Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a method of treatment utilized for the purpose of “examining the relationships between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors;” through the identification and understanding of the patterns that emerge betwixt these three areas, it becomes possible to modify behavioral approaches to improve coping (Duckworth & Freedman, 2012). The Gottman Method is a form of CBT that does not focus on the problem being experienced within the relationship, but instead concentrates on the need to create a stronger relationship, and through the strengthening of that relationship indicates that the individuals will be able to overcome any issues they may face (The Gottman Institute, 2015). One of the many ways in which these concepts may be better understood is through a sample case, however.
The problem to be addressed will vary from couple to couple, but in this example, the identified issue is dissatisfaction relating to the division of responsibilities within the relationship. In this instance, the female works, while the male stays home with the children, but the female is also still responsible for all the day to day operations of the household; those chores primarily perceived as “women’s work,” such as cooking, cleaning, and laundry. The woman argues that the division of work should be more equal, as she should not be responsible for working all day and then coming home and working all night until bedtime, cleaning up after the day’s home activities, doing the dishes, fixing dinner, and so on. The male argues that women are better suited to childcare and that childcare is too taxing for him to be able to complete any of the other chores; he also turns childcare over to the female as soon as she gets home from work, arguing that it is his time to relax.
Short-term goals for the couple would include strengthening their relationship, communicating more openly, and working together as a unit. A long-term goal for the couple would be a more equitable division of labor wherein both parties receive time to relax. Applying the Gottman Method of the Sound Relationship House, the two theory based interventions that should be applied within the couple include working together to create a more positive perspective regarding their situation and turning toward each other, as opposed to turning away from each other and allowing the problems in their relationship to fester (Gottman Couples Therapy: A New Research-Based Approach: The Sound Relationship House, 2015).
The first theory based intervention that would be used would be creating a more positive perspective. In this intervention practice, the couple works to share their dissatisfaction and their concerns regarding the current state of affairs, understanding the perspective of the other. In the second intervention, the positive perspective, each is able to see the complaints and concerns of the other as valid and understand the reasoning behind those concerns. These two intervention methods have been selected, as the issue is not who is responsible for what, but understanding the needs and wants of the other person; by increasing the positivity in the relationship and by working to communicate more effectively, the resolution of these issues will not be difficult.
In applying these intervention methods, the couple would first sit down and talk to each other, validating their feelings regarding the situation. Options would then be discussed regarding the best way to move forward, such as both parties doing the dishes together to reduce the workload on the woman, provide the couple with shared time to talk about their day, and increase the amount of responsibility on the man while increasing the amount of time that the woman has at the end of the day to relax. By working to ensure that the foundations for a strong relationship are present, the couple will work to create a healthier relationship through the application of CBT within their daily lives.
- Duckworth, K. & Freedman, J. (2012). Cognitive behavioral therapy. Retrieved 25 September 2015, from http://www.nami.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Inform_Yourself/About_Mental_Illness/About_Treatments_and_Supports/Cognitive_Behavioral_Therapy1.htm
- The Gottman Institute. (2015). About the Gottman Method – for Couples and Therapists. Retrieved 24 September 2015, from https://www.gottman.com/about-gottman-method-couples-therapy/
- Walden University. (2015). Media: Gottman Couples Therapy: A New Research-Based Approach: The Sound Relationship House. Retrieved 24 September 2015, from https://class.waldenu.edu/bbcswebdav/institution/USW1/201610_27/MS_SOCW/SOCW_6356/USW1_SOCW_6356_Week04_videoB.html