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.
Most also have additional models they use. We all have a basis in science, to keep the guesswork out of it. Our goal?
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, science-based therapy. Interventions 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 was developed out of this research to help couples:
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.
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"
"…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.”
Every element of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy all have research support:
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. A guided conversation with clinically-proven skills can heal these broken bonds.
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.
Sue Johnson is founding Director of the International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy and Distinguished Research Professor at Alliant University in San Diego, California, as well as Professor Emeritus, Clinical Psychology, at the University of Ottawa, Canada.
Like Dr. Gottman, Dr. Johnson has received a multitude of awards acknowledging her development of EFT and her significant contribution to the field of couple and family therapy and adult attachment.
Sue has been appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honor recognizing outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to Canada. In 2016, she was named Psychologist of the Year by APA, and has been honored by AAMFT for her Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Couple and Family Therapy. For those who want to learn more, here is a link to the scores of clinical papers attesting to the 75-90% effectiveness of Emotionally-Focused Couples Therapy:
Learn More about Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy
In 2013, the now famous "Summit" was held featuring Drs. John & Julie Gottman and Dr. Sue Johnson.
This two-day conference was packed with couples therapists as these three giants discussed interventions, theory, and practical application. Many of our team members eagerly attended.
These thought-leaders sat on two couches around a coffee table and had a conversation as if we were all in one huge living room. They explored the differences and similarities in their theories. Most of the time they highly complimentary, and even reverent. But sometimes they were respectfully passionate about the nuances and differences in their approaches.
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.
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Healing Relationships Worldwide
Want to learn more about Couples Therapy Inc.? Schedule a time to speak to our trained Intake Coordinator, Cindy, in your time zone with the scheduler below. She will listen to you, ask you questions and help you to decide if this is right for you. Learn more about how science-based couples counseling can help your relationship anywhere in the world. It's our specialty!