Craig Tucker, LCSW


Gottman Relationship Therapy Treatment Methods

The Gottman Method has several unique components that differentiate it from traditional couples therapy:

1. The length of sessions.

Traditional couples therapy is done in a 45 min therapy hour. The Gottman Method doubles that time to 90 minutes weekly (or more often). The longer session allows the time for each partner to fully process their perception of an issue, reflect understanding, and to practice application of new principles for better repairs. Dr. Gottman has demonstrated that the more time you focus early in treatment the better the results. The 90 minute at least weekly approach is clearly better than traditional 45 minutes sessions but the very best option is a Marathon Session.

Marathon Sessions

Dr. John Gottman has reported the best results from using the marathon approach.  Marathons are 16.5 hours of assessment and therapy over one weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) plus 1.5 hours of individual assessment prior to the weekend (total of 18 hours).  The structure is as follows:

  • A 45 min. individual assessment for each partner arranged prior to the start of the marathon.  These can be done in my office or via video conference on my website.
  • All Gottman Assessment forms must be completed on line prior to the start of the marathon.
  • Day 1 Friday
    • 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM History of the relationship and video assessment.  Review of Gottman Assessment Survey data and treatment plan.
    • 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM Lunch
    • 2:00 -5:00 PM  Couples therapy session, introduction to Gottman Principles
  • Day 2 Saturday
    • 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM Couples therapy session.
    • 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM Lunch
    • 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM  Couples therapy session.
  • Day 3 Sunday
    • 12:00 PM to 4:30 PM Couples therapy session.  Consolidating gains, creating a relapse prevention plan, and scheduling follow up.

The fee for a 3 day Marathon session is $3840.00.  Contact me directly by phone or on my discussion board to arrange dates.

2. The assessment

Video with integrated pulse ox feedback.

In traditional couples therapy assessment and treatment planning take place in the first session and may or may not involve standardized relationship surveys. The Gottman Method assessment is multidimensional over multiple days. We assess the relationship as well as each partner individually. We also assess each individual’s physiological response to conflict in the relationship. The assessment covers each component of the Gottman Sound Relationship House theory. It takes place over three 90 minute assessment sessions. In the first session we take an in depth relationship history.  We also do a video assessment in which we also assess the relationships conflict style and each partner’s level of physiological arousal in a conflict.  Between the first and second assessment sessions, each partner will complete more than 30 pages of assessment surveys (done on line at this web site). On the second day of assessment we spend 45 minutes with each partner for individual assessments. And on the third day we review all the data together to make a goals and plan that addresses the specific needs or your unique relationship. For some couples the information they gain out of the Gottman assessment process alone is sufficient for them to make the changes they need. The total fee for three days of assessment is $380 x 3 = $1140.00.

3. The treatment

We do not start treatment until the assessment phase is completed. Treatment sessions are 90 minutes and at least once a week in the beginning.  Every session focuses on addressing the layers of the Sound Relationship House. Therapy addresses what ever the couple brings in to the session whether it involves current concerns or old hurts. In dealing with old hurts and betrayals, we work to create a safe environment where every wound can be soothed. In dealing with the day to day struggles of life, specific conversations are facilitated. Methods and principles are practiced in the session that have been demonstrated to increase safety, and mutual understanding. We develop compromise where possible and acceptance where differences are likely to persist. Video recording and physiological monitoring are also integral to Gottman Therapy sessions as a teaching tools. As the principles are mastered we lengthen out the space between sessions and can decrease the time to 45 minutes. Little by little we fade out the need for a therapist in the relationship.

4. The follow up

At three to six months we revisit our work together and tune up any areas that may have been neglected. Tuneup sessions are welcome as often as needed.

5. A Brief Overview By Dr. John Gottman

To learn more about Gottman Method Relationship Therapy see my resources page at this link: Gottman Resources