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Couples Counseling

Combining the knowledge and wisdom of Dr. John Gottman's 40+ years of studies and clinical practice, Gottman Method Couples Therapy helps couples break through barriers to achieve greater understanding, connection and intimacy.
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Affair Recovery

The discovery, or even the suspicion, that your partner is having an affair can feel like the end of the world. If you are in this position, you must be wondering if your relationship can survive this, or you might even be wondering if you should bother trying.
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Marathon Counseling

Marathon Couples Therapy is an intensive and focused therapeutic modality for couples in high distress or simply in need of a marriage expert. Extended, intensive sessions last several hours or even occur over several consecutive days.
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The Long Island Couples Institute integrates research-based approaches to help couples grow closer, manage differences, build or rebuild trust, increase respect, communicate effectively, and create opportunities for shared meaning and connection.
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Premarital Counseling

Start Early. Couples currently enter marriage with a 50% chance of failure. Faced with these difficult challenges, many seek a scientifically sound approach to help them understand and strengthen the weak areas in their partnership.
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Couples in Recovery

The Gottman method for treating couples is designed to address specific challenges often faced by relationships affected by alcohol, drug or behavioral addictions. Couples learn a model for integrating and balancing Relationship Needs with Recovery Needs.
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Couples currently enter marriage with a 50% chance of failure. Faced with these difficult challenges, many seek a scientifically sound approach to help them understand and strengthen the weak areas in their partnership. Part of the mission of The Gottman Institute is to empower therapists to provide this help to couples and families. Utilizing research-based interventions and exercises, it is a structured, goal-oriented, scientifically-based therapy. Intervention strategies are based on empirical data from Dr. Gottman’s study of more than 3,000 couples. This research shows what actually works to help couples achieve a long-term healthy relationship.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Dr. Gottman really able to predict whether a couple will get divorced with 94% accuracy?

Statements about the 94% accuracy rate of divorce prediction have become a source of confusion. What Dr. Gottman is able to say is that a particular couple is behaving like the couples that were in the group that got divorced in his 1992 study (Buehlman, K., Gottman, J.M., & Katz, L.), a study in which Dr. Gottman predicted with 93.6% accuracy which couples would divorce.

Altogether, Dr. Gottman has completed seven studies that explored what predicts divorce. These studies included three groups: 1) couples that divorced 2) couples that stayed together and were happy and 3) couples that stayed together and were unhappy. Dr. Gottman’s research helped him identify specific behavior patterns in couples that he later termed the “Masters” and “Disasters” of relationships.

Six of the seven studies have been predictive—each began with a hypothesis about factors leading to divorce. Based on these factors, Dr. Gottman predicted who would divorce, then followed the couples for a pre-determined length of time. Finally, he drew conclusions about the accuracy of his predictions. He has also consistently evaluated other theoretical models that might predict differently and reported the results of these analyses (e.g., Gottman & Levenson, 2002). This is true prediction. Prior to his six prediction studies, Dr. Gottman did an initial post-hoc analyses study back in 1980 to help him determine what factors were useful in predicting divorce.

How statistically significant is it that Dr. Gottman can predict divorce with such a high rate of accuracy?
Dr. Gottman’s ability to predict divorce among newlyweds is more clearly understood by imagining an urn that contains 130 white balls (representing couples that stayed married) and 17 red balls (representing couples that ended up divorcing) for a total of 147 balls. The chances that Dr. Gottman could blindly pick balls out of the urn and guess which were red and which were white with 90% accuracy could only happen by chance 1 x 10-19 times. That is the number point one (0.1) with 18 zeroes in front of the number one. This means it is practically impossible that Dr. Gottman could predict which couples would divorce with much accuracy by chance alone. The factors he used to make his predictions were indeed clearly related to why couples ended up divorced. By looking for those factors, he was able to predict divorce fairly accurately. For the Gottman, Katz and Hooven study, where Gottman et. al. picked out all seven divorced couples out of 56, the probability is approximately .000000000384 or 3.84×10-9.
What are the negative behavior patterns that can predict divorce?

Dr. Gottman calls these destructive behaviors, “A Positive-to-Negative Ratio of 0.8 or Less,” and has named the most corrosive negative behavior patterns, “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.” Specifically, these are:

  • Criticism: stating one’s complaints as a defect in one’s partner’s personality, i.e., giving the partner negative trait attributions. Example: “You always talk about yourself. You are so selfish.”
  • Contempt: statements that come from a relative position of superiority. Contempt is the greatest predictor of divorce and must be eliminated. Example: “You’re an idiot.”
  • Defensiveness: self-protection in the form of righteous indignation or innocent victim-hood. Defensiveness wards off a perceived attack. Example: “It’s not my fault that we’re always late; it’s your fault.”
  • Stonewalling: emotional withdrawal from interaction. Example: The listener does not give the speaker the usual nonverbal signals that the listener is “tracking” the speaker.

These predict early divorcing – an average of 5.6 years after the wedding. Emotional withdrawal and anger predict later divorcing – an average of 16.2 years after the wedding.

What's behind our success?
In a word: SCIENCE! Our work is grounded in 40 years of research with more than 3000 couples. 86 percent of people who complete our couples workshops make significant progress on conflicts that once felt “gridlocked.”
What research methods does Dr. Gottman use to study couples?
  • Interactive behavior (Coding partners’ behavior and emotions as couples interact in various contexts)
  • Perception (Self assessment through questionnaires, video recall, attributional methods and interviews)
  • Physiology (Measuring autonomic and endocrine systems)
  • Interviews (Oral history, meta-emotion, attunement)
  • New questionnaires.
If we could go to the “Love Lab,” and if we learned that we were in the category of having a high probability of divorce, does that mean there’s no hope? Should we break up now, even if our relationship seems good to us?
No! The most important discovery to come from our research is how we can predict divorce, and from that we know what couples need to do differently to strengthen their relationships. Changing those negative behaviors that predict divorce to more positive behaviors that predict success can significantly change the course of your relationship and make it better.