Couples Counseling Treatment: Sound Relationship House
The Sound Relationship House is the model built by Drs. John and Julie Gottman to put together what makes up a healthy relationship. Dr. John Gottman is a famous researcher in the field of Marriage and Family Therapy, utilizing over 40 years of research into what makes love last. We have a specific way in which we structure a treatment plan and how we rebuild a struggling relationship.
Couples Counseling Treatment Steps
Build Love Maps
Love maps are the foundation of the Sound Relationship House. You can think of it in terms of friendship. When my partner and I spend intentional time checking-in with one another, we have a good understanding of what makes our partner tick. We know the co-worker that is driving them mad. The best friend our partner goes to for fun and support. We hear a song and remember our partner saying why they loved it so much. It’s knowing the very heart and mind of your partner through intentional ways of connecting on a daily basis.
Sharing Fondness and Admiration
When we look for and share the things we love and appreciate our partner on a regular basis, it can change the entire culture in the relationship. Oftentimes, when the relationship has been under a lot of stress and the interaction between you and your partner is harsh, this goes out the window. Whatever we look for we will find. Let’s work towards building a healthier, more positive view of each other.
Turn Towards Instead of Away
In other words, bids for connection. I find that couples get in one of two ruts: I won’t meet that need because my needs are going unmet or I had no idea you were wanting or needing that. We will identify each partner’s bids for connection and build a plan to meet those needs as opposed to ignoring and not recognizing those needs.
I think this one needs a blog of its own. It’s one of the main reasons for people calling into my office for an appointment. I bet you’ve tried everything to reduce conflict and make changes and it still doesn’t seem to make a difference. I’ll coach you through a specific structure of learning to connect and understand as opposed to listening to just respond. We will remove what John Gottman calls the “four horsemen of the apocalypse” which are criticism, defensiveness, contempt, and stonewalling from the dialogue. We will identify and manage the stress response that makes one or both partners go into “fight or flight”. Finally, we will learn to ask open-ended questions, share assumptions, and accept influence.
Make Life Dreams Come True and Create Shared Meaning
Do you have a dream of what you want your life to be? Does your partner support your dream and help you work towards it? As we remove conflict and increase friendship, we will begin the discussion of dreams and creating a plan towards attaining them.
This is a big one. Not all relationships suffer from an attachment injury like an affair or lying. We all ask ourselves the questions:
“Will my partner be there for me when I’m sick?
“Will I have a partner in decisions?”
“Does my partner know what matters to me or see the things I do?”
Trust is built in small moments. Together we will curate those small moments and have rituals around recognizing them.
It’s pretty self-explanatory, and most couples just assume commitment as a given. But sometimes, couples will come in not knowing if the relationship is worth fighting for. If that’s the case, we will assess where each partner is at when it comes to commitment, and provide straight-forward and supportive tools.
No matter where you’re starting from, there is hope. And with the right roadmap, you and your partner can get back on the path towards having the kind of relationship you’ve dreamed is possible.