Gottman Relationship Counselling


Gottman Relationship Counselling

Westbourne Park Psychology is thrilled to offer couples counselling utilising the Gottman Approach to  – a world-renowned method of relationship counselling. A research-based approach to couples counselling, the Gottman Method for healthy relationships aims to help couples repair, rebuild, and revitalize their relationships, and is backed by science. This method of relationship counselling can be utilised in any stage of a relationship (from early stages, to distressed couples), at any age, orientation and ability.

People come to relationship counselling for a wide variety of reasons. Sometimes, the couple is experiencing communication issues, resulting in misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Other times, there is a key point of conflict which the couple finds themselves unable to resolve on their own. Or, the couple may find that their relationship lacks the ‘spark’ it once had. In these situations, and many more, relationship counselling with a psychologist can be undertaken to address current difficulties and build on positive points in the relationship.

The Gottman Method is based on four decades of research examining the characteristics of successful relationships, and was developed by Dr. John Gottman, and his wife psychologist Julie Gottman. Their research is the most extensive study ever completed on marital stability, following more than 3,500 couples, and taught them to predict with high accuracy (over 94%) whether a relationship would survive or end after six years. This research underpinned and informed the theory behind the Gottman Method.

Couples that have gone through relationship counselling using the Gottman Method have reported greater relationship satisfaction. Research suggests that the Gottman Method is effective not only for heterosexual couples, but also for couples in same-sex relationships. It may also be useful for couples who are not distressed in their relationship, but would like to learn better ways to communicate with and support one another.

The Theory Behind the Gottman Relationship Counselling

The Gottman Method approach to couples counselling focuses on assisting couples with increasing their understanding of how their relationship is functioning. This includes an 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 the nine levels;

  1. Build love maps
  2. Build fondness and admiration by showing affection and respect in small ways every day
  3. Turn towards opportunities for emotional connections (instead of turning away)
  4. Take a positive perspective towards your partner’s actions (i.e., assume good intentions)
  5. Manage conflict by approaching conflict gently and establishing dialogue about problems
  6. Support each other’s life dreams
  7. Create shared meaning through connection, support and creating shared goals/values
  8. Trust
  9. Commitment

The Gottman Method of couples counselling recognises that each couple is unique, and that sometimes problems arise because of mismatches in emotional responses between the two people in the relationship. In this case, counselling must not only focus on reducing negative conflict, but also on creating or enhancing opportunities for positive interactions.

What to expect from the Gottman Relationship Counselling

Utilising the Gottman Method, you will learn practical skills to improve your relationship, and methods to help you resolve conflict in a positive way.

The Initial Session

The first session consists of an interview with both partners. This 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.

Post the Initial Session

After the first session, both partners will be asked to complete a series of online questionnaires that will provide further insight into the relationship and assist in creating a road map for counselling based on the identified needs of both partners.

After the 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 three sessions serve as the assessment phase of treatment. Prior to these initial sessions, couples will attend all future sessions together. The therapist and the couple will collaborate in creating treatment goals and identifying an individualised effective course of therapy.

Goals of the Gottman Method

Counselling sessions aim to provide an empathetic and accepting environment, and safe place for each person to be able to openly and freely share their concerns and emotions. The Gottman Method is emotion-focused, experiential, and focuses on the present. It also provides couples with strategies that can be applied in the future to reduce negative feelings and increase positive resolutions to 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, rewarding, long-lasting relationship

Psychologist Offering the Gottman relationship counselling

 The following psychologist utilises the Gottman Method Couples Counselling at Westbourne Park Psychology:

John Gwiazdzinski

Want to book an appointment, or find out more about couples counselling?

 Please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to help! You can contact us on (08) 8272 7885, or email us at