In the words of Brene Brown 'we are hard wired for love, belonging and connection'. When our relationship is suffering, we suffer in such deep and painful ways. And even though we are trying to make changes and reconnect it can feel like we are going around in circles and not getting anywhere.
We learn how to show up in relationships based on our past experiences, from childhood with our parents, through adolescence, and into our adult relationships. We can only live and connect with others based on what we know, yet this framework or manual is often incomplete. We may not know how to communicate effectively, how to sit with another person and hold their reality and experiences without getting tangled in our own, or how to connect with and express our own emotions to others, to feel safe enough to be fully seen and connected, to know how to get our needs met, or overcome stressors together as a united team.
At Self Reflections, this becomes the foundation of your journey and investment towards a strong, supportive relationship both you and your partner feel fulfilled by.
GOTTMAN'S METHOD COUPLES THERAPY
Gottman Method Couples Therapy was developed by Dr John Gottman and Dr Julie Schwartz Gottman. It is unique from other relationship therapies in that it is based on over 50 years of research with over 3000 couples. In fact, John Gottman simply observed couples for 20 years in his ‘love lab’, exploring the science and math of relationships before his wife Julie challenged him to put this data to use. From this came a therapy that is evidence-based in its concepts, and with research and real world evidence of it’s effective in helping to heal and strengthen relationships.
THE SOUND RELATIONSHIP HOUSE
Gottman Method is anchored by the ‘Sound Relationship House’, which describes what is needed for a foundationally secure relationship. The three key domains that underpin the Sound Relationship House are:
learning to constructively manage conflict
developing and strengthening friendship/intimacy and positive emotions in relationships
establishing shared meaning between partners and developing rituals of connection.
These levels of the Sound Relationship House are supported by pillars of Trust and Commitment. This simple, yet comprehensive analogy of a relationship being like a house allows a couple and their therapist to develop a clear understanding of the areas of strength in a relationship, the areas and skills that need strengthening, and to set goals to help the couple become ‘masters’ of their relationship. For each level of the house there are specific practical skills, exercises, and strategies to learn and bring into the relationship.
The focus in Gottman Method is on the relationship, and both partners and the therapist focus on what the relationship needs to thrive. Working together to heal the relationship, both partners are encouraged to identify strengths, challenges, and to practice skills together, rather than assigning blame or focusing on one individual or the other. A relationship is like a dance. You can’t dance alone. Changing the tune or the dance steps takes practice and as the saying goes ‘it takes two to tango’.
AFFAIRS OR BETRAYALS
Gottman Method has also developed a specific therapeutic process to support couples following an affair or significant betrayal within a relationship. The ‘Attone, Attune, and Attach’ framework is again based on significant research and clinical evidence to help a relationship, and the people in it, successfully heal following such traumatic ruptures.
Gottman Method Couples Therapy is not just for couples who are in crisis. It can also be used as a preventative approach to help couples build a stronger, more satisfying relationship before issues arise. Perhaps you are getting married soon, or have moved in together and some new challenges are emerging. Perhaps you have just entered into parenthood, or welcomed another child into your home. Maybe you have been together for many years, and while not in conflict you find you are drifting or feeling less connected than you once were. Gottman Method can be highly beneficial in all of these scenarios, and more.
THE PROCESS - GOTTMAN'S METHOD
The Gottman's Method Couples Therapy is provided by our Senior Clinical Psychologist Dr Krystal Sattler.
There are 3 phases to Gottman Method Couples Therapy:
PHASE ONE - COMPREHENSIVE ASSESSMENT
This phase of therapy allows you and your therapist to develop a clear picture of the status of your relationship, and to develop an individualised treatment plan that is directly tailored to you. This phase includes:
Completion of the Gottman Connect online assessment individually prior to your first joint session, which captures your unique view of the relationship and individual factors. This online assessment takes 60-90mins on average, and needs to be completed at least 7 days prior to your initial session.
Joint initial session (80mins) where you will talk about the history of your relationship, your concerns, and your goals for therapy
Two individual sessions (50mins each) where your therapist can get to know you and your perspective on the relationship concerns
A joint feedback session (80mins) to discuss the plan for treatment and develop mutual goals for your therapy.
It is recommended these assessment sessions are completed within a 2-3 week period. This gets your personalised treatment plan developed and you working on your relationship as quickly as possible. The further this is spread out the more frustrated couples can feel as the treatment phase can’t start until the goals are clearly identified – you wouldn’t build a house without plans, working on your relationship is the same.
PHASE TWO - TREATMENT
This phase involves interventions and skills specifically relevant to your relationship that were identified in your assessment. Evidence shows that an intensive start to this process is associated with the best outcomes. As such, where possible, it is recommended to have 4-5 fortnightly (or even weekly sessions) of 1hr 50min duration in the early treatment stages. This helps to de-escalate any heightened conflicts and emotions, as well as getting on board the skills you will be using to strengthen your relationship going forward.
Depending on your relationship needs, the transition to 50 minute appointments weekly or fortnightly will occur when you feel you are successfully managing your relationship in a consistent way between sessions.
PHASE THREE - RELAPSE PREVENTION / FOLLOW UP
These appointments are generally spaced out over a 6-12 month period to ensure you are staying on track. Initially they may be monthly, but then move to quarterly and maybe bi-annual check-ins for relapse prevention.
INVESTMENT IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP
The investment in your relationship is:
ASSESSMENT PHASE FEES
Total cost $1390.00 split throughout the Assessment Phase:
Part 1 - Gottman Connect online assessment*, review by Dr Krystal Sattler and joint initial session (80min) - $465.00 (this is required as a deposit to secure the booking)
Part 2 - Two individual sessions (50min each) - $230.00 each
Part 3 - Development of formulation and treatment plan by Dr Krystal Sattler and joint feedback session (80min) - $465.00
*Gottman Connect online assessment $39USD fee payable directly to Gottman Institute - first person to log on will pay for the questionnaire.
TREATMENT PHASE FEES
Extended sessions (1hr 50min) - $520.00
Standard sessions (50min) - $260.00
Please note, Medicare does not currently offer rebates for couples therapy/counselling.
Your private health fund may include a rebate for couples therapy depending on your level of cover.
Payment can be made by cash or card. Payment plans are available.
CANCELLATION POLICY FOR COUPLES THERAPY
Rescheduling the Assessment Phase sessions may be very difficult due to the number of sessions/hours required. We strongly recommend prioritising these scheduled appointments once they have been booked in.
Due to the substantial amount of time scheduled for the assessment phase sessions we ask for a minimum of one (1) weeks’ notice if you are no longer able to attend these sessions.
Providing less than 48 hours notice will incur a charge of 50% of the appointment fee.
Please note, the notice period excludes Sundays, public holidays and clinic closure days/periods.
If more than two cancellations occur with less than 48 hours notice, then future cancellations within the notice period will incur a charge of 100% of the appointment fee.
If three consecutive cancellations have been made, your Clinician reserves the right to cancel future appointments and reassess the need for further services.
NON ATTENDANCE POLICY FOR COUPLES THERAPY
If you do not show up for your scheduled appointment, do not call us to cancel / reschedule outside the cancellation notice period above, or you contact us to cancel your appointment once your session has commenced, 100% of the appointment fee is charged.
If you do not attend two consecutive appointments, your Clinician reserves the right to cancel future appointments and reassess the need for furthe services.
If you are ready to prioritise your relationship and experience the benefits of couples therapy, please contact us on 4288 2540 to speak with our friendly administrative staff. Alternatively please complete the below form stating your enquiry is regarding couples therapy.