Gottman Method Couples Therapy in Monterrey, Mexico

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Great news! I will be giving workshops and a conference about Gottman Method Couples Therapy in Monterrey, Mexico, February 27 through March 3, thanks to the invitation and hard work of Familia Unida and the co-sponsorship of the Pontifical Institute John Paul II and the Universidad Anahuac. February 27-28, I will be providing a Level 1 Clinical Training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy with 50-60 therapists and consultants and March 1-2, I will be giving an Art and Science of Love with 7 couples. The evening of March 3, I will be giving a public talk entitled, “7 Principles to make your marriage happier” to about 300 people.

The registration for the Art and Science of Love Weekend Workshop for Couples is already full. For more information about the Level 1 Clinical Training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy or the public conference on the 7 Principles, see the Familia Unida webpage: http://www.familiaunida.org. To register for either, contact Diana Fernandez at dfernandez@familiaunida.org or by cell phone at 811 912 03 29.

I am very excited to carry out this great labor of spreading Gottman Method Couples Therapy in Monterrey, Mexico, and to meet the therapists and consultants of Familia Unida and the people of Monterrey. See you soon in Monterrey!

© 2017 Michael Brown, MSC, LMFT, dba Happy Couples Healthy Communities

El Método Gottman de Terapia de Parejas en Monterrey, México

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¡Grandes noticias! Estaré dando talleres y una conferencia sobre el Método Gottman de Terapia de Parejas en Monterrey, México, los días 27 febrero al 3 de marzo, gracias a la invitación y arduo trabajo de Familia Unida y el co-auspicio del Pontificio Instituto Juan Pablo II y la Universidad Anáhuac. Los días 27 y 28 de febrero, estaré dando el Nivel 1 del Taller Clínico del Método Gottman de Terapia de Parejas a unos 50 hasta 60 terapeutas y consultores y los días 1 y 2 de marzo estaré dando el Taller Matrimonial del Arte y la Ciencia del Amor. La noche del 3 de marzo estaré dando una conferencia pública sobre “7 Principios para hacer que tu matrimonio sea más feliz” a unas 300 personas.

La inscripción para el Taller Matrimonial del Arte y la Ciencia del Amor ya está completa. Para más información sobre el Nivel 1 del Taller Clínico del Método Gottman de Terapia de Parejas o la Conferencia sobre los 7 Principios, ve la página web de Familia Unida: http://www.familiaunida.org. Para inscribirse, contacta a Diana Fernandez por dfernandez@familiaunida.org o por celular por 811 912 03 29.

Estoy muy animado para realizar este gran labor de difundir el Método Gottman de Terapia de Parejas en Monterrey, México y de conocer a los consultores de Familia Unida y a la gente de Monterrey. ¡Nos vemos pronto en Monterrey!

© 2017 Michael Brown, MSC, LMFT, dba Happy Couples Healthy Communities

Tratar la Infidelidad en las Parejas con el Método Gottman

 

¿Pueden tratar los terapeutas la infidelidad en las parejas? La buena nueva es que sí se pueden. Sin embargo, requiere trabajo y compromiso. Recientemente he asistido a un taller clínico ofrecido por los doctores John y Julie Gottman y el Instituto Gottman sobre “Tratar la Infidelidad y el Trauma en las Parejas,” y pensaba en compartir algunos de los aprendizajes. El camino para sanar de la infidelidad por medio del Método Gottman de Terapia de Parejas pasa por tres etapas: la Reparación, la Sintonización, y la Adhesión.

