By Taylor A. Moss, M.S., LMFTA
As a graduate student in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) at Seattle Pacific University, I could not wait for my couples therapy course. My post-graduation aspiration, like many of my peers, was to work with couples and help strengthen relationships in my hometown of Seattle, Washington.
A few weeks into the course I discovered that I enjoyed couples work even more than I anticipated. Twelve weeks covering six different theories and four special topics of couples therapy was not enough. I wanted more. Each theory was a world of its own, and one three-hour class was helpful, but not enough to truly allow me to apply these ideas while working with couples. The Gottman Method was particularly appealing to me as it combined both theory and research data on what actually makes relationships succeed or fail.
So when a classmate mentioned the University Outreach Program (UOP) through The Gottman Institute, I jumped at the opportunity. The UOP allowed our MFT program to host our own Gottman Method Couples Therapy Level 1 Training at our university over the course of a weekend. We were granted online access to stream the Level 1 Training films free of charge, so we just had to cover the cost of our training manuals. Our advisors coordinated the training, picked a weekend that worked for us, and we dove into the research-based Gottman Method!
The training exceeded my expectations. There was a depth to the theory that I had been longing for as well as practical interventions that were clearly explained. Watching the films of Drs. John and Julie Gottman presenting together made the method come alive. In particular, Julie’s application of John’s research findings to clinical interventions helped me understand how I could use the data to help treat couples once I opened my practice.
Another benefit of the UOP was being able to take the training with my classmates. Our small breakout groups gave me an even more in-depth understanding of the Gottman Method as we discussed what we were learning. Since we knew each other, it felt comfortable to dig deep into what we were absorbing and to share our thoughts and perspectives on the material.
I graduated the following spring and opened up a part-time private practice specializing in couples therapy in Seattle. My Level 1 Training provided me with a solid foundation for how to work with couples to create positive and lasting change in their relationships. Since then, I’ve continued on to Level 2 Training and regularly use the Gottman Method to support couples on their journey to reconnection.
Learning the Gottman Method during graduate school gave me a jumpstart to excel as a new therapist. And now, after working with couples professionally, I am eager to continue my training towards certification as a Certified Gottman Therapist.