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Couples seeking therapy are often looking for tools and skills to help them communicate more effectively and overcome obstacles to intimacy. The Gottman Method helps couples to achieve both these goals. The method provides tools with which to communicate better and resolve conflicts, even conflicts that have resulted in gridlock for years. The method also helps build the foundation that leads to intimacy by helping partners understand one another more deeply, and by focusing on small good moments, positive emotion, turning towards the other's bids for connection and repair, and love maps (a cognitive map of one another's inner world). For those individuals who have experienced trauma, making good moments more salient by looking for them each day is especially helpful since trauma leads to hypervigilance for danger––in relational terms, danger can take the form of a partner not being available or responsive. Looking for the good doesn't minimize the issues couples are trying to address, but it does decrease flooding (a neurobiological response to perceived danger, also called fight or flight) and increases good will. Understanding a partner's history and responses to triggers in the relationship leads to empathy and new patterns of interacting.
It's also helpful to understand the Attachment strategies used to feel safe in relationship. Attachment theory provides a way of understanding oneself and one's partner, and that deeper understanding of why we respond as we do to perceived threats leads to change and, ultimately, to a greater sense of felt security both individually and within the relationship.
Couples and Adults