Couples Therapy – What’s the Difference Between EFT & Gottman Methods

So, what IS the difference between EFT and the Gottman Method? Read on!

family therapy for polyamory

Couples therapy is becoming increasingly popular, especially among millennial couples who see it as a way to maintain a healthy relationship. With a success rate of up to 75%, it’s no wonder that 44% of couples are seeking therapy before they even get married.

Two primary approaches to couples therapy are Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) and the Gottman Method. Both methods aim to bring peace and understanding back into relationships, but they differ in their approaches.

EFT – Emotionally Focused Therapy:

EFT is an attachment-based therapy approach developed by Dr. Sue Johnson. This method focuses on recognizing and changing unhealthy interaction patterns during conflicts. The goal of EFT is to strengthen the emotional bond between partners, rather than changing thoughts and behaviors.

EFT consists of three stages:

  1. De-Escalation – Recognizing how negative responses drive a cycle of conflict.
  2. Restructuring the Bond – Creating new emotional experiences through sharing emotional needs and fears, building a secure attachment through care and understanding.
  3. Consolidation of Change – Using the new, more secure bond to solve everyday problems and build a narrative of resilience.

EFT is effective for couples who are still emotionally connected and open to understanding how their behavior contributes to their issues. A trusting relationship with the therapist is crucial. EFT may be less effective for couples experiencing violent behavior, dysfunctional communication, or those who have already decided to separate.

The Gottman Method:

Founded by Drs. John and Julie Gottman, the Gottman Method is a research-driven approach focusing on skills-based interventions. The therapy helps couples identify and practice the tools needed to manage their relationship.

The Gottman Method has four goals:

  1. Undo conflicting verbal communication.
  2. Increase intimacy, respect, and affection.
  3. Remove barriers that create stagnancy in conflicts.
  4. Create more empathy and understanding within the relationship.

The method also includes nine principles in the Gottman’s Sound Relationship House Theory:

  1. Build love maps.
  2. Share fondness and admiration.
  3. Turn toward instead of away.
  4. The positive perspective.
  5. Manage conflict.
  6. Make life dreams come true.
  7. Create shared meaning.
  8. Trust.
  9. Commitment.

The Gottman Method is effective for couples struggling with ineffective or unhealthy communication patterns and works for both resolvable and perpetual problems. However, it may not be suitable for couples experiencing violent behaviors or physical dominance. thinks that both the EFT and the Gottman Method offer effective strategies for couples looking to strengthen their relationships. We think it’s best to use parts of both techniques in our coaching.

Share this post:
Coaching Programs
Boost your Instagram account today!