Couples seek marriage counseling for many different reasons. From infidelity to emotional affairs to depression and addiction problems, couples often seek a guide to navigate issues that feel overwhelming. It is a natural question to wonder what happens in marital therapy. Many clients worry that they will be ganged up on, shut out further, misunderstood, or simply abandoned by their partner.
This article highlights the work of John Gottman, a leading marital expert and researcher. He outlines 4 predictors of relationship failure that I use with almost every new couple that begins therapy: Critisism, Contempt, Stonewalling, and Defensiveness. Very early on in marital therapy we learn to identify and head-off these mechanisms which destroy relationships. No matter what the issue is with the couple, these symptoms can very quickly appear.
People have a common misconception that they will come to marriage counseling and continue to fight. Identifying Gottman's Four Horsemen early in therapy can help prevent this from happening.
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