Choosing which concept to make the most of when working with {couples} not solely wants to replicate the character and competence of the clinician, but it surely additionally wants to be of worth and serve the wants of the consumer. They deserve to know their clinician vetted the concept. They need to belief that the chosen interventions replicate the stressors, societal expectations, and inner pressures skilled of their lives.

The hottest theories of {couples} remedy had been developed with opposite-sex companions who hoped to keep away from divorce. Because a big portion of the shoppers I see determine as being lesbian or homosexual, I used to be conscious these shoppers didn’t have the proper to marry, or due to this fact divorce, till the Supreme Court listening to of Obergefell v Hodges in 2015 (Obergefell V. Hodges, 2019). Thus, a clinician who works with homosexual and lesbian {couples} should ensure the theories that they ask their shoppers to incorporate into their relationship are acceptable for the objectives and presenting points that usually differ from heterosexual {couples}.

Differences in same-sex {couples} remedy

In my seek for the proper concept for my same-sex shoppers, my first purpose was to contemplate whether or not the elements driving {couples} to remedy had been the identical for each same-sex and opposite-sex companions. Research confirmed that each same-sex and heterosexual {couples} share widespread objectives of wanting higher communication, wanting shared values, needing to navigate private variations to make them complementary, and wanting to really feel supported and dedicated to their companions (Riggle et al., 2016).

However, competent {couples} therapists ought to concentrate on the widespread variations in regard to the points that get layered into the relationship experiences due to their sexual id. Because of the method society has traditionally handled gays and lesbians, same-sex companions could also be extra weak to relationship misery. They face the challenges of dealing with developmental phases of acceptance round their gender id, societal discrimination, and worries of concealing relationships from family and friends (Macapagal, Greene, Rivera, & Mustanski, 2015). Additionally, points generally occurring in homosexual and lesbian relationships come up round problems with dedication phases, norms relating to monogamy, and differing ranges of HIV dangers that aren’t usually current for heterosexual {couples} (Macapagel et al., 2015).

Emotional intimacy is a purpose for all {couples} no matter gender orientation. However, internalized disgrace and guilt because of sexual orientation concealment tends to negatively impression many same-sex companions of their consolation stage of expressing emotional intimacy (Guschlbauer, Smith, DeStefano, & Soltis, 2019). For too many same-sex companions, the pressure of dwelling with uncertainty and inconsistent messages about societal acceptance about their proper to marry has taken a toll each socially and psychologically. These messages from society have typically led to confusion amongst homosexual and lesbian companions and struggles with whether or not to embrace the typical symbols of heteronormative dedication (Holley, 2017).

The Gottman Method and dealing with same-sex {couples}

The Gottman Method identifies itself as a multidimensional therapeutic strategy to working with {couples} counseling that strikes companions from battle to comfy exchanges by enhancing fundamental social abilities. The methodology additionally units out to develop an consciousness of the interpersonal pitfalls related with the relationship behaviors of criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. Some of the objectives of the Gottman Method are to exchange these recognized destructive behaviors, that are proven to undermine relationships, with extra civil methods of expressing disapproval, constructing a tradition of appreciation, acceptance, mutual duty for issues, and self-soothing (Lopez, Pedrotti, & Snyder, 2019).

An uncontrolled research by The Gottman Institute printed in 2017 collected and measured relationship satisfaction at 5 separate time factors utilizing the Gottman Method of Couples Therapy with homosexual and lesbian {couples}. The information confirmed important enchancment following 11 classes of remedy for each homosexual male and lesbian feminine {couples}. The research suggests the Gottman Method was extremely efficient for same-sex {couples}. Gay and lesbian {couples} improved greater than twice as a lot as most heterosexual {couples} did in practically half as many classes as was typical for heterosexual {couples} utilizing the Gottman Method (Garanzini et al., 2017).

Some of the causes had been primarily based on the perception that same-sex {couples} usually perform higher than heterosexual {couples} due to smaller gender-role and inequality. For same-sex {couples}, they’re typically socialized equally regarding gender roles and will share extra comparable communication kinds than opposite-sex {couples}.  Variables equivalent to the distribution of family chores, division of funds, a way of play, equality of assist, and communication play a extra vital function in relationships of same-sex companions than heterosexual relationships (Garanzini et al., 2017).

The research additionally steered that, whereas the points taking place for same-sex companions weren’t essentially simpler to handle than these of their reverse counterparts, the Gottman Method platform created a method for {couples} to focus on their distinctive preferences for equality in the relationship (Garanzini et al., 2017). Use of the Gottman Method interventions supplied same-sex {couples} methods to enhance their relationships in the themes that had been recognized as contributing to relationship longevity and taught methods of speaking antidotes to criticism and defensiveness that may very well be utilized to their distinctive relationship challenges. Same-sex {couples} additionally reported that because of the new communication methods taught in the Gottman Method, they skilled assist in constructing their friendship connection and had been in a position to rekindle sexual sparks of their relationships. (Garanzini et al., 2017).

Takeaways and advisable analysis 

The problem offered to all clinicians who work with {couples} is to put aside their very own assumptions or judgments about what’s greatest for his or her shoppers and meet them the place they’re at in reaching their desired relationship objectives. Some of the roadblocks {couples} therapists encounter working with identical sex-partners could require clinicians to consider if the “tried-and-true” theories they’ve been utilizing with their opposite-sex companions is legitimate for all of the populations they serve.

Ideally, analysis wants to handle whether it is warranted to develop separate {couples} theories that handle the distinctive wants of homosexual versus lesbian companions. Much of the analysis that’s presently accessible appears to clump same-sex companions collectively as one class. The concept that “one size fits all” doesn’t apply to same-sex companions. Clients have gender variations, life experiences, and the communication sample kinds connected to being male or feminine. This creates a necessity to be addressed individually. 

Are you presently searching for a Certified Gottman Couples Therapist to use research-based approaches to assist your relationship? The Gottman Institute is looking for {couples} to take part in a world consequence research on Gottman Method Couples Therapy. Learn more here.


Garanzini, S., Yee, A., Gottman, J., Gottman, J., Cole, C., Preciado, M., & Jasculca, C. (2017). Results of Gottman methodology {couples} remedy with homosexual and lesbian {couples}. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 43(4), 674-684. doi:

Guschlbauer, A., Smith, N. G., DeStefano, J., & Soltis, D. E. (2019). Minority stress and emotional intimacy amongst people in lesbian and homosexual {couples}: Implications for relationship satisfaction and well being. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 36(3), 855-878. doi:

Holley, S. R. (2017). Perspectives on up to date lesbian relationships. Journal of Lesbian Studies, 21(1), 1-6. doi:

Lopez, S. J., Pedrotti, J. T., & Snyder, C. R. (2019). Positive psychology (Fourth ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Macapagal, Ok., Greene, G. J., Rivera, Z., & Mustanski, B. (2015). “The best is always yet to come”: Relationship phases and processes amongst younger LGBT {couples}. Journal of Family Psychology, 29(3), 309-320. doi:

Obergefell V. Hodges. (2019). Oyez. Retrieved from

Riggle, E. D. B., Rothblum, E. D., Rostosky, S. S., Clark, J. B., & Balsam, Ok. F. (2016). “The secret of our success”: Long-term same-sex {couples}’ perceptions of their relationship longevity. Journal of GLBT Family Studies, 12(4), 319-334. doi:

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