Every couple experiences conflict. Relationships and conflict can be a normal part of marriage provided the conflict is handled in a manner that is healthy and even productive. It not so much whether or not conflict is present but more a matter of how a couple handles their conflict.
At St. Charles Counseling, we use the Gottman method as one of the approaches to marriage therapy. Dr. Gottman, an highly esteemed psychological researcher and clinician who developed mathematical models, scales, and formulas to identify the elements of stability in relationships and the interactive patterns that can predict divorce among married couples. The Gottman method is a proven marital therapy method developed thru extensive research conducted over a 40 year period that was focused on the predictors of divorce and stability in marriage.
He calls these four predictive factors the Four Horsemen:
1. Criticism of the partner’s personality
3. Stonewalling, or refusing to interact
Couples who practice the antidotes to these predictive factors, encouraging one another are more likely to have a healthier, functioning and more successful relationship. When a couple learns to more effectively treat one another with consideration and support – their relationship can thrive and grow!
Marriage Counseling that Works
Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) is also part of the marriage counseling offered at St. Charles counseling. EFT is a culmination of Dr. Sue Johnson’s research with thousands of couples over 35 years. The evidence has become clear that we now have a clear definition of what love is: It’s the continual search for a basic, secure connection with someone else. Through this bond, partners in love become emotionally dependent on each other for nurturing, secure attachment and protection. Although our culture has framed dependency as a bad thing or even a weakness, healthy interdependence between couples most certainly is not. In fact it’s a strength that has it’s own power. Being attached to someone provides our greatest sense of security and safety. It means depending on a partner to respond when you call, to know that you matter to him or her, that you are cherished, and that he or her will respond to your emotional needs.
St. Charles Counseling equips couples with the tools from both these method and an understanding of how to effectively treat and love one another in a manner that will strengthen and grow their relationship. The goal is to increase closeness and friendship behaviors, to secure the emotional bond between you so you don’t just survive – but thrive. The Gottman Method and Emotionally Focused Therapy customizes principles from research to each unique couple’s patterns and obstacles.