La primera etapa, la Reparación, no se trata de perdonar, sino que se trata de que la pareja que ha traicionado, digamos la Pareja Traidor, reconozca que ha herido y traicionado a su pareja y esté disponible para escuchar el dolor de su pareja y contestar sus preguntas sobre la traicion. Se trata de la responsabilidad y la transparencia. En esta etapa, la terapeuta se esfuerza para mantener constructivo el proceso. Es importante darse cuenta que, como resultado de la traición, la Pareja Herida, puede tener síntomas del Desorden del Estrés Post-Traumático (PTSD), como pensamientos intrusos, angustia intensiva emocional y/o fisiológica en reacción a las provocaciones de trauma, hiper-vigilancia, y cambios negativos en estado anímico, pensamientos, y comportamiento. Entonces, es crítico que el terapeuta mantenga constructivo el proceso para evitar empeorar las síntomas de PTSD de la Pareja Herida (por ejemplo, el terapeuta sugiere que la Pareja Herida no haga preguntas sobre los detalles del sexo durante la aventura que podrían provocar imágenes traumatizantes en la mente de la Pareja Herida). Sin embargo, en contraste con otras terapias, el terapeuta Gottman no regula hacia abajo o minimiza las emociones durante esta etapa. Más bien, puede ser necesario diferenciar las emociones negativas de la crítica y del desprecio y ayudar a la Pareja Herida a expresar las emociones negativas sin ellos.

En esta etapa, la pareja no habla de por qué ocurrió la aventura. En esta etapa no se discuten la insatisfacción matrimonial ni la soledad ni el aislamiento antes de la aventura. Sería prematuro hacerlo en esta etapa y podría llevar a la exoneración de la Pareja Traidor y a la culpación de la Pareja Herida. Independientemente de las circunstancias matrimoniales, la Pareja Traidor hizo una decisión de violar la confianza y el compromiso y de tener una aventura y tiene que asumir responsabilidad por sus acciones.

Al mismo tiempo, es imprescindible que el terapeuta no sea juicioso y asegure que tanto a la Pareja Herida como también a la Pareja Traidor se le de apoyo y empatía terapéutica. Es un baile delicado que el terapeuta he de negociar.

Esta etapa puede ser bastante prolongada y puede incluir muchas preguntas sobre la aventura por la Pareja Herida (con la exclusión sobre detalles del tipo del sexo durante la aventura, por motivos ya explicados). La Pareja Traidor ha de ser disponible para contestar las preguntas de la Pareja Herida y para ser más responsable y transparente en el presente. La sanacion requiere que la Pareja Traidor escuche el dolor de la Pareja Herida y entienda lo que le está pasando. La expiación es más que decir “Lo siento”: es un proceso largo y lento de mostrar el remordimiento y la voluntad de reparar. Es sólo por este proceso largo y lento que pueda ocurrir la sanacion. La expiación puede ser un proceso doloroso, “pero la pareja puede surgir con una nueva comprensión, aceptación, perdón en ciernes, y esperanza” (Gottman & Gottman, 2016).).

Tratar la infidelidad

La segunda etapa de tratar la infidelidad, la Sintonización, se trata de aprender cómo “sintonizar” a los intentos de conexión de su pareja, sus necesidades y sus sentimientos. En esta etapa, la pareja aprende cómo procesar sus intentos de conexión fallados y los incidentes lamentables para que puedan entender cómo se equivocó la comunicación. El ejercicio principal empleado para eso se llama Las Secuelas de un Incidente Lamentable o una Disputa. Se puede emplear este ejercicio para revisar tanto a los eventos relacionados con la aventura como también a los eventos no-relacionados a la aventura. Sin embargo, no se le emplea para tratar de la aventura en su enteridad, sino con eventos muy específicos dentro de la aventura. Indirectamente, en esta etapa, puede ser que la pareja empiece a entender por qué ocurrió la aventura, pero no trabajamos con esto directamente.

Las parejas que tienen aventuras tienden a evitar el conflicto. Para revocar esta tendencia, el terapeuta les enseña nuevas habilidades para manejar el conflicto. El terapeuta emplea varios ejercicios para revocar el evitar el conflicto; para ayudar a la pareja a dirigirse a lo que sienten y lo que necesitan el uno del otro en cuanto de su problema; para escuchar y validar estos sentimientos y necesidades; y para ayudar a las parejas a profundizar su conversación, tratar con sus problemas perpetuas estancadas, y llegar a un compromiso. También puede ser que el terapeuta necesite ayudar a la pareja a poder manejar la excitación fisiológica difusa (o la inundación) y tomar un descanso para calmarse.

