The Upcoming 7 Principles Class is 7 Tuesdays from March 24th to April 28th, 6:30 – 8 pm
$25- Registration/ $325- (Class, 7 Principles Book and 2 Workbooks)
For more information and to register: [email protected] or 601-951-3131
I, Lida Caraway, am thrilled to be offering a relationship class at The Shepherd’s Staff in September, 2014! It’s a dream come true for me! As I have talked with friends, clients and couples about the upcoming class, I realize that I can’t communicate my excitement and energy without wanting to start with my whole long professional love-affair with John Gottman!
The How and Why of Gottman Marriage Therapy
Lida’s journey towards Gottman Certification
About 3 years ago, I happen to let my CEU – Counseling Education – sneak up on me. Meaning, I was a bit in a time crunch to get my education hours before the deadline to the Mississippi LPC – Licensed Professional Counseling Association. Rather than traveling to an out-of-town seminar, I called a friend who called a friend who had purchased the complete Disc Set of Dr. John Gottman’s Level 1 Training for Relationship Therapy. Dr. Gottman is a renowned relationship educator. He was recognized in 2007 as one of the 10 most influential therapists of the past quarter century. He is the author or co-author of 40 books. He became famous for his work on marital stability and divorce prediction, as he has conducted 40 years of breakthrough research with thousands of couples. His wife, Dr. Julie Gottman, is the co-founder of the The Gottman Institute is a highly respected clinical psychologist, author, and the backbone of their amazing work.
Watching the Gottman Disc Set would not only complete my required hours, but I was also intrigued to learn more techniques and skills for couple’s counseling by “one of the best”. Although I am by no means proud of my procrastination; the result of my folly turned out to be one of the best gifts of my career. As a family therapist, I have loved working with couples. Always exciting and challenging, couple therapy charged my passion for “getting in there” and helping to guide folks on a different path. From my and my husbands’ own work with a counselor, I saw how important it was for any couple to “get help”. Although I myself had benefited from couples therapy, as a therapist, I sometimes couldn’t get my head around the chaos I felt when trying to help partners measure what their particular goals were, how to take what we were doing in my office and translate it to home, and how for them to feel confidence in their progress.
With all that energy, I laid on my office carpet and starting watching John Gottman’s Level 1 Relationship Training on a little red DVD player. I’ll never forget that first feeling of “A-HA” as I soaked up the information played before me. John Gottman has a structured, researched plan for couples! This makes sense! It is practical! I was learning something different – something researched – something clear, realistic and practical and hopeful! From DVD’s on an office to two trips to Seattle, and many many hours of study, phone consults, and videoing myself and my gracious couple clients, I am at 90% as a Certified Gottman Therapist. Gottman Certified – why? Because John Gottman’s stuff works!
Gottman’s Seven Principles
His ground-breaking book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, provides the basic foundational theories for couples. The book provides a map for couples to be able to first assess their relationship and then become aware of the negative communication cycles they might be stuck in. The Seven Principles are the ultimate tools in your tool belt for making your relationship work!
Below are his seven principles :
1. “Enhance your love maps.” Love is in the details. That is, happy couples are very much familiar with their partner’s world. According to Gottman, these couples have “a richly detailed love map — my term for that part of your brain where you store all the relevant information about your partner’s life.” You know everything from your partner’s favorite movies to what’s currently stressing them out to some of their life dreams, and they know yours.
2. “Nurture your fondness and admiration.” Happy couples respect each other and have a general positive view of each other. Gottman says that fondness and admiration are two of the most important elements in a satisfying and long-term relationship. If these elements are completely missing, the marriage can’t be saved.
3. “Turn toward each other instead of away.” According to Gottman, “[Real-life romance] is kept alive each time you let your spouse know he or she is valued during the grind of everyday life.” Couples that turn toward each other have more in their “emotional bank account.” Gottman says that this account distinguishes happy marriages from miserable ones. Happy couples have more goodwill and positivity stored in their bank accounts, so when rough times hit, their emotional savings cushion conflicts and stressors.
4. “Let your partner influence you.” Happy couples are a team that considers each other’s perspective and feelings. They make decisions together and search out common ground. Letting your partner influence you isn’t about having one person hold the reins; it’s about honoring and respecting both people in the relationship.
5. “Solve your solvable problems.” Gottman says that there are two types of marital problems: conflicts that can be resolved and perpetual problems that can’t. It’s important for couples to determine which ones are which. Sometimes, though, telling the difference can be tricky. According to Gottman, “One way to identify solvable problems is that they seem less painful, gut-wrenching, or intense than perpetual, gridlocked ones.” Solvable problems are situational, and there’s no underlying conflict.
6. “Overcome gridlock.” Gottman says that the goal with perpetual problems is for couples to “move from gridlock to dialogue.” What usually underlies gridlock is unfulfilled dreams. “Gridlock is a sign that you have dreams for your life that aren’t being addressed or respected by each other,” Gottman writes. Happy couples believe in the importance of helping each other realize their dreams.
7. “Create shared meaning.” “Marriage isn’t just about raising kids, splitting chores, and making love. It can also have a spiritual dimension that has to do with creating an inner life together — a culture rich with rituals, and an appreciation for your roles and goals that link you, that lead you to understand what it means to be a part of the family you have become,” Gottman says.
So there you have it! I believe it’s time to get John Gottman’s tools out in mass form! I hope that offering a class on the Seven Principles will be an effective and affordable way to help couples grow in a real, fun, practical and meaningful way!
-By Lida Caraway
For more information about Lida’s next Gottman Principles Workshop or Retreat’s please contact Lida at 601-951-3131 or by email at [email protected]
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