Singapore University of Social Sciences

Couple Counselling: The Gottman Approach

Couple Counselling: The Gottman Approach (CET336)

Applications Open: 07 June 2024

Applications Close: 31 July 2024

Next Available Intake: 21 August 2024

Course Types: Short Course

Language: English

Duration: 4 days

Fees: $2400

Area of Interest: Social Services

Schemes: To be confirmed

Funding: SkillsFuture

School/Department: SUSS Academy

Level: Advanced
Duration: 4 days
Dates: 21 - 24 August 2024
Venue: Singapore University of Social Sciences


This course focuses on couple counselling based on the clinical work and research done by Drs John and Julie Gottman over the past 30 years. The Gottman Method is an approach to couple counselling that includes a thorough assessment of the couple’s relationship and integrates research-based interventions based on the Sound Relationship House Theory. The course aims to equip participants with knowledge and skills for assessment and intervention in couple counselling, based on the Gottman Approach which is developed by Eagles Mediation & Counselling Centre Ltd (‘EMCC”) with consent from The Gottman Institute, USA. EMCC is the exclusive institutional partner of The Gottman Institute in Singapore.

Who Should Attend

This course is for professionals, both counsellors and social workers, who are working with couples and seeking to enhance the effectiveness of their therapeutic work with the couples.


  • Introduction to The Gottman Couple Method 
  • Myths about Dysfunctional and Failing Relationships 
  • Functional Elements in Couple Relationships 
  • Summary Checklist for Dysfunctional and Healthy Relationships
  • The Sound Relationship House Theory
  • Four Horsemen of Apocalypse
  • Assessment Session 1: Couple session 
  • Assessment Session 2: Individual session 
  • Assessment Session 3: Conjoint session 
  • Introduction to Intervention: Philosophy of Therapy
  • Intervention 1: Conflict Management 
  • Intervention 2: The 4 Horsemen and Their Antidotes 
  • Intervention 3: Building Friendship

Learning Outcomes

  • Formulate the theoretical framework for couple counselling underlying the Gottman Approach. 
  • Appraise the key concepts in the Sound Relationship House Theory, assessment and core interventions for couples in counselling. 
  • Formulate the Gottman Approach theoretical concepts, assessment tool and interventions into a coherent approach for assessment and intervention in couple counselling. 
  • Demonstrate clinical skills in conducting couple interviews and applying core interventions appropriately to improve couple relationships.


A. Knowledge and Understanding (Theory Component)

By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • Differentiate the focus between individual and couple counselling 
  • Understand the research-based Gottman Approach for engagement, assessment and intervention in couple counselling
  • Understand key concepts in the Sound Relationship House Theory
  • Appraise couple’s narrative of their relationship and conflictual pattern of interaction 
  • Understand the 16-item assessment tool for Gottman Relationship Checkup 
  • Understand the Love Map as a foundational element for stable marital relationship

B. Key Skills (Practical Component)

By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • Engage couples for assessment and intervention using the Gottman Approach 
  • Appraise relational dynamics between couples 
  • Apply summary checklist to identify functional and dysfunctional couple relationship 
  • Identify conflictual pattern of interaction between couple 
  • Apply key concepts of the Sound Relationship House Theory
  • Conduct oral history interview and assess couple’s narrative of their relationship 
  • Apply Gottman-Approach core intervention 1: Gottman-Rapoport Intervention 
  • Apply Gottman-Approach core intervention 2: Elimination of 4-Horsemen Intervention 
  • Apply Gottman-Approach core intervention 3: Love Map Tool 


 Day 1
09:00 – 10:30

Welcome and Introduction
Group discussion: Individual vs Couple counselling 

10:30 – 10:45

Group discussion: Individual vs Couple counselling
Understanding the language of relationships

10:45 – 12:00Understanding the language of relationships
12:00 – 13:00


13:00 – 15:30 Role-play: Couple interviewing skills and observation 
 15:30 – 15:45 Break
 15:45 – 16:30Learning Objectives of this course

