What is the Gottman Method?

Drs. John & Julie Gottman, Ph.D.

John Gottman, Ph.D. has spent over 42 years studying couples and has learned to predict with over a 90% accuracy rate, which couples would end up happy, unhappy, or divorced, based on this research.

This Gottman therapy research tells us what works and what doesn't. And we can now teach you successful ways to connect to each other.

It isn't hard to learn, but it takes practice applying it to your relationship. Not brilliant insight, earth-shaking empathy, or remarkable patience.


It also requires the a belief that your relationship is in Negative Sentiment Override (NSO), a temporary state, and not permanently "doomed."

This is not long-term work, but it requires a willingness to open up and to work hard to make your relationship better.

Applying Science to Your Relationship

It's natural to argue or disagree with each other occasionally. But, when you find yourself fighting with your partner, and losing respect for each other, it's time to address the situation before it gets worse. We can work with you and your partner to help you better communicate and work through the issues that most impact your relationship.

John Gottman, Ph.D., is a researcher who has spent over 40 years studying couples throughout their lifespan. He looked at how various life events impacted relationships including...

  • Dating
  • Birth of the first child
  • Empty nest
  • Retirement

With his wife, Julie, he developed a model of Gottman therapy they called “Gottman Method Couples Therapy."

His research looked like this: 

He'd invite couples from all walks of life to his "love lab," an apartment specially designed by him to conduct his research.

Every second of their interaction, from morning until bedtime was recorded. The couples even wore physiological monitoring devices (biofeedback) to monitor their level of heart rate.

He even took blood samples. Why? Because he wanted to know how REAL relationships actually worked.

He scientifically watched and recorded the couples’ voice, gestures, movements, speech, as well as emotional and facial expressions.

He scored how they made decisions, how they used humor, how they expressed affection, and how they fought. He scored their videotapes and classified what they said while taking a specifically structured interview.

Dr. Ubiñas teaches new parents about the Gottman Method.  She is completing the Gottman Method Couples Therapy Certification Track. 

Then he followed them to see how their relationship worked out.

  • Who stayed together? 
  • Who remained happy?
  • Who got divorced?

As part of the history of Gottman Method Couples Therapy, Dr. Gottman then divided these couples into three piles: "Happy," "Unhappy," or "Divorced." He then went back to the data and asked: "What's different about these three couple groups?"

He learned to predict with over a 90% accuracy rate, which couples would end up happy, unhappy or divorced, based on this research.

If you've ever seen the TV show "Lie to Me," it is based on Dr. Ekman's work.

Drs. K and Ubiñas have completed Dr. Ekman's advanced training at an "expert" level --training designed for those whose work requires them to evaluate truthfulness and to detect deception - such as police and security personnel.

A score of 80% is "passing." A "certificate of expertise" is issued when your target score is 95% or higher.

Research You Can Benefit From

As in all Gottman therapy we record a specific structured interview (10 minutes long), as part of our assessment.

And as instructed by Gottman couples therapy, we watch our couples' facial expressions, and use Paul Ekman's work to learn how to recognize these "micro-expressions."

These happen very, very fast--at a fraction of a second.

Complete Work Online to Save You Time and Money

Gottman therapy has designed and validated a set of questionnaires specifically structured to provide a profile of strengths and weaknesses in a particular relationship. 

This provides us measurable and scientific information we can use to help you.

Not guesswork.

Our Gottman couples therapy clients complete this same set of questions (with other instruments including ones on attachment (see below), and Dr. K's own instruments on sexuality, so that your couples therapist can complete a thorough assessment. You will receive the most comprehensive review of your relationship available today.

All of us at Couples Therapy Inc. use Gottman Method Couples Therapy extensively. Drs. Wolfe, McMahonMcNulty,  Angela VoegeleHavi Kligfeld, Tim Donovan, Debbie Woodall-Caroll and Rebecca Lanier are some of about 450 Certified Gottman Couples Therapists in the World.  

Drs. Wolfe and McNulty, are also senior Gottman Trainers, teaching other therapists this model across the world.

That's more Gottman-certified therapists than any other group practice!

Ready for a change in your relationship?

It starts with a no-obligation 15 minute phone call with our client services team.

Dr. Kathy McMahon

Dr. Kathy McMahon (Dr. K) is a clinical psychologist and sex therapist. She is also the founder and president of Couples Therapy Inc. Dr. K feels passionate about couples therapy and sex therapy and holds a deep respect towards those who invest in making their relationship better. She is currently conducting online and in person private couples retreats.

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