One of the frequent assumptions that people make about the couples workshop that we offer, Gottman's Art and Science of Love, is that it involves psychotherapy and that it is a form of group therapy because we are therapists and because the workshop involves a group of couples. However, the workshop is considered "psycho-educational" and not "psychotherapeutic" in that we provide information via lecture and role play demonstration and have couples practice skills by having private conversations. However, we do not perform an assessment of each couple and do not attempt to analyze or modify a couple's behavior based upon individualized goals. The couples that take our workshop should expect that they will not be subjected to therapy questions, but will have the opportunity to learn more from each other and about their relationship.
What we do is offer a highly effective curriculum, based upon scientific studies, and we offer individual guidance to couples to help them complete communication exercises. Couples are never placed in a situation in which they are asked to disclose personal information in front of a group. They listen to presentations in a lecture style seating arrangement and then are given ample room to spread out and have private conversations while they complete the exercises from the Art and Science of Love curriculum as a couple.
We do believe that there are many benefits of group therapy, such as being able to get feedback from peers and to develop a sense of community. However, we strongly believe that the advantages of group therapy are outweighed by the safety that couples feel in our workshop by not having to share personal information with other couples. A particular type of group therapy that some therapists recommend is support group therapy. What is a support group? It is a group that is either facilitated by a professional or a group of non-professionals. The benefits of support group therapy have been shown by the popularity of the many 12 Step programs that exist and by the many groups that have been designed to support individuals going through grief, illness, difficulties being a caretaker or having a disabled love one. Although we see the benefits of support groups, we have not found a particular support group that is helpful for couples that complete our workshop. Instead if couples are in need of further assistance with their relationship, we recommend couples therapy or a follow-up workshop, titled Art and Science of Love 2 (which is available through www.Gottman.com .