May Is Mental Health Awareness Month-“How Does the Gottman Method Help Relationships?”

May Is Mental Health Awareness Month.  Every week during the month of May Crossroads will post a blog focused on helping you and those you love to be mentally, relationally, and emotionally healthy.  The second post for Mental Health Awareness is, “How Does the Gottman Method Help Relationships?”

The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse is a term coined by Dr. John Gottman.  The Gottman method has seen a steady stream of popularity for years. It’s a science-backed approach to helping, healing, and restoring relationships, and one of the reasons why it continues to stand the test of time is that it’s so effective.

That effectiveness shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s rooted in research and focuses on both positive and negative interactions, and how they can impact a relationship.

If you’ve heard of the Gottman method but you’re not sure if it’s right for your relationship, let’s take a closer look at why it works so well, and how it might be able to help your marriage.

The Four Horsemen

One of the first things you’ll learn about when utilizing the Gottman Method is the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. It sounds scarier than it is, but it refers to four behaviors that are common destroyers of relationships. They include:


Do any of these issues sound familiar? Your therapist will help you recognize some of these issues within your relationship so you can change negative interactions into positive ones. Once you have an understanding of the problems in your relationship, you can start working on the Sound Relationship House Theory—the foundation of the Gottman Method.

Building Your House

The goal of this method is to help you and your partner build a firm foundation for a strong, healthy home. To do that, you’ll go through several stages or “floors” throughout your sessions, including:

Building love maps
Sharing admiration
Turning toward each other
Viewing each other positively
Managing conflict
Championing each other’s dreams
Creating shared meaning
Trusting and committing to your relationship

As you go through each floor, you won’t just work on creating something temporary. Rather, you’ll build individual skills and skills as a couple that will help you keep your home strong and stable for years to come.

What Are the Benefits?

The best part about the Gottman Method is that it’s backed by science and research. It isn’t designed to be a quick fix for couples in trouble. Rather, it’s meant to help you on a long-term basis by teaching the skills needed to navigate your relationship. You should leave each session with new knowledge in your toolbox, and an idea of actionable steps you can take outside of therapy to work on your marriage.

Multiple studies have shown the effectiveness of the method and its benefits, which include things like:

Improved skills within the relationship
Education on the components of a healthy relationship
Conflict-solving skills
Deeper emotional connections
Shared goals

It’s important to know what to expect before you commit to this method. Your therapist will likely want a comprehensive background on your relationship. That often includes answering a detailed questionnaire.

Even something as simple as establishing a background can make you more aware of the issues in your relationship and what you need to work on. It can serve as a baseline for everyone involved, so your therapist knows which issues (or “horsemen”) are causing problems.

You might be surprised by the end of your sessions to see how much you’ve grown with your partner. You’ll realize that, no matter what, you’re on the same team. Those little problems might seem more insignificant when you know you have the skills to deal with them effectively.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Gottman Method, feel free to contact me for information. Your relationship doesn’t need to be falling apart for this method to be effective. But, if you can recognize that you’re going through some struggles, or you feel like something is missing from your communication habits, it’s worth giving this tried-and-true method a chance.

Next Steps

There are a few things that are off-limits during a therapy session, but fighting isn’t one of them. There’s a good chance your couples therapist has seen it all. You won’t be the first couple attending therapy that fights during a session. In fact, if you showed up to the session saying you didn’t fight at all, that may be a bigger concern to your therapist. Call us at 623-680-3486,text 623-688-5115, or email  You can ask all the questions you have and see if couples therapy at Crossroads is the right fit for you and your partner. You can also learn more about Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) as well. Our offices are conveniently located throughout the Valley of the Sun including Phoenix, Anthem, Online in Arizona, and Scottsdale. We would be honored to support you in better understanding your relationship. You can start your therapy journey by following these simple steps:

  1. Contact Crossroads Counseling
  2. Meet with a Gottman couples therapist
  3. Begin addressing your relationship