Couples Therapy
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The Gottman Method of Couples Therapy

Our therapist Deborah Sheehy is Level 3 trained in the Gottman Method of Couples Therapy, is currently undertaking full Certification with the Gottman Institute and is a “Gottman Relationship Checkup” verified member. The Gottman Method of Couples Therapy is an evidence based approach based on over 45 years of research and practice by Doctors John and Julie Gottman in America. The process includes a thorough assessment of the couple relationship and integrates research-based interventions specific to the needs of each particular couple. It is considered one of the top effective therapeutic approaches for supporting couples. There are three phases with the Gottman Method, the Assessment, Treatment and Outcome-Evaluation Phase:

Assessment Phase

Initially, Deborah meets with both partners together for one session to assess your relationship, your history together and your presenting issues.

Either before or directly after this session, couples are asked to complete an online Gottman Relationship Checkup Questionnaire which pinpoints specific areas of need within the relationship and provides Deborah with a wealth of information in understanding the areas that are required to focus on for your unique relationship along with allowing her to fast-track your therapy. After this has been completed, Deborah then meets with both partners separately for one individual session each, this helps her to understand each partner’s individual needs and perspectives.

In the final part of the assessment process, Deborah meets with both partners together again for a Feedback session which includes a discussion about the results of the on-line Questionnaire along with a treatment plan designed for you where the best options available to assist you to achieve your relationship goals are discussed.

Normally the first couple session as well as the two individual sessions take place within one week and either a few days later or the following week, the Couple Feedback session takes place.

Therapeutic/Treatment Phase

The therapeutic part of the process then commences where we begin implementing the treatment plan that has been tailored for you and your partner to address the specific issues within your relationship which can include addressing areas such as: Conflict Management; Strengthening Friendship; Deepening Intimacy; Building Relationship Resilience; Building and Maintaining Connection; Creating Shared Meaning and Enhancing Passion and Romance etc.

It is recommended for best outcomes that in early part of Gottman Therapy that the sessions are closer together, weekly if possible. At the early stages, longer sessions of 75 or 90 minutes are also strongly recommended. Once things are improving for the couple and they are starting to implement the processes well at home, then there are longer gaps between sessions until the sessions are phased out.

Research from the Gottman Institute shows that the average number of sessions (after the Assessment phase) is about 15. However, depending on the level of support that is required to get the relationship back on track, it can be as little as 8 sessions or up to 20 where there is a lot of complexity or repair needed.

Outcome-Evaluaton Phase

In the later stages of therapy, we will “phase out” or meet less frequently in order for you to test out new relationship skills and to prepare for termination of therapy. In the outcome-evaluation phase, four follow-up sessions are recommended: one after six months, twelve months, eighteen months, and two years. These sessions have been demonstrated through research to significantly reduce the chance of relapse into previous, unhelpful patterns and is an opportunity to fine tune any of your relationship skills if needed, and to evaluate the effectiveness of the therapy received.

For further information on the Gottman Method Process, here is a link to the Gottman website

It is also recommend that couples get their book: “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work”.

For more information and booking details, please telephone us on 9505 6274.

IMPORTANT: Due to current Covid-19 Restrictions in Melbourne, the clinic is currently closed for massage services. All Counselling services are taking place online.

When we re-open, if you have any cold, flu, fever or respiratory symptoms, no matter how mild; or if you have been in direct contact with someone else who has these symptoms; or of if you have attended any Covid-19 Hotspots; please DO NOT ATTEND the Inner Health Solutions practice until you have received medical clearance. As part of our Covid Safe Plan clients are currently mandated to wear masks, as are therapists, to check-in to our QR system & to use the hand sanitisers provided. All Counselling services are currently taking place online.

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