El terapeuta también ayuda a la pareja a ser mejores oyentes y crear y ritualizar la conexión emocional cotidiana. El terapeuta introduce a la pareja las herramientas que les enseñan a ser mejores oyentes, a expresar sus necesidades, y a crear un rito calmado de conexión emocional. El terapeuta también trabaja con la pareja en expresar el cariño y la admiración el uno por el otro y el aprecio y la gratitud por las contribuciones del uno al otro a la relación. Además, la pareja aprende a tener un rito diario de una conversación de apoyo para aliviar el estrés que viene de afuera de la relación. Finalmente, el terapeuta sugiere que tengan una reunión semanal del Estado de la Relación en donde hablan de sus sentimientos y necesidades de una manera calmada para que puedan crear conexión emocional sin conflicto.

Tratar la infidelidad

La tercera etapa de tratar la infidelidad, la Adhesión, se trata de establecer la Confianza, el Compromiso, y la Lealtad. La Verdad se basa en la transparencia, la verdad, el conflicto constructivo, el procesar las heridas emocionales del pasado, y la sintonización, los cuales empezamos a crear en las dos primeras etapas. En la tercera etapa, continuamos este trabajo y construimos hacia el re-compromiso y la lealtad por medio de trabajar en el aprecio. Las parejas también hablan a propósito sobre los valores que dan sentido a sus vidas, los sueños que tienen por su futuro individualmente y como pareja, y sus metas para cumplir estos sueños. También el terapeuta ayuda a la pareja a reavivar su pasión y su vida sexual. Esta etapa “profundiza la confianza íntima, la inversión en la relación, y el compromiso por medio de aplicar las habilidades de la conversación íntima y la auto-revelación al asunto de la intimidad física” (Gottman & Gottman, 2016). Se trabaja para renovar y/o fortalecer la relación sexual, de este modo promoviendo más conexión en la relación y ayudando a asegurar el compromiso duradero.

Finalmente, en la etapa de la Adhesión, el terapeuta ayuda a la pareja a entender que la traición subsecuente y el comportamiento indigno de confianza tendrán costos severos o consecuencias negativas en la relación. No es un castigo, el cual puede implicar la venganza, sino una respuesta razonable a la angustia que crea la traición. Este costo alto se para como un incentivo para finalizar la sanacion de la traición y para cambiar los patrones que llevaron a la traición en el principio. El terapeuta ayuda a la pareja a definir específicamente qué serán las consecuencias de la traición subsecuente y de ponerse de acuerdo.

Una vez que la etapa de La Adhesión sea cumplida, la terapia pueda empezar a avanzarse hacia la terminación. Durante la etapa denla terminación, el terapeuta ayuda a la pareja a preparase para posibles recaídas (i.e., incidentes lamentables o intentos de conexión fallados futuros) y qué hacer si y cuando ocurren.

El matrimonio que resultará de este proceso probablemente no será igual que el matrimonio antes de la aventura. Sí, los terapeutas pueden tratar la infidelidad y las parejas pueden recuperarse de la traición, pero el matrimonio que resulta muchas veces es un nuevo matrimonio. Aunque la cicatriz de la traición quizás no desaparecerá de completo, hay una oportunidad para la esperanza, la confianza, el compromiso, y la intimidad renovados.

Referencia

Gottman, J., & Gottman, J. (2016) Treating Affairs and Trauma: A Gottman Approach for Therapists on the Treatment of Affairs and Posttraumatic Stress. Seattle, The Gottman Institute.

© 2017 Michael Brown, MSC, LMFT, dba Happy Couples Healthy Communities

The Art and Science of Love Returns to Chandler

Art and Science of LoveI am pleased to announce that I will be offering the Art and Science of Love Weekend Workshop for Couples in Chandler, Arizona, February 18 & 19, 2017 at the Staybridge Suites Phoenix-Chandler. This will be the second time that this highly experiential workshop for couples will be offered in the East Valley.

The Art and Science of Love Weekend Workshop for Couples is designed to strengthen relationships through engaging presentations and experiential activities. If you have a strong relationship, this workshop will provide you with the insights and tools to foster further closeness, friendship, and trust. If your relationship is distressed, this two-day workshop will provide you with a greater understanding of your relationship and a road map for repair.

