281-812-7529
A group of independent counselors serving Kingwood and Houston
Specializing in Gottman MethodTM Couples and Marriage Counseling

Posts Tagged ‘Couples Weekend Workshop’

5 Things We Love About our Couples Weekend Workshop

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

IMG_1669In October we put on another Art and Science of LoveWeekend Workshop.  It was our biggest workshop to date.  As we reflected on the success of the workshop we realized there are many reasons we love this work.

1.  We love seeing couples committed to working on their relationships.  At this workshop we had couples travel far and wide to deep their connection, IMG_3654including Virginia, Illinois, Mexico and even South Africa.  Good things happen when couples commit to building friendship and intimacy.

2.  The fact that we had couples from such diverse locations speaks volumes to how Gottman Method Couples Counseling is spreading.  Therapists trained in this method are now in Australia, Canada, Korea, Norway, Sweden and Turkey.  A therapist from Mexico attended our workshop and she now is seeking Level 1 training.  It is exhilarating to be involved in this global movement.

3.  We love and appreciate the support of our partners in putting on our workshops.  Both of our husbands help us role play techniques taught over IMG_3651the course of the weekend.  We demonstrate how to deal with actual issues from our personal lives.  Invariably evaluations show this to be a favorite part of our workshop.  Seeing the vulnerability of our partners and learning that all couples have conflict make this approach very accessible to participants.

4.  We love that this is a comfortable process for couples.  Couples appreciate that we make the workshop fun and interactive, yet a private, intimate experience.  It is not therapy yet yields the same results as 6 month of marital therapy.

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5.  This material works!  Time and again we have seen couples re-ignite the flames of passion, smooth out rough spots or make a complete transformation in their relationship over the course of the weekend.  Gottman Method Couples Therapy is based on 40+ years of research and the techniques used are powerful.

ASL Eval Quote

Mary Beth George, LPC

Certified Gottman Therapist

Make Communication a Priority in Your Relationship

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

At the end of every initial couples therapy session I ask the couple to tell me what they hope to achieve by coming to counseling. The number one response is to improve communication. They have become ships passing in the night, no longer talking to one another.

Prior to leaving my office we must coordinate a time for the three of us to meet again.  The simple act of scheduling an appointment becomes telling of the pecking order in their relationship. The order is typically 1) work schedules, 2) children’s activities, 3) activities with friend’s or extended family members, 4) personal obligations like salon appointments or cross-fit, and finally 5) their relationship.

What does putting your relationship last on the list communicate to your partner?

When couples tell me they have a problem communicating, I am quite sure they are referring to conversation.  But the definition of communication according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is “the act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc., to someone else”.

It is true that happy couples talk more, but they also communicate caring, interest, respect and appreciation in myriad other ways throughout the week. How do they do it?

Drs. John and Julie Gottman followed up with couples who attended their Art & Science of Love Weekend Workshop. They found that successful couples reported devoting, on average, five hours per week to one another. Skills learned in the workshop taught them that little things can make a big difference. 1013774_10151678208280865_196800198_n

We all have competing obligations, but devoting five out of 168 hours is manageable for all couples once they make the health of their relationship a priority.

Here’s what happy couples do in those five hours:

1. Have a daily goodbye/parting ritual. Spend a few minutes talking about what each of you has going on that day. Being curious about what your partner has planned expresses interest in them.

2. Have a daily coming home/reunion ritual. Spend 10 minutes each communicating high and low points of the day.  Be supportive of the stressors your partner experienced and communicate warmth and understanding.

3.  Express fondness and admiration. Call, text, leave notes, or say it face-to-face, but find a few minutes each day to express what you like about your partner or what they are doing right.

4.  Be physically affectionate. Hold hands, snuggle on the couch or give a back rub. Be sure to kiss hello, goodbye, good night and good morning.  Physical affection conveys tenderness and caring.

5.  Have a weekly date.  Find time each week to devote a few hours to each other. Ask open ended questions and explore your partner’s thoughts and feelings on everything from where they want to go on vacation to what their biggest fears are.  Even if you can’t afford a sitter or expensive restaurant, sit out on the patio after the kids are in bed and devote time to one another. Dates are meant to be fun and relaxing and a way to re-connect.

6.  Process a fight or regrettable incident.  Even if it has been a rough week, don’t store up your anger and resentments by shutting down and turning away from your partner.  Process the deeper meaning of conflicts and you will be surprised by how much you learn about your partner and how you can feel more connected in the process.

The bottom line is, if you feel like you and your partner are not communicating well, expand your definition of communication and find five hours in your weekly schedule to devote to one another.

Mary Beth George, MEd, LPC

Certified Gottman Therapist

 

 

 

How We Celebrated Valentines Day

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Alysha and I treated our spouses to a trip to Seattle for an Art and Science of Love Weekend Workshop taught by Drs. John and Julie Gottman.  We couldn’t think of a better way to express our love for Valentine’s Day than by deepening our relationships.  Well, we considered it a treat . . . they were a little trepidatious, not knowing what would be required of them as actual audience participants.  According to them it’s not easy being married to a therapist to begin with, being “therapized” on a daily basis, let alone an intensive workshop that took the therapizing to a whole new level.

Their fears were quickly allayed by John Gottman’s engaging style.  He captured their attention by discussing how he has studied couples over the last four decades.  Dr. Gottman described in detail how study participants were observed in an apartment, called the Love Lab, being hooked up to sensors that measured their heart rate, the sweat on their palms, and how much they shifted in their seats with the help of a “jiggle-ometer”.   Lab assistants tediously coded verbal responses made by the couples and identified how these linked to the physical data.  For example, when one partner is spewing contempt, the other might be flooding, with heart rate above 100 and unable to think and respond clearly.  By following up with couples who portrayed patterns such as these, we can now predict with >90% accuracy what couples will divorce at some point in the future.  Fascinating, to say the least.

But fascinating as this research was, the early data collection was done purely for research purposes.  It wasn’t until Julie Gottman, a clinical psychologist, urged her husband to find a way to use the research to help troubled couples.  By studying healthy couples (the masters of relationships) in addition to troubled couples (the disasters of relationships), the Gottmans were able to develop effective therapy interventions.  An hour and a half into the weekend workshop and our spouses were chomping at the bit to know more about these interventions, without one bit of therapizing from us.

The weekend is strategically designed to take couples on a tour of the Sound Relationship House, the model the Gottman’s developed based on his research.   We (and 196 other couples) completed exercises independently and privately, meaning even though there were over 400 people in the room, there was no public disclosure.  We worked through processing actual fights we have had and our own gridlocked issues, so we got a taste of what it is like to be a client.  One of the most poignant moments of the entire weekend was when John and Julie Gottman demonstrated The Aftermath of a Fight intervention using a real life example.  Their genuine emotional experience made the process safe for the audience by reassuring us that the masters of relationships have arguments too.

We left Seattle feeling closer and more connected to our partners, and energized beyond belief to bring The Art and Science of Love Weekend Workshop to our area.  Our training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy along with the rich personal experience we had celebrating Valentine’s Day with our partners in Seattle will guide us in bringing The Sound Relationship House tour to you later in 2013.  Stay tuned for details!

Mary Beth George, MEd, LPC, RD/LD


Couples Counseling and Psychotherapy Associates provides service to Kingwood, Humble, Atascocita, Porter, Fall Creek, Summerwood, North Houston and surrounding areas.

Couples Counseling & Psychotherapy Associates

2330 Timber Shadows Drive
Suite 106
Kingwood, Texas 77339
Ph: 281-812-7529

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