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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Louise is a trained couple therapist and has been working very successfully with couples for many years.

She uses several methods of couple therapy depending on the presenting issues.

However, two approaches which are heavily evidence based include the work of John Gottman (2007) and Sue Johnson (2011).

Gottman's method

Over a thirty year period Gothman's (2007) method of therapy emerged after they had observed and analysed thousands of couples in their “Love Lab.” Drawing from the fields of neuroscience and research they aquired the first real glimpse into the inner workings of marraige. They began to look at what went right in happy marraiges and out of the finding came three key concepts to develop therapeutic goals. They were in the areas of dealing with conflict, emphasising the couples shared meaning and building and repairing friendship and love. Gottman stated that “At the heart of my programme is the simple truth that happy marraiges are based on a deep friendship, with mutual respect for and enjoyment of each others company” (Gottman 2007 p. 19). The research also developed seven principles that make marraige work and several useful worksheets and questionairs to complete with couples. They include methods of identifying the four main behaviours that kill a relationship. Gottman (2007) calls them the “four hoursemen” they include criticism, defensiveness, contempt and stonewalling. If you add in “failure to repair attempts”, Gottman is able to predict divorce to an accuracy rate of 90 percent (Gottman 2007 p. 40).

The work of Sue Johnson

Dr Sue Johnson (2008) is one of the worlds leading therapists, lecturer and theorist in the field of couple therapy and has developed a highly effective therapy program called Emotion Focused Couple Therapy (EFT). Relational conflict is reframed in terms of a negative interaction cycle in which both partners have sought and failed to meet their needs for closeness and attachment security (Johnson, 2008).

Johnson teaches couples to nurture their relationships and identify ways to re-establish a secure emotional attachment. This model has received an astounding 75 percent success rate (Johnson 2008). Couples fall into the pattern of demand and withdraw or criticize and defend, it is as if they are wired to protest. One partner becomes demanding or protesting and the other withdraws. One pulls and the other pushes away, Johnson (2008) describes this as the “dance”. She then encourage both partners to create their own name for these behaviors and discuss them in an objective manner. Here the therapist job is to help them recognise the dance and admit their need for emotional connection and create a space where emotional intimacy can happen.

A full assessment is completed on the initial session to ascertain what method of therapy most suits the individual couple.


Vital Conexions Vital connections Relationship Builders Middlesex University ICHAS college
Dip in Christian counselling (Year: 2005) Post traumatic stress debriefing Adventures in Intimacy BSc in counselling and Psychotherapy (Hons) M.A. CBT

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