This workshop is based on John Gottman’s studying and following over 3,000 couples in four decades of research. Drs. John and Julie Gottman have designed this experiential workshop to teach you exactly what successful couples do to foster romance and harmony in their marriage.

This workshop has been shown to produce positive results for 86% of those who attend and to achieve results similar to those of 6 months of marital therapy.

For more information on the Art and Science of Love Weekend Workshop for Couples and what you’ll learn there, click here.

Couples work privately on exercises designed to address challenges in their relationship. There is no group work, sharing, or public disclosure.

Art and Science of LoveWorkshop Information

Time: Saturday-Sunday, 8:30am – 5:00pm

Registration check-in: Saturday, 8:00-8:30am

Location: Staybridge Suites Phoenix-Chandler, 3990 W. Chandler Blvd., Chandler, AZ 85226

Cost: $550.00 per couple

Discount:

  • Early Registration: Register and pay by January 18, and receive a $50 discount

Attendance: This workshop is limited to 7 couples, so sign up now!

Cancellation Policy: If early registration is cancelled 30 days prior to the workshop date, a full refund minus a $50 processing fee will be given. After the cut-off date, your registration will be converted to a credit, good for a full year, that you can use to attend a future workshop.

The workshop cost covers the two day event, expert teaching, professional presentations, personal guidance, and your couple’s kit. We will provide coffee and light snacks throughout the event.

Registration Process: To register for the Art and Science of Love Weekend Workshop for Couples, please complete and submit the pre-registration form below or call me at 928-679-3670. All registrants will be contacted by phone prior to the workshop to have questions or concerns answered and to participate in a mandatory & basic screening process by phone so that we can make any necessary special accommodations.

After completing the pre-registration screening process, you can pay the workshop registration fee below. Your space will not be reserved until you pay your workshop fee in full. The workshop cost covers the two day event, expert teaching, professional presentations, personal guidance, and your couple’s kit. We will provide coffee and light snacks throughout the event.


Registration Fees


© 2017 Michael Brown, MSC, LMFT, dba Happy Couples Healthy Communities

Treating Affairs in Couples with Gottman Method Couples Therapy

Treating affairs

Can couples heal from infidelity? The good news is that they can and do. However, it takes work and recommitment. I recently attended a new clinical training offered by Drs. John and Julie Gottman and the Gottman Institute on “Treating Affairs and Trauma in Couples,” and I thought that I would share some of the basic learnings. The pathway for healing from infidelity using Gottman Method Couples Therapy could be described as the three A’s: Atonement, Attunement, and Attachment.

The first phase, Atonement, is not about forgiveness: rather, it is about the Betrayer partner (BP) acknowledging that they have hurt and betrayed their partner and being willing to listen to their partner’s hurt and answer their questions about the affair. It is about accountability and transparency. In this phase, the therapist works to keep the process constructive. It is important to realize that, as a result of the betrayal, the Hurt partner (HP) may have symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), such as: intrusive thoughts, intense emotional and/or physiological distress in reaction to trauma triggers, hyper-vigilance, and negative changes in mood, thoughts, and behavior. Therefore, it is critical that the therapist keep the process constructive in order to avoid worsening the Hurt partner’s PTSD (e.g., by suggesting that the Hurt partner not ask questions about types of sex during the affair which could trigger traumatizing images in the mind of the HP). However, in contrast with other therapies, the Gottman therapist does not down-regulate or minimize emotions during this phase. Rather, they may need to differentiate negative emotions from criticism and contempt, and help the Hurt partner to express negative emotions without them.

In this phase, the couples does not talk about why the affair occurred. Marital dissatisfaction or loneliness and isolation prior to the affair are not discussed at this point. It is premature, and to do so at this point might lead to exonerating the Betraying Partner and to blaming the Hurt partner for the affair. Regardless of the marital circumstances, the Betrayer partner made a choice to violate trust and commitment and to have an affair and must take responsibility for for his or her actions.

At the same time, it is critical that the therapist be non-judgmental and ensure that both the Hurt partner and the Betrayer partner are given therapeutic support and empathy. It is a delicate dance that the therapist treating affairs in couples must negotiate.

