Updated: Aug 8
I honestly never thought I would be providing therapy to couples. However after time and time of hearing one perspective of the issues in the relationship I wanted to hear the other partner’s perspective in order to provide the best support. That’s when I realized the best way was to provide couples therapy in order to help with the common concerns of improving communication, decreasing conflicts, and understanding each other’s love language more.
Importance of Conflict Resolution
Conflict is inevitable. Learning how to solve conflict is a skill that must be taught. That’s where I come in! From what I have seen, there seems to be one person in the relationship that wants to solve conflict immediately while the other person needs a break to cool off.
Understanding each other’s attachment style and how to make sure you are getting your needs met while also not ignoring or abandoning your partner. Unresolved conflict ultimately leads to anger and resentment. So taking the time to develop strong conflict resolution skills can save your relationship.
Overview of the Gottman Method
Like I mentioned, couples therapy was never on my radar as a service I wanted to provide. However when I decided to take the leap I knew I wanted to get more formal training and went with the Gottman Couples Method. Gottman was developed by Drs John and Julie Gottman. It is research based and focuses on skills to help couples build a stronger relationship with one another. The three main components of Gottman Couples Method is friendship, conflict management, and creation of shared meaning.
Couples Counseling Enhances Conflict Resolution Skills
As a couples therapist my main goal and responsibility is to facilitate effective conflict resolution between a couple. Utilizing the Gottman Couples Method I can provide guidance and tools to improve communication.
Examples of some of my favorite activities to have couples role play is active listening to promote understanding and the four horsemen to better recognize patterns of damaging behaviors during arguments. Maintaining a safe and non-judgmental environment is critical for open honest dialogue and creating change.
Building Emotional Awareness and Empathy
Having emotional awareness during a conflict can help bring about a resolution more quickly. Couples that I have worked with that lack emotional awareness and don’t make any efforts to learn what their partner may need from them continue to repeat the same cycle of arguments. If you feel stuck and need help with how to best support your partner during conflict, that’s where I come in.
A couples therapist can help partners recognize and express their emotions while emphasizing the role of empathy in understanding each other's perspectives. One of Gottman’s first activities is titled "Love Maps." This exercise was created to learn more about your partner and to deepen emotional connection.
Developing Effective Problem-Solving Strategies
People enter into therapy wanting results and to improve their relationship and couples therapy can do just that! Couples counseling focuses on teaching couples problem-solving skills. While getting results is important, with a couples therapist you have the opportunity to identify underlying issues and find mutually acceptable solutions.
My role is to work with both partners and not take sides. Therapists should teach and model techniques such as compromise, negotiation, and win-win outcomes.
Strengthening the Relationship
Couples therapy is not just for when there’s conflict or turmoil in the relationship. Many people enter into couples therapy to learn more about one another with an unbiased person to help guide conversations and facilitate growth. Couples therapy helps partners build trust, intimacy, and resilience. Investing in your relationship creates the potential for increased satisfaction and longevity in the relationship.
How We Can Help
interested in learning more about the Gottman Couples Method or scheduling a session?
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Other Therapy Services Available at Catalyss Counseling:
Here at Catalyss Counseling, we want to meet all of your counseling needs in the Denver area. Our supportive therapists provide depression counseling, therapy for caregiver stress, grief and loss therapy, stress management counseling, couples counseling, and more. We also have specialists in trauma and PTSD, women's issues, pregnancy and postpartum depression or anxiety, pregnancy loss and miscarriage, and birth trauma. For therapists, we can also provide clinical supervision! We look forward to connecting with you to help support your journey today.
Natalie Thomas is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and Clinical Supervisor for Firelight Supervision. She is trained in Gottman Couples Therapy levels 1 and 2. She is currently taking in-person appointments! She also provides group and individual clinical supervision for provisionally licensed counselors and social workers, along with clinical consultation for independently licensed therapists under Firelight Supervision.