Evidence-based practices are treatments that are based directly on scientific evidence. This evidence links particular sets of behaviors and symptoms, with treatment designed to intervene, lessen, or alleviate this distress. Most evidence-based practices were studied in several large-scale clinical trials, involving thousands of patients.
Then, a careful comparison is made between the effectiveness of one “treatment” vs. the efficacy of another (or no treatment at all, like a wait-list group). When one treatment is consistently proven to be superior to another, it is labeled “Evidence-based Practice” (EBP).
Emotionally-focused couples therapy has been tested against other modalities in this way.
Other researchers have studied a variety of couples themselves, in a laboratory setting, and followed them over decades. These studies, like the ones Dr. Gottman has conducted, are science-based, linking actual interactional patterns firmly to marital happiness or divorce outcomes.
Gottman Method Couples Therapy is a structured, goal-oriented, scientifically-based therapy. Intervention strategies are based upon empirical data from Dr. Gottman’s four decades of research with more than 3,000 couples.
Gottman Method Couples Therapy combines the knowledge and wisdom of four decades of Gottman research and clinical practice. Through research-based interventions and exercises, couples learn to break through barriers and achieve greater understanding, connection, and intimacy in their relationships.
Gottman Method Couples Therapy is a structured, goal-oriented, scientifically-based therapy. Intervention strategies are based on empirical data from Dr. Gottman’s four decades of research with more than 3,000 couples. This research shows us what works to help couples achieve a healthy long-term relationship. The Gottman Method Couples Therapy was developed out of this research to help couples:
* Break through and resolve conflicts when they feel stuck
* Increase respect, affection, and closeness
* Generate greater understanding between partners
* Keep conflict discussions calm.
If your couples therapists asks you to re-phrase your criticism another way, into a “complaint,” or asks you to start your sentence off a bit more gently, you know this is a Gottman Method intervention. Criticism is one of the Four Horsemen Gottman describes as bearers of bad marriages. Read more about The Four Horsemen.
Learn More about Gottman Method Couples Therapy.
Learning to love someone means knowing what’s realistic to accept and what’s not.
Sue Johnson, Ph.D. is the co-founder of the “Emotionally Focused” model of therapy. Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy has demonstrated its effectiveness with couples in over 25 years of clinical research. Dr. Johnson describes patterns that couples engage in, in to attempt to meet their intimacy needs.
Her model helps couples learn what these steps are in their dance, and how to change them. What we “think,” we now knows most often follows what we feel. Feelings engage us, engross us, capture our attention immediately.
When we live with a person who is sensitive and responsive to our needs, we feel safe and cared for. When that doesn’t happen, however, there are predictable ways we respond, based upon our earliest history. These Johnson calls “Dances.” When they work, they are like a Tango. When they don’t, they are demonic dances: Demon Dances.
These predictable “dances” are based upon “attachment style.” Attachment styles are the way we connect and rely on important others. Attachment styles are a significant predictor of relationship satisfaction. Distressed relationships are often insecure bonds. This means that an individual can’t get basic healthy attachment needs met because of rigid interaction patterns (“demon dances”) that block emotional connections. I provide my couples with a popular attachment instrument, and begin treatment with a fundamental understanding of each of your attachment styles. It guides our work.
Watch as series of short movies about this under the title:
"Couples Therapy Videos Explaining Attachment"
Every element of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy all have research support:
"…When we live with a person who is sensitive and responsive to our needs, we feel safe and cared for. When that doesn’t happen, however, there are predictable ways we respond, based upon our earliest history. These Johnson calls “Dances.” When they work, they are like a Tango. When they don’t, they are demonic: "Demon Dances.”
It is important in this work to help couples to recognize deep attachment injuries and have the tools to heal them.
These are times when one or both really needed the other, and felt that you were let down.
These have happened at some point in your relationship, maybe years ago, but it never got resolved. The goal is to help you to work through these attachment injuries.
If you hear your couples therapist say gently: “What would it be like to tell him/her that? Right now?” you know it is an emotionally-focused couples therapy intervention.
You can watch Sue Johnson, Ph.D. working with a real couple here.
If you would like to work with a clinician who’s major focus is emotionally focused couples therapy, just ask. We have several on our team.
Learn More about Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy
Evidence-based models clearly have a place in any qualified Couples Therapists Toolkit. However, many severely problematic couples aren’t helped by evidence-based models, as they may not be “overly represented” in the sample that the researcher selects for research.
It makes sense.
If you can exclude those couples that have low motivation for treatment, or who have consulted an attorney, or filed for divorce, you are likely to get better research “results.”
For this reason, many of our clinicians have chosen to train with The Bader/Pearson Model of Couples Therapy, called The Developmental Model. This approach works with the absolute toughest of cases. It is a clinically effective (vs. research based) model of couples therapy and provides excellent and useful strategies.
All clinicians are exposed to the Developmental Model as part of their Network Affiliative status. Dr. McMahon, and Nancy St. John have been granted the right to teach this method to clinicians.
Drs. Ellyn Bader & Pete Pearson - Founders of the Developmental Model talking about their own marriage
…We say “manage” conflict rather than “resolve” conflict, because relationship conflict is natural and has functional, positive aspects. Understand that there is a critical difference in handling perpetual problems and solvable problems.”
Happiness doesn’t just happen. It takes knowing what to do differently.
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