Introduction to the Gottman Approach
Research findings and theory on the Gottman Approach

 16:30 – 17:30 What is “Dysfunctional” and “Functional” in Relationships?
Day 2
09:00 – 10:30The Sound Relationship House Theory  
10:30 – 10:45Break
10:45 – 12:00Group discussion: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse  
12:00 - 13:00Lunch
13:00 - 15:30

Role-play: Interviewing a couple with a perpetual problem
Assessment Session 1: Couple session
Role-play: Oral history interview  

15:30 - 15:45


15:45 – 16:30

Assessment Session 2: Individual session
The Sound Relationship House Questionnaire
Enhanced Relationship Check-up video

16:30 – 17:30Assessment 
Day 3
09:00 – 10:30Assessment Session 3: Conjoint session (contracting and goal setting)
10:30 – 10:45Break
10:45 - 12:00Introduction to Intervention: The Philosophy of the Therapy 
12:00 - 13:00Lunch
13:00 - 15: 30

Intervention 1: Gottman-Rapoport Intervention

15:30 - 15:45Break
15:45 – 16:30

Intervention 1: Gottman-Rapoport Intervention

16:30 – 17:30Assessment
Day 4
09:00 – 10:45Intervention 2: Eliminating the 4 Horsemen and Replacing them with Antidotes
10:45 – 11:00Break
11:00 – 12:30Assessment
12:30 – 13:30Lunch
13:30 – 15:30

Intervention 2: Eliminating the 4 Horsemen and Replacing them with Antidotes
Intervention 3: Building Friendship
Exercise: Gottman Love Map

15:30 – 15:45Break
15:45 – 16.15MCQ Quiz (Assessment) 
16:15 – 17:30

Consolidation of learning points
Feedback for the course   
Gottman Clinical Training & Certification Track


Skills Demonstration - Role Play Assessment (3.5hrs)

  • Learner demonstrates ONE skill area and obtain group learning through feedback 
  • 1 to 2 Observers in a group to feedback demonstration of skills 
  • Self-reflection and observation taken in as part of learning 
  • Group does round robin, so each learner gets to demonstrate one skill each 
  • Skill assessment includes Couple Interview, taking Oral History, use of Gottman Rapoport
     *Trainer/Assessor visits groups to observe demonstration of learning skill and peer learning

Multiple Choice Quiz (0.5hr)

  • A set of questions will be given to the learners to assess their understanding of the topics in line with learning outcomes. Learners must have a score of no less than 70%.


  • Degree in counselling, and at least 1 year experience in counselling and currently doing counselling work 
  • Degree in related fields (psychology, social work and education), completed the 5 foundational modules, at least 3 year experience in counselling and currently doing counselling work at an SSA
  • Master in Psychology or Master in Social Work, at least 3 year experience in counselling and currently doing counselling work at an SSA and completed the foundational module Practicum: Specialised Counselling Skills

About the Trainer

CET336 - Joachim Lee_editedMr Joachim Lee 

Joachim Lee,
PBM, assumes the role of Associate Trainer at Eagles Mediation & Counselling Centre Ltd. Distinguished as a Senior Principal Psychotherapist, he is also a Board Certified Hypnotherapist. Additionally, Joachim is a certified Clinical Member and Clinical Supervisor recognized by the Singapore Association of Counselling. He obtained the Master of Social Science (Counselling) in 2001 from the University of South Australia. To further enhance his clinical acumen, he proceeded to study and completed three years of training in Analytical Psychology under the C.G. Jung Developing Group of the International Association of Analytical Psychology in 2004 and intensive training in Interpersonal Psychotherapy in 2005. He further enhanced and completed trainings in Solution Oriented and Inclusive Therapy, under the guidance and mentorship of the creator, Master Therapist Bill O’Hanlon in 2005 (who was Milton Erickson’s direct student). In 2010, after demonstrating an in-depth knowledge and expertise in the therapeutic modality, he was endorsed as a trainer of the Solution Oriented and Inclusive Therapy approaches to change work. In his on-going journey in therapeutic advancement, he was trained and certified by Dr Jeffrey Zeig and the Ericksonian Foundation in the Ericksonian approach to Psychotherapy and Hypnotherapy in 2008 and the Professional Certification in Clinical Hypnotherapy and Psychotherapy from the Australian Institute of Clinical Hypnotherapy in 2014.

