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The Science of Trust Emotional Attunement for Couples, 1st Edition

An eminent therapist explains what makes couples compatible and how to sustain a happy marriage.

For the past thirty-five years, John Gottman’s research has been internationally recognized for its unprecedented ability to precisely measure interactive processes in couples and to predict the long-term success or failure of relationships. In this groundbreaking book, he presents a new approach to understanding and changing couples: a fundamental social skill called “emotional attunement,” which describes a couple’s ability to fully process and move on from negative emotional events, ultimately creating a stronger relationship.

Gottman draws from this longitudinal research and theory to show how emotional attunement can downregulate negative affect, help couples focus on positive traits and memories, and even help prevent domestic violence. He offers a detailed intervention devised to cultivate attunement, thereby helping couples connect, respect, and show affection. Emotional attunement is extended to tackle the subjects of flooding, the story we tell ourselves about our relationship, conflict, personality, changing relationships, and gender. Gottman also explains how to create emotional attunement when it is missing, to lay a foundation that will carry the relationship through difficult times.

Gottman encourages couples to cultivate attunement through awareness, tolerance, understanding, non-defensive listening, and empathy. These qualities, he argues, inspire confidence in couples, and the sense that despite the inevitable struggles, the relationship is enduring and resilient.

This book, an essential follow-up to his 1999 The Marriage Clinic, offers therapists, students, and researchers detailed intervention for working with couples, and offers couples a roadmap to a stronger future together.

About the Author

John M. Gottman, PhD, is William Mifflin Professor of Psychology at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is the author of over two dozen books, including Seven Principles to Making Marriage Work, The Heart of Parenting (with J. DeClaire), When Men Batter Women (with Neil Jacobson), Why Marriages Succeed or Fail, The Marriage Clinic, and The Science of Trust.

Gottman’s work is deservedly renowned, and this is no exception. Unlike a lot of other “next books” that are repeats of an ongoing theme with very little added, The Science of Trust feels mostly new. If you’ve read Gottman’s other works, the parts that foundational are presented in a useful context and with additional elements, so even reading about them again creates new insights. And, of course, the focus on “trust” as a key new ingredient in successful relationships is very useful–particularly because Gottman develops it in a scientific way that takes a lot of the ambiguity out, and replaces it with clearer insight and ideas for how to operationalize it. I’m looking at my copy of the book now, and it has over 40 pages bookmarked with material I want to apply…for example the importance of building trust in ways that include space for challenging emotions, “ATTUNE” dimensions for emotional connection, dynamic models of how trust is built (or betrayed), attuning during regrettable incidents….

That said, the book is heavy reading in the later chapters. Gottman has a lot of mathematical modeling that, personally, I love–but imagine others who’ve read his more popularized books might find challenging, even though these parts are well explained.

My recommendation: if you’re serious about relationships, and are patient, get it and read what you can. You’ll learn something worthwhile.

Product Details :

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (May 9, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393705951
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393705959
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.4 inches

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