This phase may be quite prolonged and may involve the Hurt partner asking many questions about the affair (with the exclusion of questions regarding details about the types of sex during the affair, for reasons already mentioned). The Betrayer partner must be willing to answer the Hurt partner’s questions and to be more accountable and transparent in the present. Healing requires the Betrayer partner to hear the Hurt partner’s pain and understand what they are going through. Atonement is more than saying “I’m sorry”: it a long, slow process of showing remorse and willingness to make amends. It is only through that long, slow process that any healing can occur. Atonement can be a painful process, “but the couple can emerge with new understanding, acceptance, budding forgiveness, and hope” (Gottman & Gottman, 2016).

Treating affairs

The second phase, Attunement, is about learning how to “tune in” to your partner’s bids for connection, their needs, and their feelings. In this phase, couples learn how to process their past failed bids for connection and regrettable incidents so they can understand how communication went wrong. The primary exercise used for this is called The Aftermath of a Regrettable Incident or Fight. This exercise can be used to review both affair-oriented and non-affair oriented events. However, it is not used to deal with the affair as a whole, but with very specific incidents within the affair. Indirectly, at this phase, the couple may begin to figure out why the affair occurred, but we do not work on this directly.

Couples that have affairs tend to engage in conflict avoidance. To reverse this tendency, the therapist teaches the couple new conflict management skills. The therapist uses a number of exercises to reverse conflict avoidance; to help the couple address what they feel and need from one another regarding their issue, and to listen and validate those feelings and needs; and to help couples deepen their conversation, deal with gridlocked problems, and arrive at a compromise. The therapist may also need to help the couple coping with diffuse physiological arousal, or flooding, and taking a break to self-soothe.

The therapist treating affairs in couples also helps the partners to become better listeners and to create and ritualize everyday emotional connection. The therapist introduces the couple to tools that teach them to become better listeners, to express their needs, and to create a calm ritual of emotional connection. The therapist also works with the couple on expressing fondness and admiration for each other and appreciation and gratitude for each other’s contributions to the relationship. In addition, the couple learns how to have a daily ritual of a supportive stress-reducing conversation for stress that originates outside the marriage. Finally, the therapist suggests that the couple have a weekly State of the Union Meeting in which they talk about their feelings and needs in a calm way so that they create emotional connection without conflict.

Treating affairs

The third phase, Attachment, is about establishing Trust, Commitment, and Loyalty. Trust is based on transparency, truth, constructive conflict, processing past emotional injuries, and attunement, which we started to create in Phases 1 and 2. In Phase 3, we continue this work and build toward re-commitment and loyalty through working on cherishing. Couples also talk purposefully about what values give their lives meaning, what dreams they have for their future individually and together, and their goals for fulfilling those dreams. The therapist also helps the couple to rekindle their passion and their sex life. This phase “deepens intimate trust, investment in the relationship, and commitment by applying the skills of intimate conversation and self-disclosure to the topic of physical intimacy” (Gottman & Gottman, 2016). Work is done to renew and/or strengthen the sexual relationship, thereby fostering closer connection in the relationship and helping to ensure lasting commitment.

Finally, in the Attachment phase, the therapist helps the couple to understand that subsequent betrayal and untrustworthy behavior will have severe costs or negative consequences in the relationship. This is not punishment, which can imply revenge, but rather a reasonable response to the anguish that betrayal creates. This high cost stands as an incentive to finalize the healing from the betrayal and to change the patterns that led to it in the first place. The therapist helps the couple to specifically define what the consequences of further betrayal will be, and to both agree to them.

Once the Attachment phase is complete, the therapy can begin to move towards termination. During the termination phase, the therapist helps the couple to prepare for possible relapses (i.e., future regrettable incidents or failed bids) and what to do if and when they occur.

The marriage that results from this process will probably not be the same as the marriage before the affair. Yes, couples can recover from affairs, but the marriage that results is most often a new marriage. While the scar of the betrayal may never completely disappear, there is an opportunity for renewed hope, trust, commitment, and intimacy.

