The BIG BIG Book – A Couples Therapy Assessment Tool

The BIG BIG Book isn’t a fun “compatibility test” you take in 5 minutes. It’s a thorough couples therapy assessment tools that examines your relationship, from a scientific point of view. It is a part of every Intensive Marriage Retreat.

It is like a road map used at the start of a long trip. A clinical road map tells you where you're going, and what the goals are. We take the time to carefully look at your answers. Learn more below about what this assessment is, and how we use it.

How do I make an appointment to take The BIG BIG Book?

The BIG BIG Book is an assessment tools that is an integral part of a thorough and comprehensive couples therapy process, or what we call a "State of the Union." You'll receive your link to the BIG BIG Book once the Marriage Retreat is set up and paid for.  Complete your own version online, without sharing your answers. If you are doing an Online assessment, your therapist will send you a link to the Relationship Checkup by the Gottman Institute.

How difficult Is It to complete The BIG BIG Book?

Educationally, anyone with a high school education will have no trouble completing this couples assessment tool. Those with advanced degrees often “over-think” it. Try not to. It's a snapshot of your relationship, your current perspective, right now, in your relationship.  That is what your therapist needs to understand. The True/False Gottman forms are meant to be used clinically, as a guide to treatment, not as a measurement tool.

All of this takes time. Your time and our time. But when it is completed, we have a pretty clear picture of what is going on. We have a clinical road map for the type of work that will be helpful in improving your relationship. Our clients find the entire process a helpful and clarifying one.

How long will I spend on The BIG BIG Book?

This varies with the individual. For example, if you have no children, you jump over this section. Also, you don’t have to finish it in one sitting. Complete one page, then stop. You can come back whenever you have time. And if at any point, you would like to answer questions in person, you can do that too.

How quickly will I be able to get access to this tool?

Your link will be sent to you within 24 hours after receipt of payment. If you don’t receive it, drop Jessica a line. You will not be able to gain access to your answers after you complete each page (see below). If you want a record of what you wrote, please keep your responses on a separate sheet as you write.


 Dr. Gorman, I appreciated how thorough you were going through our BIG BIG Book.  I am amazed at how many times you referenced something we said or a family member we talked about by name."    ~ Recent Client

How do I complete The BIG BIG Book?

We use a confidential online computer program –the same one used to conduct scientific research — when privacy is of utmost importance.  We use the latest couples therapy assessment tools and techniques available to help us understand your relationship.

What do clinicians do with it once I finish it?

We do a number of things. As in all couples therapy assessment tools, we score them using standardized instruments. The SCL-90R, for example, looks at issues such as anxiety and depression. Depression interferes with a whole host of relationship aspects like sexual functioning, and the ability to get along. The Sexual Intimacy Scales, designed by Dr. McMahon, help us understand your sexual patterns and compatibility.

All of these many sources of information, along with material from the initial Couples Meeting, Individual Meetings, and our review of the 10-minute Videotaping segment, are integrated for the final Feedback Session.

The scores and analysis of the BIG BIG Book are for the clinician’s use and are not intended to be given to clients. 

The results are to be interpreted in the context of all the other information obtained about the couple during the assessment process including joint and individual interviews and clinical observations. The results of the questionnaires do not stand alone. A second reason it isn't handed out to clients is that each partner is encouraged to answer questions openly and honestly, free of concern about what their partner may think about their answers.

Your clinician will discuss the results of the entire assessment with both of you and suggested a treatment plan for improving and strengthening your relationship based on all the assessment information you provided.

These assessments require sensitivity as well as clinical wisdom to use them to provide a helpful therapeutic roadmap.

THIS IS NOT A COOKIE-CUTTER APPROACH.

Our clinicians go through hours of training, both in using the Gottman tools, and the many other couples therapy assessment tools we use when joining Couples Therapy Inc, in order to learn how to understand the many assessment instruments that make up this BIG BIG Book.  They also spend hours integrating this information into a usable synthesis. No two couples are alike, and therefore each Book is equally unique.

What are the costs associated with The BIG BIG Book?

There are no separate charges. The costs are integrated into your Couples Retreat fees.

How do I find out more about the State of the Union?

Go here to learn more about the types of questions we ask.

What else can be downloaded?

You will also find the following documents available to you:

  • How to Teleconference with a Flair!
  • Links to the Video Conferencing platform we use
  • If you are attending a Clinical Couples Therapy Retreat, you'll get directions to  your Couples Therapist's office and places to stay and eat locally.

If you haven’t already, you can read more about this "so much more than a" compatibility test HERE.

What can I read while I’m waiting?

Lots. You can read articles on our Blog, or watch videos on our Knowledge Base page. This site is full of useful information for couples in distress.

I'm doing an Assessment online. Do I still get the BIG BIG Book?

Those doing online assessments or Discernment Counseling receive The Relationship Checkup, designed by the Gottman Institute. Otherwise, the State of the Union is the same.

Is this State of the Union Assessment right for you?

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