Marriage and Couples Center

The Gottman Approach for Marriage and Couples

Our team of five couples counselors uses the Gottman Method of Couples Counseling, an approach built on the most reliable research in relationship health. We focus on marriage and couples in a professional environment of consistent collaboration and ever-evolving skills with weekly case study, supervision, and continuing education. With decades of experience and using the soundest research-based approaches with couples, we help you resolve relationship problems and re-capture intimacy.

Couples and Marriage Center

Spark a change toward connection, cooperation, and passion that you had early in the relationship.


Benefits of the Gottman Method for Couples Counseling

Couple cuddling view from above

Rapid And Thorough Assessment

Rapid and thorough assessment allows us to pinpoint where to start and how to proceed. Assessment includes the gold standard tools with decades of research behind them.

Learn What To Do And What to Avoid In Conflict

Learn at the first two sessions how to prevent escalating conflict so the discussion can remain productive. How it goes in the first three minutes is highly predictive of how it ends!

Understand Where to Focus

Understand the difference between solvable and unsolvable conflict. Understand barriers and accelerants to emotional intimacy and fondness. Gain key steps to recover from hurt and betrayal.

Marriage & Couple Center Videos, Articles and Blogs


A turning point in our family’s life was when we began seeing the therapists at Family Psychology. Their staff helped us navigate difficult parenting situations over the course of multiple years, giving us actionable tools which we use daily. Every person we’ve worked with has been kind, thoughtful, professional, helpful, knowledgable, and deeply caring. I hate to think what our family life would be like right now if it weren’t for John, Sharon, and their amazing team.


I have referred six families to Family Psychology and each one of them was as impressed as we have been. We have found them to be wise, insightful, and effective in addressing and resolving issues. Two of the families I referred have since sought marital counseling and both report feeling that it was a turning point in their relationships.


John Petersen is, hands down, the most impressive and effective psychologist I have ever worked with. Over the past several years my husband and I have met with John for marital counseling as well as guidance dealing with issues concerning our children. We value his ability to understand all perspectives, to help/teach us to become more effective in our communication with others and, in the process, to also laugh with us.

When we relocated to another state we met with several psychologists but could not find anyone as effective as John. We highly recommend him!

Treatment Structure For Successful Couples

A series of several 55-minute meetings

We typically meet two weeks in a row, then shift to every other week and taper from there as things improve. Sessions commonly span three to four months, and most couples experience quick growth early on – measurable improvement within the first three meetings.

Effective assessment and goal identification

We have a specific assessment structure to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the relationship in all the key areas correlated with relationship health. We clarify what would have to be different in the end for this process to meet or even exceed your hopes and expectations and we discuss how we will get there.

Focused intervention and sustainable change

Throughout our meetings, we track and work on two global areas: productive conflict dialogue and improving emotional connection in various forms. The emotional connection work may include healing old hurts, repairing broken trust, enhancing the quality of sexual connection, and/or efficiently reversing emotional drift that may have occurred over the years. We are always focused on your specific goals.

Request a Session

Please fill out this form if you are interested in receiving counseling services from Family Psychology of South Bend or call the office at 574-280-8199 and our Office Manager would be happy to schedule you.