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Couples and Family Therapy

Sometimes the fronts are already hardened despite many attempts to prevent it and the relationship is stuck. The good news is that with the appropriate help there is still oftentimes a way out that I would like to find together with you.

The method my couples therapy is guided by was developed in more than 30 years of relationship research at the Gottman Relationship Institute in Seattle, works resource and solution oriented and has very high success rates.

Gottman Method Couples Therapy combines the knowledge and wisdom of scientific studies and clinical practice. Through research-based interventions and exercises it helps couples break through barriers to achieve greater understanding, connection and intimacy in their relationships. It is a structured, goal-oriented, scientifically-based therapy. Intervention strategies are based upon empirical data from three decades of study with more than 3,000 couples. This research shows what actually works to help couples achieve a long-term healthy relationship. Gottman Method Couples Therapy was developed out of this research to help partners:

  • Increase respect, affection, and closeness
  • Break through and resolve conflict when they feel stuck
  • Generate greater understanding between partners
  • Keep conflict discussions calm

Research shows that to make a relationship last, couples must become better friends, learn to manage conflict, and create ways to support each other’s hopes for the future. Drs. John and Julie Gottman have shown how couples can accomplish this by paying attention to what they call the “Sound Relationship House”, or the components of healthy relationships:

Build Love Maps: How well do you know your partner’s inner psychological world, his or her history, worries, stresses, joys, and hopes?

Share Fondness and Admiration: The antidote for contempt, this level focuses on the amount of affection and respect within a relationship. (To strengthen fondness and admiration, express appreciation and respect.)

Turn Towards: State your needs, be aware of bids for connection and respond to (turn towards) them. The small moments of everyday life are actually the building blocks of relationship.

The Positive Perspective: The presence of a positive approach to problem-solving and the success of repair attempts. The focus on the positive aspects of the partner and the relationship.

Manage Conflict: 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.

Make Life Dreams Come True: Create an atmosphere that encourages each person to talk honestly about his or her hopes, values, convictions and aspirations. Support each other to make those dreams a reality (verwirklichen).

Create Shared Meaning: Understand important visions, narratives, myths, and metaphors about your relationship and consciously create/shape (gestalten) your relationship.

Trust: this is the state that occurs when a person knows that his or her partner acts and thinks to maximize that person’s interests, and maximize that person’s benefits, not just the partner’s own interests and benefits. In other words, this means, “my partner has my back and is there for me.”

Commitment: This means believing (and acting on the belief) that your relationship with this person is completely your lifelong journey, for better or for worse (meaning that if it gets worse you will both work to improve it). It implies cherishing your partner’s positive qualities and nurturing gratitude by comparing the partner favorably with real or imagined others, rather than trashing the partner by magnifying negative qualities, and nurturing resentment by comparing unfavorably with real or imagined others.

Besides the regular couples therapy which usually takes place in weekly sessions, I also offer a special form of couples therapy - marathon therapy. This is especially suitable for couples who don't live in the Rhein-Neckar region or for couples who would like to work intensely on their relationship within a short period of time.

The marathon couples therapy usually takes place on 2-3 consecutive mornings, each day we work together for six therapy hours (= 300 minutes). After a few weeks we have a follow-up session, followed by another block of 1-3 mornings. If you are interested in marathon couples therapy, please contact me to find out available days.