The Gottman Method vs EFT

Katy Kandaris-Weiner, LPC

Solving problems together is crucial for having a healthy relationship. One of the best ways to learn how to do this is through couples counseling.

There are two well known methods when it comes to couples counseling:

  • The Gottman Method
  • Emotionally Focussed Therapy (EFT) 

Inner Balance utilizes both of these in couples counseling depending on each couple and their situation. Both are effective, and both have the goal of strengthening relationships. The differences between these styles of therapy lies in how they achieve that goal. 

What Is The Gottman Method?

The Gottman Method was developed over decades to help couples improve intimacy, communication, and trust. The counselor helps the couple identify negative behavior patterns and interactions and then learn ways to make them more positive.

How Does It Work?

The Gottman Method is most famous for the development of the Sound House Theory. The steps to improve interaction patterns can be visualized as a literal house. 

The two load-bearing walls are trust and commitment. They’re considered the two most important components in problem solving.

Inside the house are seven floors. Each floor is a crucial step to improving interactions and communication. Each one is meant to build off the previous floor.

Floor 1: Love Maps

The goal of this floor is to ensure that you know each other. This is done by making “maps” that have you and your partners likes and dislikes, best friends, fears—both superficial and deep parts of them that makes them unique.

Floor 2: Sharing Fondness and Admiration

When you explore this floor, you’re meant to share things that you love and admire about your partner. This can be their calm disposition, their sense of humor—think about what makes them attractive.

Floor 3: Turn Towards, Not Away

This floor teaches you to turn towards your partner in a time of need. When you need something—from a hug, to advice, to a half gallon of milk from the store—you put in a “bid” for them to help. 

Floor 4: The Positive Perspective

The fourth floor teaches you to see conflict from a positive perspective. Give your partner the benefit of the house, and learn how you can resolve things together.

Floor 5: Conflict Management

As one of the most crucial steps, conflict management teaches you and your partner how to communicate during disagreements and lessen the stress they cause. Even in times of disagreement, you should have respect and love for each other.

Floor 6: Make Life Dreams Come True

Here, you and your partner analyze your life goals and make plans to achieve them. This includes both your goals as individuals and as a couple. 

Floor 7: Create Shared Meaning

This step is where a genuine partnership appears. You’ve established positive behaviors and interactions, now it’s time to move forward together.

Read more about the Gottman Method here.

How Does It Help?

The biggest strength of the Gottman Method is how much it helps with emotional intimacy and communication. You and your partner learn not only how to handle conflict, but you also learn positive interaction patterns that should lessen the number of conflicts you have. The creator of the Gottman Method, Dr. John Gottman, found that successful relationships have five positive interactions for every negative one. 

Related Articles: What to do if You Yell at Your Partner, What to do if Your Partner Yells at You

What Is EFT?

Emotionally focused therapy, or EFT, is a form of psychotherapy used to improve and repair relationships through emotional bonding and experiences. This method focuses on the emotional side of the relationship and reading attachment patterns in couples.

EFT was designed for couples that are more emotionally led.  EFT helps dissolves feelings of fear, anger, and distrust.

How Does It Work?

EFT was created by Dr. Sue Johnson and Dr. Leslie Greenberg. It has five basic steps that repeat as often as necessary. It can be seen as a cycle that requires you and your partner to follow.

  1. Be aware of emotions
  2. Express emotions
  3. Regulate emotions
  4. Make sense of emotions
  5. Transform dysfunctional emotions

You and your partner, under the guidance of your counselor, will practice and repeat these steps until your relationship is in an emotionally healthy place. You and your partner need to be vocal and honest about how you feel so you can progress effectively. 

How Does It Help?

EFT helps couples become more aware of their emotions and how they affect the other person. Both of you learning to be cognizant of your emotions allows you to express, regulate, make sense of, and transform them together.

Typically lasting 8-20 sessions, the practices and application of EFT allows you and your partner to work together emotionally—not only observing each other, but experiencing emotions together. Ultimately, this is meant to strengthen your relationship.

Couples counseling is vital to problem solving, mending, and bonding between you and your partner. At Inner Balance, we specialize in couples counseling and provide both the Gottman Method and EFT. Contact us today to get started.

Is Gottman or EFT Right For My Relationship?

Depending on what brought you to therapy, deciding between EFT or the Gottman Method can be a challenging decision. While they are both generally focused on lessening conflict and distress in relationships, they do serve different purposes. 

Is Your Focus Your Communication or Your Reactions?

The primary difference between EFT and the Gottman Method is what kind of conflict they aim to resolve. The Gottman Method is focused on repairing trust and improving communication. It’s generally recommended for couples who feel they argue too much or if one or both partners are closed off.

EFT focuses on the emotional and reactive side of the relationship. While both methods can improve on how you react to conflict, EFT hones in on emotional distress. Both people in the relationship learn to regulate their emotions in order to resolve conflict. If there’s a lot of jealousy, fear, or anxiety in your relationship, your counselor may use EFT.

Related Article: Dismissive Avoidant Attachment, Fearful Avoidant Attachment, Anxious Preoccupied Attachment

Couples Counseling At Inner Balance

Whether you and your loved one have unresolved conflicts, or harmful emotions, or simply want to strengthen your relationsing, Inner Balance Counseling is here to help. Located in Mesa, Arizona, we offer both EFT and The Gottman Method for couples counseling. Request a Consultation today to get started.

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Katy Kandaris-Weiner, LPC

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Inner Balance Counseling

1234 S Power Rd Suite 252
Mesa, AZ 85206

1414 W Broadway Rd Suite 122
Tempe, AZ 85282

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© Inner Balance. All right reserved.