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

Archive for 2020

Contempt: The Deadliest of The Four Horsemen

Thursday, June 4th, 2020

Gottman’s Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

According to John Gottman, there are four destructive patterns of communication that can cause serious damage to a relationship. He calls them the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

So far I have covered Criticism, Defensiveness and Stonewalling.  Each of these patterns is capable of causing serious damage to a relationship, but it’s the fourth horsemen, Contempt, that is the most deadly.

Why is Contempt so deadly?

In Gottman’s research he found that when contempt has hijacked a couples communication, it’s the biggest predictor of divorce.

Listen to this short video to learn what contempt sounds like and what can be done to reverse its course.












Accepting Responsibility in Arguments

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse:  Defensiveness

Continuing on with my series on Gottman’s Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse . . .

Defensiveness is when we feel the need to armor up and shield ourself from someone who is attacking us.  It’s a common response but one that can backfire when in conflict with our partner.

Why is that?

In a word, blame.  Instead of finding the grain of truth on what our partner is complaining about (or even criticizing about), we jump to blame.

It is at this point couples start the attack/defend dance, which usually doesn’t end well.

The Antidote to Defensiveness

As with all of the Four Horsemen, there are antidotes that can get your conflict discussions on the right track.

Watch this short video to learn more about how to manage defensiveness.










Stonewalling: Turning Away from Conflict

Wednesday, May 27th, 2020

Stonewalling . . . one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Suzy is a yeller. She wants to get it all out when she is angry with Bob. And she doesn’t hold back. She really lets him have it.

Bob says when she unleashes her anger, his mind goes blank and he can’t fight back.  He just wants to run away from her.  And he often does.

This  makes Suzy even more angry, so she follows him, continuing her tirade.

He tunes her out and she walks off in a huff.

The Antidote

If this scenario sounds familiar, stonewalling may be hijacking your conflict conversations. Eliminating the Four Horsemen is an important step in relationship recovery. Listen to this short video to hear the antidote to stonewalling.












Criticizing Your Partner Won’t Get You What You Want

Thursday, May 21st, 2020

Let’s face it, we are all on overload in dealing with the stressors associated with the pandemic.

Whether it is economic worries, fear of getting the virus or the the frustration of shelter-in-place, most of us are not at our best right now.

I know I’m not.  My sleep has been disrupted.  Eating and exercise routines have gone by the wayside.  I’m more irritable.

All of the stress and irritability we are feeling can ooze out in negative ways in our relationships.  We can snap at our loved ones when we really need a break.  Judgement and  disgust might be felt when we don’t see eye to eye on wearing a mask or social distancing.

If you find that communication is starting to suffer, a refresher of the antidotes to The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse . . . those toxic communication patterns that Gottman found in his research lead to relationship demise . . . is sorely needed.

In a series of four vlogs, I will review each of the Four Horsemen and their antidotes.

Let’s start with criticism.











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

Couples Counseling & Professional Training Associates

1525 Lakeville Drive
Suite 107 & 108
Kingwood, Texas 77339
Ph: 281-348-0878


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