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Should couples talk about their problems during counselling therapy?

Should couples talk about their problems during counselling therapy?


This sounds like an important question to answer. Most people feel the need to hash things out and clarify their stance on important issues and decisions, especially in their lives together. The issue, though, is not that couples want to come in and talk about what’s wrong, but rather the “negative communicative techniques” or negative sentiment that seems to override so many of their conversations, inevitably leading them into feeling emotionally overwhelmed or “flooded” from one another and apprehensive in engaging such hard topics (Hooper et al., 2017).


So, what can be done to address this overarching issue? First, clients will need to tackle more foundational areas of their relationship. What are these exactly? Herein enters The Gottman Method’s Sound Relationship House where trust and commitment are founded upon building Love Maps or knowing one another’s dreams and worries. This then leads into sharing Fondness and Admiration, and Turning Towards Instead of Away from one another physically and emotionally, while also engaging in more exercises of a Positive Perspective, way before any Conflict Management.


Depending on your expectation of mental health support, this may all sound strange or even disappointing. However, as a certified Gottman Couples Therapist it is vital for me to acknowledge that 68% of relational issues are unsolvable (Brigance, 2023). Hence, this isn’t about solving what’s wrong, it’s about managing and better understanding what is actually being offered from both sides of the conflict. And if a couple can affirm their strengths in spite of their unsolvable exchanges, then perhaps they’ll commit and begin to trust in what is really worth fighting for in their relationship.


Brigance, C. A. (2023). Gottman Processes and Couple Outcomes While Navigating Infertility (Doctoral dissertation, University of Missouri-Saint Louis).


Hooper, A., Spann, C., McCray, T., & Kimberly, C. (2017). Revisiting the Basics: Understanding Potential Demographic Differences With John Gottman’s Four Horsemen and Emotional Flooding. The Family Journal25(3), 224-229.




Ian Seitz, MACP is experienced in the areas of relationships and marriage, plus many more. For more information on Ian and his work, click here to link to her full bio page.