A Comparison of the Effectiveness of the Gottman Couples Therapy and Emotion-Focused Couples Therapy Approaches on Marital Adjustment in Families


This study was conducted to compare the effectiveness of the Gottman couples therapy (GCT) and emotion-focused couples therapy (EFCT) approaches, which have shown significant effects on the improvement of marital adjustment in recent studies worldwide, on the improvement of couples’ marital adjustment. Couples’ marital adjustment is one of the most significant factors in their families’ health and happiness. The design of the present study is quasi-experimental with pretest, post-test, follow-up, and control group. Forty-eight individuals (24 couples) referring to the counseling clinics affiliated to the Ministry of Education in Tehran were selected using the convenience sampling method and then were assigned into three groups: the Gottman group (n ₌ 16, 8 couples), the emotion-focused group (n ₌ 16, 8 couples), and the control group (n ₌ 16, 8 couples). Both Gottman and emotion-focused groups received ten sessions of treatment while the control group received no treatment. The Dyadic Adjustment Scale (Spanier 1976) was used to measure marital adjustment. The obtained data were analyzed using the mixed ANOVA. The pretest-posttest results showed a greater effectiveness of the GCT than the EFCT in improving the dyadic adjustment. In addition, no significant difference was observed between the posttest and follow-up results (p > 0.05), suggesting the stability of the intervention outcome with time. Hence, based on the findings, it can be concluded that the GCT approach is an effective approach for handling marital conflicts, and it can be used as one of the therapeutic or educational methods in couples therapy programs.


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