Gottman Method Couples Therapy

What is Gottman method couples therapy?

Based on 40 years of research with thousands of couples, Gottman Method Couples Therapy is one of the most renowned and best established couples therapy approaches in practice today.


Developed by the psychologists Dr John Gottman and his wife Dr Julie Gottman, it’s a structured form of couples therapy which focuses on helping couples overcome relationship barriers and promote long-lasting, positive changes in their relationship.

The goals of Gottman Method Couples Therapy are to,

“… disarm conflicting verbal communication; increase intimacy, respect, and affection; remove barriers that create a feeling of stagnancy; and create a heightened sense of empathy and understanding within the context of the relationship”.

The research Dr John Gottman and Dr Julie Gottman carried out showed that to make relationships last, couples must have a solid friendship, get better at managing conflict and support each other’s hopes and goals for the future. Because of this, a significant part of your therapy will be focused on helping you improve these three aspects of your relationship.

Some common relationship issues this approach can help with are:

  • Poor communication
  • Frequent arguments
  • Infidelity
  • Money
  • Parenting differences
  • Emotional distance

What happens in Gottman method couples therapy?

To start with, there will be an initial assessment where your psychologist will look to learn more about your concerns and get an understanding of the main areas of difficulty in your relationship. This process may involve both individual and conjoint sessions.


The Gottman Method is personalised for each couple, depending on the area of your relationship you’re looking to work on. That said – because it’s backed by rigorous research – many of the techniques and interventions are specific. This means that you’ll leave your sessions with actionable steps to take outside of your therapy. Your psychologist will equip you with techniques you’ll be able to continue using long after your therapy ends, helping you steer clear of falling back into any negative patterns in the long-term too.

Frequently asked questions

You are likely to be offered Gottman Method Couples Therapy if you and your partner are looking to get a better understanding of your relationship and communication patterns. Gottman Method Couples Therapy will help you strengthen your ability to manage conflict and build on your friendship and understanding of each other.
Both Gottman Method Couples Therapy and Schema Therapy for Couples are effective approaches that can help you break unhelpful relational patterns. Following your initial assessment, your psychologist will make a judgement on which approach you’d most benefit from. We tend to offer Gottman Method Couples Therapy when the aim is to decrease negative patterns and increase more positive relations in the relationship.
There are no fixed numbers of sessions when it comes to this approach to therapy. Your therapist will gradually progress through a hierarchy of goals in order to help facilitate trust and commitment in the relationship. How long it takes you to get through each of the different stages depends on your difficulties and interpersonal conflict as a couple and which areas need to be addressed before building a more positive connection.

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Dr Elena Touroni

Dr Elena Touroni is a skilled and experienced consultant psychologist with a track record of delivering high-quality services for individuals with all common emotional difficulties and those with a diagnosis of personality disorder. She is experienced in service design and delivery, the management of multi-disciplinary teams, organisational consultancy, and development and delivery of both national and bespoke training to providers in the statutory and non-statutory sector.

Having obtained a first degree in Psychology (BSc) at the American College of Greece, she completed her doctoral training at the University of Surrey. Dr Touroni is highly experienced in the assessment and treatment of depression, anxiety, substance misuse, personality disorder, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, adjustment disorder and relationship difficulties. She works with both individuals and couples and can offer therapy in English and Greek.

Dr Touroni has held a variety of clinical and managerial positions including as Head of Service in the NHS. Further she has held academic positions for the University of Surrey and the Institute of Mental Health lecturing on specialist postgraduate Masters and Doctorate programmes.

She is trained in several specialist therapeutic approaches such as schema therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), mindfulness-based approaches and Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT). As well as holding a variety of NHS positions, Dr. Touroni is the co-founder of a private practice in Central London that has been a provider of psychological therapy for all common emotional difficulties including personality disorder since 2002. She is the founder and one of two directors of The Chelsea Psychology Clinic.