Groundbreaking Study Establishes Gottman Method Couples Therapy As Effective For Gay and Lesbian Couples

October 4, 2017

In 2007, Alapaki Yee and I were two years into our relationship. At that time, I had just started a small private psychotherapy practice in San Francisco. Alapaki was in a counseling psychology graduate school program; we hoped to someday build a practice together.

What most people don’t know is that when you’re dating another therapist, you like to surprise each other with continuing education. You can complete the units together, and sometimes turn it into a short getaway.

I had never really considered visiting Seattle when our plane landed there in August, 2007. This was supposed to be my big surprise for my 30th birthday. I thought we were going to Switzerland, one of my favorite places in the world.

I was even more surprised when a taxi arrived at our hotel the following morning. The “surprises” continued as Alapaki told the driver to take us to the Seattle Center, and then we walked into John and Julie Gottman’s ‘Art and Science of Love’ workshop.

In all honesty, I immediately started having fun learning about the communication techniques they were teaching. We enjoyed the break out exercises. The only problem in our mind was that we were one of three same-sex couples in a room of three hundred heterosexual couples.


We asked John and Julie about whether these workshops exist for gay couples. They said, “Oh would you do that for us???” I thought, “Sure.” I don’t think they expected, though, that Alapaki and I would go back to our hotel and start planning. After several hours of dreaming and writing out many details, the Gay Couples Institute was created.


New Outcome Research Study Shows Effectiveness of Gottman Method Couples Therapy with Gay and Lesbian Couples

June 8, 2017

Gay Couples Institutey

Today is a really exciting day for the Gay Couples Institute.

My husband, Alapaki Yee, and I have written *the first* outcome research study on couples therapy with gay and lesbian couples, establishing Gottman Method Couples Therapy (GMCT) as an evidence-based practice for treating same-sex relationships. 

It has been accepted for publication by the peer-reviewed Journal of Marriage and Family Therapy. 

Even more amazing, we found that our couples going through Gottman Couples Therapy improved 200% more than other couples going through treatment as usual. This says wonders about same sex relationships, the Gottman Method, and the Gay Couples Institute. 

Here’s a link to the press release:


– Salvatore Garanzini, MFT
Executive Director
Gay Couples Institute™
Certified Gottman Method Couples Therapist

Tips for Gay Couples: Are most gay relationships open?

December 29, 2016

Sexual Incompatibility
This question comes up several times per year as couples approach us for therapy. After receiving this question during our most recent webinar, I thought it would be a good idea to summarize the current research literature on the topic.

The main take away from this article should be:

  • bullet some open relationships work well
  • bullet some monogamous relationships work well
  • bullet open relationships need boundaries that either partner can assert without reprisal

Summary of research about gay couples and open relationships:

One of the earliest articles about the topic was by Blumstein and Schwartz in 1983. They said that 65 percent of American gay men and 23 percent of lesbian couples had some form of nonmonogamous relationship, compared to 15–28 percent of heterosexual couples.

In a 2006 study, Adams interviewed gay men in Canada. He found that…

Top Gay Couples Institute Relationship Blog Articles

October 6, 2016

Our goal is to provide solid relationship tips and counseling information for gay couples around the world. On this relationship blog, you can read articles written by some of the best gay couples therapists in San Francisco, New York, and San Diego.

Here’s our most downloaded content, as of 2016:

  1. Do most lesbian relationships follow the butch-femme dynamic? Written by Sam Garanzini in 2010, this article was constructed for lesbian couples asking why the butch-femme relationship dynamic is so common. It started as a simple email to Sam. As it turns out, this dynamic is heavily researched in the academic world. Now it has been downloaded 8100 times, and linked across the internet. https://goo.gl/CmP0bQ
  2. What are the positive aspects of being gay or lesbian? Did you know that one in three gay teenagers will seriously contemplate suicide? This article was written to remind young people that there’s actually advantages to coming out. This was written long before gay marriage legalization, or therapy helping gays and lesbians was prevalent. This article has now been downloaded 2300 times since 2008, and our hope is that 2300 people benefitted somehow after reading it.  https://goo.gl/X0pCg6
  3. How do you resolve sexual incompatibility?  Our couples therapy clinic in San Francisco first opened in 2008, and approximately 97% of the 1600 couples who have approached us for help list sexual differences as a paramount issue. Why? Because sex is the first thing to go once conflict ensues. We find that as couples learn to be more skilled at conflict, they can get their sexual needs met. https://goo.gl/kwiZLD
  4. How do you spice up your sex life? This is a common article found on the internet, but we wanted to share some ideas actually founded upon sexuality research. This has been downloaded 1100 times since January, 2016. We’re proud that the sexuality tag is the most accessed part of our gay relationship blog. https://goo.gl/lyWuoA
  5. What are some easy ways for gay couples to increase their intimacy and connection? Couples love quick information that they can implement immediately. These were some of the main items we encountered in our relationship therapy clinics. https://goo.gl/SytzVd

If you’d like more information, look into our free webinars at https://www.gaycouplesinstitute.org/live/. With new technology available every year, we’ve started using webinars to offer gay couples relationship advice across the world. Now you can even do your therapy online. Hope to see you on one of our webinars soon!

  • Sam and Alapaki

Exclusive for Gay Couples: Rekindle the Spark 2017 Webinar

September 8, 2016

Want to feel closer to your partner?

Learn three easy skills designed to keep your relationship strong in our next free webinar. Receive downloadable PDF’s, and several bonuses for attending. Check out this video, which explains all the content we cover Tuesday at noon (PST)!

Tips for Gay Relationships: What’s All The Buzz about Fighting Naked?

July 15, 2016

One couple recently asked about something they heard from their friends. Their friends, who happened to be a straight couple going through a marriage prep workshop, learned that one way to reduce the intensity of your arguments was to strip naked during a heated debate.
Sexual Incompatibility

My first thought was, “I hope you only fight at home…”

Where does this idea fall within the Gottman Method (which we utilize successfully in all our clinics)?

Fighting naked is a kind of “repair attempt”. What John Gottman, the country’s leading relationship researcher, found was that couples who have stable and happy relationships recognize when their interaction isn’t going well, and they make small attempts to backtrack.

The goal is to lighten the intensity, and click the argument into more productive territory.


Next Page »