Frequently Asked Questions for Clinicians

What is The Gottman Relationship Checkup based on?

As clinicians we seek a relationship profile that can measure the very specific strengths and challenges that our clients are facing in their relationship and in their individual lives. Dr. Gottman's lab began designing many of these assessment scales in 1980 and it has taken decades of diligent research to harness this knowledge into a streamlined assessment tool. That is the accomplishment of the Sound Relationship House Theory and other measures of The Gottman Relationship Checkup.

Before this tool was built, Dr. Gottman needed to know that The Sound Relationship House questionnaires, which are included in the Gottman Relationship Checkup, accurately measure what they purport to measure. For example, if there is a challenge in Fondness and Admiration for one partner but not the other, he needed to be confident that we would actually see less respect and more contempt in a SPAFF coding of the couple’s Conflict Interaction and/or a Buehlman Coding of the couple’s Oral History Interview. He is delighted to report that this is indeed the case. The Gottman Relationship Checkup contains several additional questionnaires, some of which are in the process of being tested and validated. Additional information about the psychometric properties of the questionnaires may be found on the psychometrics page.

What is the process for sending the assessment to a couple?
This can done in four easy steps!
How do I apply to become a member?
To apply to become a member of the Gottman Relationship Checkup, click here.
How much does it cost to apply?
Membership to The Gottman Relationship Checkup is free. Once you have been approved, there is a $29 fee per couple. This can be paid by you or by your client. This cost covers automatic, digital scoring of the assessment, as well as clinical feedback and specific recommendations for intervention written by Drs. John and Julie Gottman.
Do I have to be trained in Gottman Method Couples Therapy?
No. However, training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy will enhance your ability to use The Gottman Relationship Checkup. The core Gottman Assessments are taught in the Level 1 Training. If you are interested in learning more about our professional training program, click here.
How long does it take couples to complete the questionnaires?
The actual time it takes for couples to complete the assessment varies based on individual response time, the complexity of relationship dynamics, and the use of optional comment areas to provide additional information about the relationship. However, on average, you can expect it will take each person one to two hours to complete the assessment.
If my clients don’t want to take the test all at once, can they stop taking the test and resume it later?
Yes! The pace and timing for the completion of the assessment is entirely up to them. Each partner completes his or her assessment individually, and can choose whether to complete the questionnaires all in one sitting or to work on them in increments over time. If they choose to take a break, they can simply log out. Upon their return, the system will remember where they left off and resume at that point.
Can either partner see the other’s answers while taking the test?
No. Once you invite your clients to take the Gottman Relationship Checkup, they will need to create a personal profile before beginning the assessment. Their password is specific to their information and responses. Neither partner can access the other’s information at any time unless profile information and passwords are shared. However, we strongly discourage collaboration in order to preserve the integrity and effectiveness of the questionnaire.
Can a client skip some of the questions or not answer certain sections of the assessment?
The intent of the assessment is that all of the questions are answered. This will allow you to receive a more comprehensive picture of their relationship and also to have the best success in your therapeutic interventions. Many questions have optional comment areas intended for clarification or explanation of responses. This will allow couples to add any important details that they would like you to have about a particular question, topic, or concern.
If I have clients that don’t want to do their assessment on the computer, can I print out the questionnaires instead?
If you have clients that don’t want to do an online assessment, then consider using the previous written versions of the assessment instead. You can download them in PDF form here. The Gottman Relationship Checkup assessment is not intended to be printed nor are the questionnaires in a printer-friendly format. Also, the paper and the online assessment do not match up question for question. It is not possible to do a paper assessment, and then enter it online.
How soon will I get the couple’s results after they finish the questionnaires?
Immediately after the second partner completes his or her assessment, you will receive an email with a link to your password protected section of the website where the couples' completed analysis may be viewed.
If only one partner completes the questionnaire, will I get their results? Or do both partners have to finish the assessment?
For the analysis to be completed, both partners must complete the assessment.
What do I say if the couple wants a copy of their results? What if just one person wants the results, but the other does not?
You may say that the scores and analysis are for the therapist’s use and are not intended to be given to clients because the results are to be interpreted in the context of all the other information obtained about the couple during the assessment process including joint and individual interviews and observations about the couple. The results of the questionnaires do not stand alone.
A second reason is that each partner sets up a private login account so they are free to answer questions openly and honestly without concern about what their partner may think about their answers. It is not possible to see the scores and analysis without revealing each partner’s answers. The therapist is to discuss the results of the entire assessment with the couple and suggest a treatment plan for improving and strengthening their relationship based on all the assessment information. These assessments require sensitivity as well as clinical wisdom to use them to provide a helpful therapeutic roadmap.
Is the Gottman Relationship Checkup compliant with HIPAA?
Yes.
What security measures are in place for the Relationship Checkup?
This site uses 256-bit SSL encryption to secure your connection. No personally identifiable health information is ever transmitted via email. The software the site runs on is actively monitored and kept up-to-date with prompt application of the latest security patches.
Where can I find the norms, reliability, and validity data for the assessment?
Each of the questionnaires provided in The Gottman Relationship Checkup has been created as a unique measure of the couple’s relationship. As such, many sources have been considered and the norms, reliability, and validity data can be found in Dr. Gottman’s many academic journal articles. Complete citations for the references included in the assessment can be found here.
I have used the Gottman standard written assessment package in the past. Why are some of these questionnaires different?
This online tool has been adapted from the paper version and has been revised with the addition of new questionnaires custom-made for the online format. The online version provides you, the clinician, with a comprehensive assessment, automatic scoring, and a recommended comprehensive treatment plan for your clients, and saves you time and effort while also improving accuracy.
Where can I find reliability and validity data for the questionnaires?
Please see our psychometrics page.