Four Horsemen in Couple and Family Therapy
Name of Concept
The Four Horsemen in Couple and Family Therapy
The Horsemen of the Apocalypse; The four relationship killers; The four destructive relationship behaviors
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse refers to patterns of negative affect and behavior observed in couples’ interactions. They represent an escalation of negativity that strongly predicts relationship distress or breakup. A major goal of the Gottman method couple therapy is to reduce and/or eliminate the Four Horsemen when they are present. The vivid imagery of the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” was drawn from the description of destruction found in the book of Revelation and was used by Dr. John Gottman to highlight their destructiveness to relationships.
Theoretical Context for Concept
Gottman’s research into couples discovered a ratio of negative to positive exchanges during conflict conversations that predicted the trajectory of the relationship over time. Couples whose relationships...
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