Although it may not seem like it, most spouses don’t want to engage in regular conflict and drift farther apart from one another. So why does this happen? There are many reasons that relationships undergo these painful changes, and couples can receive the most effective marriage counseling in the state to give them the help they need to uncover them.
Developed over the last 40 plus years, the Gottman Method of relationship therapy has helped hundreds of thousands of couples across the country and around the world to prevent and treat relationship problems, and this program is what Aletheia Marriage Counseling offers serving Bozeman and across Montana. The goal of Gottman Method therapists is to:
This method of marriage counseling recognizes that conflict in committed relationships is normal and necessary. However, therapists have discovered that a couple’s ability to remain together depends on how they navigate conflict and the emotions they express.
The Gottman Method of marriage therapy is based on something called the Sound Relationship House theory. The “house” is a metaphor for a relationship, consisting of seven “floors,” which are:
And, the two weight-bearing walls of the house are building trust and commitment.
In addition to the Sound Relationship House theory, the Gottman Method also focuses on conflict resolution during therapy sessions.
The Gottman Method identifies two main conflict types: resolvable and perpetual, with the latter being the case for the majority of relationships.
Whether a couple’s problems are perpetual or resolvable, the Gottman Method of spousal therapy is used by marriage counselors to address all manner of common issues within a partnership, including emotional distance, frequent arguing, and infidelity, to name a few.
Each of the couples receiving Gottman marriage counseling sessions learn steps they can take to replace negative patterns with healthy and positive ones. Couples also learn how to prevent the recurrence of the negative patterns that caused them to seek out therapy initially.
All spouses, regardless of cultural identity, class, race, or level of commitment can benefit from therapy with the Gottman Method. Whether you are living together, soon-to-be married or are co-parenting with a former partner, Gottman Method marriage counseling serving Bozeman, MT helps improve communication and strengthen relationships.
Aletheia Marriage Counseling Service, established in 1979, by Jim Ramsey, the very first fully certified Gottman Therapist in Montana is proud to be able to offer this highly effective form of couples therapy.
Every couple is unique, and has unique relationship issues. As well, no single form of couples therapy will work for all partners. That’s why Aletheia offers a wide range of marriage counseling options.
Our couples group therapy option gives partners the opportunity to experience counseling in a group setting. This helps partners to learn from the struggles, and support the goals of the others who are participating in couples therapy.
This option takes place in 90-minute counseling sessions, and allows for discussion of relationship insights learned by each of the couples through their counseling and reading as well as well as input from the group therapist. These couples groups can occur in person or on line.
Partners who prefer to receive couples therapy on their own can choose individual couples counseling. This more private form of marriage counseling helps couples improve their communication skills, and provides them with important tools that can be applied to their daily lives for relationship improvement. The therapist helps couples stay on track with their goals by intervening when necessary.
Jim Ramsey, our fully certified Gottman therapist, leads couples workshop weekends. The focus of this couples therapy experience is on the seven floors of the Sound Relationship House. Workshop participants receive a workbook, which helps identify problem areas, and work together towards conflict resolution.
During private intensive couples therapy retreats, couples have the opportunity to discover the reasons behind their emotions toward their relationships.
This particular option allows partners to condense many weekly counseling sessions into a single weekend. Intensive marriage counseling retreats take place at Placid Lake in the Seeley Lake area and consist of 16 hours of counseling distributed over 3 days from Friday to Sunday.
Couples choose the weekend retreat for a number of reasons. They may wish to achieve significant progress in a short period of time. Or, their relationship may be in crisis, and they wish to address it as soon as possible with intensive couples therapy.
This option is also ideal for busy partners who may not have the time to devote to a long series of counseling sessions, who prefer to travel once to therapy instead of making weekly trips, or whose opposing schedules make attending weekly therapy together difficult or impossible.
Weekend retreats allow couples to achieve significant, positive, and meaningful changes in their relationship, in a relaxed and stress free, which is structured and yet customized and flexible.
Full commitment by both partners to strengthen their relationship is a definite prerequisite for marriage counseling with a Gottman therapist. This commitment will extend to the intensity and rigorousness of this couples therapy, which demands that both partners do the necessary and considerable work involved in relationship repair. Studying a Gottman Marriage Manual based on 35 years of intensive longitudinal research with 3000 couples and taking a marriage inventory, also based on this research to diagnose your relational challenges are required before attending an Intensive Weekend. No wonder that this approach to marriage counseling produces such an extremely high success rate.
Although the Gottman Method of relationship counseling offers many benefits for partners who don’t yet have problems, it’s not beneficial if only one partner wishes to heal their relationship. Couples involved in physically violent relationships should always consult a domestic violence therapist.
It’s also strongly suggested that individuals experiencing domestic violence call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for help from trained individuals: 1-800-799-7233.
For couples, counseling can be a very emotional and stressful experience. That being said, there are many things you can do to prepare for couples therapy.
The first thing to do is to be realistic by understanding that it is a three-part responsibility. Your therapist is there to listen and facilitate understanding between the two of you, and you are each responsible for completing the necessary work during and between couples therapy sessions to resolve your issues. Without all three parts, the experience and its results will be incomplete.
You should also understand that, although the troubles you and your spouse are experiencing can feel insurmountable, they are in no way untreatable. In fact, counseling reveals the keys to not only treating existing relationship problems, but also preventing future problems before they can gain traction.
Discussing your fears and goals of counseling with one another before your first session can be incredibly helpful. To start the conversation, write down what you think your most serious problems are. Then, record how you each typically manage your conflicts, and how you would prefer to manage them.
Knowing what to expect is another way to prepare you both for couples counseling. For the Gottman Method, you’ll both participate together in an assessment session. During this session, the therapist gains a global picture of the relationship. Then, an individual session will be scheduled for each of you so the therapist can understand and appreciate each of your perspectives and feelings.
Couples may also be asked to complete Gottman Method questionnaires, which reveals detailed information about how you both operate in your marriage. The therapist uses the data gained in the initial sessions and the Gottman Couples Check Up Inventory to provide the couple with full feedback and their custom treatment plan.
Information included in the therapist’s feedback includes:
Once the decision has been made to continue with therapy, the counselor helps couples begin the work of building their sound relationship house through improved interactions, replacing negative patterns with positive, and improving their friendship, along with interventions by their professional counselor.
Increasing division can cause long-term damage to a relationship. Misunderstandings due to communication issues can make partners feel misunderstood, and the problem can be compounded when partners cease to talk about their problems.
Spouses experiencing the pain, betrayal, and destruction of trust from infidelity may feel it’s impossible to recover. But when spouses agree to commit to counseling together, they can renew their commitment to one another and help each other heal with the Gottman-based counseling offered through Aletheia Marriage Counseling. We proudly serve Bozeman residents with virtual counseling options, as well as in-person marriage retreats at our facility in Seeley Lake.
How can you get the process started if your spouse is not interested or completely against the idea of couples therapy?
Approach them in a non-threatening way by using “we” statements. For example, “We could really benefit from couples counseling,” or “An uninvolved party (counselor) would be able to help us resolve our problems.” This can remove any threatening language which can increase anxiety about seeing a counselor.
If both partners agree that it’s time to seek the help of a professional relationship counselor, all that’s needed is to call Aletheia at (406) 251-7073, or send Gottman counselor Jim Ramsey a message online.