Initial Interview: In the first session we will all meet together to talk about the history of your relationship, areas of concern, and goals for treatment. You’ll also need to take the online Gottman Relationship Assessment to get an in-depth look at the viability of your relationship.
- Sessions #2 & #3 – Individual Interviews: In the next two sessions, I’ll meet with each of you individually to learn more about you, your personal history and to explore your thoughts, feelings, and perceptions about your relationship.
- Session #4 – Review & Treatment Planning: In the fourth and final evaluation session, I will share with you your test results along with my recommendations for treatment. Together, we’ll then create some mutually agreed-upon goals for your therapy.
Most of our work together will involve sessions in which you will be seen as a couple. However, there may be times when individual sessions are recommended. I may also give you exercises to practice between sessions.
Some possibilities for what we may work on might include: Initial crisis management; Making conflict discussions constructive; Improving friendship, emotional connection, and intimacy; and improving rituals of connection, shared roles and shared meaning.
In order to keep things accountable, on a regular basis we’ll establish checkpoints where we discuss how things are improving in your relationship and identify any issues that still need additional focus or work. This keeps all progress accountable to the goals you’ve previously set.
In the later stage of therapy, we can start to meet less frequently in order for you to test out new relationship skills. When you are ready to stop, it’s very helpful to have at least one session together to summarize your progress as a couple, to define any work that remains to be done and to address any outstanding issues the two of you are facing.
It’s strongly recommended to have four “tune-up” sessions scheduled approximately 3-6 months apart from each other. These follow-up sessions have been shown to significantly decrease the chances of relapsing into previous, unhelpful relationship patterns.
What Skills Will We Learn?
You and your partner will learn how to foster respect, affection, and closeness in your relationship. You’ll build and share a deeper connection with each other. You’ll also learn how to keep conflict discussions calm, how to break through gridlocked conflict and how to strengthen and maintain the gains in your relationship.
In addition, you will learn:
- How to build the friendship in your relationship and express feelings of respect and affection.
- The tools to manage conflict and communicate effectively.
- Recognize the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and what to do if they are attacking your relationship.
- Identify your relationship’s specific strengths and how to build on them together.
How to Prepare for Couples Therapy
These four resources will help you prepare for your first couples session. These resources will help both of you more accurately describe what is, and is not, working in your relationship.
- What actually makes a relationship last (video, 10 min)
- What guarantees a failed relationship? (video, 10 min)
- The best way to improve your relationship (video, 10 min)
- The Secrets to Love (PDF)
Additional Hint: If you suspect that you have a difficult partner that won’t “grow up”, you should probably also take the Peter Pan Syndrome questionnaire.
I also help couples deciding whether to stay or go in their relationship. This type of discernment counseling is not where we try to solve your relationship problems; instead, we work together to try to help you both become more clear and confident in how you’ll choose to proceed with your relationship.