The Psychotherapist Association for
Gender & Sexual Diversity

Considerations for Gottman Method couples counseling
with same-sex couples

April 29, 2018, 1:00 - 3:00 PM
(After the Gaylesta Annual Meeting)
Alliance Health Project, 1930 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Instructors: Sam Garanzini, LMFT, and Alapaki Yee, LMFT

2.0 CE credits
Registration Fee:
Free for Gaylesta Members
To Register, click here 

Since clinical and research literature first focused on same-sex couple relationships, questions have been raised as to the degree to which the issues and therapy of same-sex couples are comparable to and different from those of heterosexual couples. Over time, some differences have been noted: in terms of the dynamics of couple interactions, the solutions couples may choose to address their concerns, and the impact of larger social and structural factors on the couple’s capacity to thrive. Familiarity with, and skill in addressing these issues can mean the difference between achieving a positive working alliance with a same-sex couple, and the successful outcome of therapy. For some couples, it can be important to be recognized as a gay-friendly therapist who understands queer issues. The presenters would like to get your input in advance about the specific couples therapy issues of most interest to you, in order to tailor their talk accordingly. Please take a few minutes to complete a brief survey on this topic by following this link.

While some of the considerations raised in this seminar hold true for any couples work, this program is grounded in the Gottman Method. John Gottman is notable for having conducted empirical research on marriage and relationships for over 40 years. Based upon his research, he (along with his wife, Julie Schwartz Gottman) developed an evidence-based model of couples therapy. He has continued to conduct research on that model and the dynamics of couple relationships at The Gottman Institute and The Marriage Clinic in Seattle. He is notable for having compared same-sex and heterosexual couples over time in terms of conflict interaction and same-sex couple relationship satisfaction vs. dissolution.

The leaders of this workshop are the first to publish an outcome research on the effectiveness of Gottman Method Couples Therapy with same-sex couples. The speakers will review some of their research findings, thereby providing insights which may further your success with same-sex couples. They will describe couple dynamics illuminated by the Gottman Model, discuss similarities and differences between heterosexual and same-sex couples, and share important considerations when using the Gottman Method with same-sex couples. These considerations will help you add to your knowledge base, reframe some clinical scenarios with couples, and strategize potential interventions when couples appear “stuck” in an repetitive, unproductive interactional loop.

Participants will be able to:

  • Define six things all couples argue about
  • Explain how same-sex couples tend to argue differently than heterosexual couples
  • Define key differences in same-sex presenting problems
  • Understand the impact of physiology on the intensity of arguments
  • Identify ways to overcome resistance to change
  • List several basic tenets of Gottman Method Couples Therapy and their importance

Seminar Leaders

Salvatore (Sam) Garanzini, LMFT, is the Executive Director and Co-founder of the Gay Couples Institute, based in San Francisco, CA. Salvatore is also an adjunct professor in the University of San Francisco Counseling Psychology Department. Alapaki Yee, LMFT is also a Cofounder of the Gay Couples Institute. Both are Certified Gottman Couples Therapists. Sam and his husband Alapaki opened the Gay Couples Institute in 2007, and to-date GCI has served over 2000 couples. In addition, they supervise clinical staff performing couples therapy at the Institute’s San Francisco, San Diego, and New York locations. In collaboration with Dr. John Gottman and his team, they have just published the first empirical outcome study demonstrating the effectiveness of the Gottman Method on same-sex couples.

1. Introduction
2. Six Common Things All Couples Argue About
3. How These Concerns are Different or Similar in Same-Sex vs. Straight Couples
4. Do Same-Sex Couples Argue Differently?
5. What Happens In The Body When Same-Sex Couples Argue?
6. Key Sexuality Considerations (conflicts over non-monogamy, sexual needs, etc.)
7. Several Basic Tenets of Gottman Method Couples Therapy
8. The Social Context of Gay Relationships (levels of outness, overt discrimination, social isolation, political turmoil, public affection)

Target Audience
This program is open to clinical psychologists, counselors, psychotherapists, case managers, social workers, marriage & family therapists, addiction treatment specialists, other mental health professionals and those working within the LGBTQ community. It is not appropriate for the general public.

There are no potential conflicts of interest for the instructors in providing this seminar on behalf of Gaylesta.

Continuing Education Information
Gaylesta, Inc. is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists.  Gaylesta, Inc. maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

This workshop is sponsored by Gaylesta: The Psychotherapist Association for Gender and Sexual Diversity. These CE units may also be credited to other licensed mental health professionals, such as LCSWs, LPCCs, and LMFTs. CE credit will only be awarded for full attendance.