Reference

Gottman, J., & Gottman, J. (2016) Treating Affairs and Trauma: A Gottman Approach for Therapists on the Treatment of Affairs and Posttraumatic Stress. Seattle, The Gottman Institute.

© 2017 Michael Brown, MSC, LMFT, dba Happy Couples Healthy Communities

The Art and Science of Love Returns to Tucson

Art and Science of LoveI am pleased to announce that I will again be offering the Art and Science of Love Weekend Workshop for Couples in Tucson, Arizona, November 12-13, 2016 at Monterey Court.

This workshop is designed to strengthen relationships through engaging presentations and experiential activities. If you have a strong relationship, this workshop will provide you with the insights and tools to foster further closeness, friendship, and trust. If your relationship is distressed, this two-day workshop will provide you with a greater understanding of your relationship and a road map for repair.

The Art and Science of Love Weekend Workshop for Couples is based on John Gottman’s studying and following over 3,000 couples in four decades of research. Drs. John and Julie Gottman have designed this experiential workshop to teach you exactly what successful couples do to foster romance and harmony in their marriage.

This workshop has been shown to produce positive results for 86% of those who attend and to achieve results similar to those of 6 months of marital therapy.

For more information on the Art and Science of Love Weekend Workshop for Couples  and what you’ll learn there, click here.

Couples work privately on exercises designed to address challenges in their relationship. There is no group work, sharing, or public disclosure.

Art and Science of LoveWorkshop Information

Time: Saturday-Sunday, 8:30am – 5:00pm

Registration check-in: Saturday, 8:00-8:30am

Location: Monterey Court, 505 West Miracle Mile, Tucson, AZ, 85705.

Cost: $550.00 per couple

Discount:

  • Early Registration: Register and pay by October 12, 2016, and receive a $50 discount

Attendance: This workshop is limited to 7 couples, so sign up now!

Cancellation Policy: If early registration is cancelled 30 days prior to the workshop date, a full refund minus a $50 processing fee will be given. After the cut-off date, your registration will be converted to a credit, good for a full year, that you can use to attend a future workshop.

The workshop costs covers the two day event, expert teaching, professional presentations, personal guidance, and your couple’s kit. We will provide coffee and light snacks throughout the event.

Registration for this workshop is full and no longer available. Please sign up for my blog to receive updates on future workshop dates and locations, as well as articles on Gottman Method Couples Therapy.

© 2017Michael Brown, MSC, LMFT, dba Happy Couples Healthy Communities

The Art and Science of Love Comes to the White Mountains

The Art and Science of LoveI am pleased to announce that I will be offering the Art and Science of Love Weekend Workshop for Couples in Lakeside, Arizona, August 6 & 7, 2016, at Solterra Senior Living at White Mountains. This will be the first time that this highly experiential workshop for couples will be offered in this area. If you are from the Valley, you can escape the heat, come early, stay late, and enjoy the beautiful White Mountains! If you live in the White Mountains, there is a special discount available for you!

The Art and Science of Love Weekend Workshop for Couples is designed to strengthen relationships through engaging presentations and experiential activities. If you have a strong relationship, this workshop will provide you with the insights and tools to foster further closeness, friendship, and trust. If your relationship is distressed, this two-day workshop will provide you with a greater understanding of your relationship and a road map for repair.

This workshop is based on John Gottman’s studying and following over 3,000 couples in four decades of research. Drs. John and Julie Gottman have designed this experiential workshop to teach you exactly what successful couples do to foster romance and harmony in their marriage.

This workshop has been shown to produce positive results for 86% of those who attend and to achieve results similar to those of 6 months of marital therapy.

For more information on the Art and Science of Love Weekend Workshop for Couples and what you’ll learn there, click here.

Couples work privately on exercises designed to address challenges in their relationship. There is no group work, sharing, or public disclosure.The Art and Science of Love

Workshop Information

Time: Saturday-Sunday, 8:30am – 5:00pm

Registration check-in: Saturday, 8:00-8:30am

Location: Solterra Senior Living at White Mountains, 5408 Arizona Highway 260, Lakeside, AZ 85929

Cost: $550.00 per couple

Discounts:

  • Early Registration: Register and pay by July 6, 2016, and receive a $50 discount
  • Additional $50 discount available for year-round residents of the White Mountains

Attendance: This workshop is limited to 7 couples, so sign up now!