His clinical experience in assessment and treatment are obtained over 20 years of clinical practice in a school as a school counsellor, a youth residential home, in the National University of Singapore Counselling Centre, a residential Home for the Homeless and Alcoholic women, a Family Service Centre and currently in Therapeutic Clinical centre. In 2004, he was certified as Trainer of the Mental Health First Aid, Australia and Singapore and certified as a Gambling Addiction Counsellor in 2005.

He is dedicated to sharpening his skills and knowledge to provide up-to-date neuroscience informed effective therapeutic treatment to his patients/clients. Some of the trainings include intensive training with Cloe Madanes, Co-Creator of Strategic Family Therapy, Professional Certification in Hypnotherapy with Igor Ledowchowski, Freddie and Anthony Jacquin, Bob Burns, Ines Simpson among many others. He also completed training in the Seven Eyed Model of Supervision and was the co-trainer of the modality with the creator, Professor Peter Hawkins. In 2015, under the guidance of Dr Kenneth Kang, he completed training as a Certified Neurofeedback Therapist. He presented in two Asia Pacific Neurofeedback conferences in 2016 and 2017, focussing on integrating neuroscience and psychotherapy/clinical hypnosis. He has completed all three levels of the Gottman Couple Therapy and is on the learning track as a Gottman certified therapist.


Ng Ai LingMs Dawn Tan

Dawn Tan 
is an associate trainer with Eagles Mediation & Counselling Centre Ltd, a Senior Psychotherapist, and a Registered Counsellor and Clinical Supervisor with the Singapore Association for Counselling. She also serves as the Co-Chair of the SAC Community Counsellors Committee and has completed levels 1, 2, and 3 of Gottman Method Couples Therapy.

Dawn has devoted more than 20 years in the social service sector, shouldering various roles and capacities, ranging from children and youth work, casework and counselling in family service centres and eventually taking up the dual role of practitioner and Assistant Director in a Family Service Centre.

In pursuit for effective therapeutic outcomes, she received professional certifications in CTRT, is a Master Practitioner in SFBT, Clinical Hypnosis and is a Certified Clinical Trauma Specialist and Neurofeedback Therapist. Her present specialisation in EMCC is in couple work, Trauma Recovery and clinical supervisor and in promoting the counselling profession in Singapore via SAC’s Community Counsellors Committee.           


Application Procedures

Please submit the following documents to

  1. Coloured copy (back and front) of NRIC for Singaporeans and PRs, or "Employment"/"S" Pass for foreign applicant
  2. Application form

Course Fee

Course Fee for $2400

1 Mid-Career Enhanced Subsidy: Singaporeans aged 40 and above may enjoy subsidies up to 90% of the course fees.
2 Enhanced Training Support for SMEs: SME-sponsored employees (Singaporean Citizens and PRs) aged 21 and above may enjoy subsidies up to 90% of the course fees.

  • Participants are required to achieve at least 75% attendance and pass any prescribed examinations/assessments or submit any course/project work (if any) under the course requirement.
  • Participants are required to complete all surveys and feedbacks related to the course
  • The course fees are reviewed annually and may be revised. The University reserves the right to adjust the course fees without prior notice.
  • Singapore University of Social Sciences reserves the right to amend and/or revise the above schedule without prior notice

For clarification, please contact the SUSS Academy via the following:

Telephone: +65 6248 0263
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