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The Big Big Book

Lesson 2 Chapter 1 Module 1

Who likes to fill out online forms?

We know it's not a pleasure for most people. But many couples respond differently to The BIG BIG Book. It's a time to calm down by yourself and reflect on your life.

You'll be asked to examine various problematic aspects of your relationship. You'll also learn what's still going well between you.

Each and every question in The BIG BIG Book provides your couples therapist with essential information they'll need in order to help both of you.

The BIG BIG Book helps you move into the present and examine your relationship in a new way. You start to put things into perspective. The frame of the problem becomes clearer. You learn how many issues you have which don't have anything to do with your relationship.

The BIG BIG Book isn’t a fun “compatibility test” you take in 5 minutes.

It’s a thorough couples therapy assessment tool that examines your relationship from a scientific point of view. It is a part of every Intensive Couples Retreat.

It's like a road map used at the start of a long trip. A clinical road map tells you where you're going, and what the goals are. We take the time to carefully look at your answers. Learn more below about what this assessment is and how we use it.

Does everyone get the same feedback?


Our clinicians go through hours of training, both in using the Gottman tools, and the many other couples therapy assessment tools we use when joining Couples Therapy Inc, in order to learn how to understand the many assessment instruments that make up The BIG BIG Book. They also spend hours integrating this information into a usable synthesis before presenting it to you. Take notes. No two couples are alike, and therefore each Book is equally unique.

Will I get a copy of it?

No. If you want to record your answers, cut and paste them into a word processing program, such as Word.

The results of the questionnaires do not stand alone. The scores and analysis of the BIG BIG Book are for the clinician’s use, not clients. The results are interpreted in the context of all information obtained about the couple during the assessment process including joint and individual interviews and clinical observations.  In addition, you are asked to answer questions openly and honestly, free of concern about what their partner may think about their answers. They don't see yours, you don't see theirs.

Interpreting these assessments require clinical sensitivity and wisdom. We'll provide you with a thorough therapeutic roadmap during the feedback session.

How much does it cost?

There are no separate charges for retreat clients. The costs are integrated into your clinical fees.

How long does it take to complete?

This varies with the individual. For example, if you have no children, you jump over this section. Also, you don’t have to finish it in one sitting. Complete one page, then stop. You can come back whenever you have time. And if at any point, you would like to answer questions in person, you can do that too (we'll take time during our work to schedule a separate meeting for this.)

We ask that you send a note to our administrator once it is complete, and that you complete it at least one week ahead of your Couple feedback session (sooner is even better.)

It is hard to fill out?

Educationally, anyone with a high school education will have no trouble completing this couples assessment tool. Those with advanced degrees or the neurodiverse often “over-think” it. Try not to.

It's a snapshot of your relationship, your current perspective, right now, in your relationship.  That is what your therapist needs to understand. The True/False Gottman forms are meant to be used clinically, as a guide to treatment, not as a measurement tool. If it's mostly true, put "TRUE."

All of this takes time. Your time and our time. But when it is completed, we have a pretty clear picture of what is going on. We have a clinical road map for the type of work that will be helpful in improving your relationship. Our clients find the entire process a helpful and clarifying one.