Cancellation Policy: If early registration is cancelled 30 days prior to the workshop date, a full refund minus a $50 processing fee will be given. After the cut-off date, your registration will be converted to a credit, good for a full year, that you can use to attend a future workshop.

Registration Process: To register for the Art and Science of Love Weekend Workshop for Couples, please complete and submit the pre-registration form below or call me at 928.679.3670. All registrants will be contacted by phone prior to the workshop to have questions or concerns answered and to participate in a mandatory & basic screening process by phone so that we can make any necessary special accommodations.

 

After completing the pre-registration screening process, you can pay the workshop registration fee below. Your space will not be reserved until you pay your workshop fee in full. The workshop cost covers the two day event, expert teaching, professional presentations, personal guidance, and your couple’s kit. We will provide coffee and light snacks throughout the event.

Registration Fees



© 2017 Michael Brown, MSC, LMFT, dba Happy Couples Healthy Communities

The Art and Science of Love Comes to Chandler

Art and Science of LoveThis workshop is full and registration is unavailable.

I am pleased to announce that I will be offering the Art and Science of Love Weekend Workshop for Couples in Chandler, Arizona, June 25 & 26, 2016, at the Staybridge Suites Phoenix-Chandler. This will be the first time that this highly experiential workshop for couples will be offered in the East Valley.

The Art and Science of Love Weekend Workshop for Couples is designed to strengthen relationships through engaging presentations and experiential activities. If you have a strong relationship, this workshop will provide you with the insights and tools to foster further closeness, friendship, and trust. If your relationship is distressed, this two-day workshop will provide you with a greater understanding of your relationship and a road map for repair.

This workshop is based on John Gottman’s studying and following over 3,000 couples in four decades of research. Drs. John and Julie Gottman have designed this experiential workshop to teach you exactly what successful couples do to foster romance and harmony in their marriage.

This workshop has been shown to produce positive results for 86% of those who attend and to achieve results similar to those of 6 months of marital therapy.

For more information on the Art and Science of Love Weekend Workshop for Couples and what you’ll learn there, click here.

Couples work privately on exercises designed to address challenges in their relationship. There is no group work, sharing, or public disclosure.

Art and Science of LoveWorkshop Information

Time: Saturday-Sunday, 8:30am – 5:00pm

Registration check-in: Saturday, 8:00-8:30am

Location: Staybridge Suites Phoenix-Chandler, 3990 W. Chandler Blvd., Chandler, AZ 85226

Cost: $550.00 per couple

Discount:

  • Early Registration: Register and pay by May 25, 2016, and receive a $50 discount

Attendance: This workshop is limited to 6 couples, so sign up now!

Cancellation Policy: If early registration is cancelled 30 days prior to the workshop date, a full refund minus a $50 processing fee will be given. After the cut-off date, your registration will be converted to a credit, good for a full year, that you can use to attend a future workshop.

The workshop cost covers the two day event, expert teaching, professional presentations, personal guidance, and your couple’s kit. We will provide coffee and light snacks throughout the event.

This Art and Science of Love Weekend Workshop for Couples is full and registration is unavailable. I will be offering another workshop in the White Mountains August 5-6. For more information, see The Art and Science of Love Comes to the White Mountains.

© 2017 Michael Brown, MSC, LMFT, dba Happy Couples Healthy Communities

Scenes from my Level 1 Clinical Training in Phoenix

Level 1 Clinical Training

On February 26 & 27, 2016, I offered my first Level 1 Clinical Training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy: Bridging the Couple Chasm, at Touchstone Behavioral Health, in Phoenix, Arizona, with the participation of 24 therapists and clinicians. Seven participants were from Touchstone Behavioral Health and 4 were from Arizona’s Children Association. The rest were from various agencies or in private practice. Two came from Washington State, one from British Columbia, one from Colorado, and one from Illinois. The rest were from here in Arizona. All in all, it was a successful training: the feedback was positive and the participation was great. Here below, I will share with you some scenes from the Level 1 Clinical Training.

© 2017 Michael Brown, MSC, LMFT, dba Happy Couples Healthy Communities

Improve Conflict Discussions with Softened Startup

softened startupHave you ever noticed that how you start a conflict discussion determines how it will end? If you start out harshly, your discussion is likely to end harshly. However, if you start out gently, it is likely to end gently. That is why Gottman Method Couples Therapy recommends and teaches softened startup. If you use this skill in your conflict conversations with your spouse or partner, your children, or even your coworkers, chances are that your outcome will be much better.

We do not need much training in order to use softened startup.  We use it daily with guests and strangers. When a guest leaves his or her cell phone in our home, we do not say, “What’s wrong with you? You are constantly forgetting things. Be a little more thoughtful, for God’s sake. What, am I your slave to go picking up after you?” Rather, we use softened startup and say something like, “Here. You forgot your cell phone.” When a guest spills wine, we do not say, “You just ruined my best tablecloth. I can’t depend on you to do anything right, can I? I will never invite you to my home again.” Rather, we say, “The wine spilled. No problem. Would you like another glass?” We are respectful of a guest and we take care of the guest’s feelings, even if things don’t go too well. However, we often forget to do so with our spouse or partner or children and instead use “Harsh Startup.”

Harsh Startup is the opposite of softened startup. Harsh Startup is when the way the problem is presented involves Criticism (a direct attack on the character of the person), not just complaining. A pattern of harsh startup, particularly when used by the wife and responded to by the husband with defensiveness, is predictive of marital dissolution.

Softened startup is basically the way we treat guests and strangers – respectfully and courteously. When you break it up, it has five components.

  1. Make statements that start with “I” instead of “You” to avoid blame. Complaining is okay, but criticizing is not. Criticism is a direct attack on the character of a person and is often accompanied by words like   “always” and “never.” Psychologist Thomas Gordon noted that when statements start with the word, “You” instead of the word, “I,” they are usually more likely to be critical and to make your partner defensive. Instead of saying, “You never listen to me,” it works best to start your complaint with a statement of how you feel, like, “I feel upset…” Don’t cheat and form an “I” statement that is actually a “You” statement like, “I think that you don’t care.”
  2. Describe what is happening, don’t evaluate or judge. Instead of accusing or blaming, just describe what you see happening as objectively and non-judgmentally as possible. For example, instead of saying, “You never talk to me,” say “I has been a few days since we have talked with each other.”
  3. Talk clearly about WHAT YOU NEED IN POSITIVE TERMS: What you wish for or hope for, and/or what you want more of (versus what you don’t want). What is it, ideally that you want or need in this situation? Instead of asking your partner to guess what you need or to be a mind reader, express it explicitly. For example, instead of saying, “I’m tired of cleaning up after everyone,” say “I would appreciate it if you would put your dirty dishes in the dishwasher.”
  4. Be polite. It doesn’t cost anything to be polite. Make requests politely, adding such phrases as “please” and “I would appreciate it if…”
  5. Give appreciations. Noticing what your partner is doing right is always the best way to go. If your partner has, at some time, been better in this situation, then ask for what you need and couch it within an appreciation of what your partner did right in the past and how much you miss that now.

Be Specific! And Don’t Store Things Up! Be specific in your complaint and avoid global criticism, but don’t store things up. We all know what happens when you store things up: they eventually come out in a fit of anger or rage or in a litany of complaints.

If you follow  these rules for softened startup, you will find that your conflict discussions will be easier and have better outcomes. If you would like to learn more about these and other skills for managing conflict in your relationship, you might consider attending an Art and Science of Love Weekend Workshop provided by a Certified Gottman Therapist & Couples Workshop Leader. If you are a therapist and want to learn more about Gottman Method Couples Therapy, consider attending a Level 1 Clinical Training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy.

References

Gottman, J.M., & Schwartz Gottman, J. (2013). The Art & Science of Love: A Weekend Workshop for Couples. Seattle, WA: The Gottman Institute.

Gottman, J., & Silver, N. (1999). The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. New York, NY:  Three Rivers.

© 2017 Michael Brown, MSC, LMFT, dba Happy Couples Healthy Communities