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The Science of Trust: Emotional Attunement for Couples

45 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0393705959
ISBN-10: 0393705951
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Editorial Reviews


“John Gottman has done it again. He has shown why he is a leader in the field of couples therapy. . . . [A]n amazing accumulation of facts, studies, and concepts that are truly useful. . . . I found myself wanting to read this book with a pen and pad in hand just so I could take notes. . . . Not only do I recommend this book, I will certainly encourage my students to read it because in the future much of this material will become expected knowledge for marriage counseling.” (Milton H. Erickson Foundation Newsletter)

“This creative and cutting-edge encyclopedic volume on marriage by the dean of marriage research, John Gottman, has something for the academic, the researcher, the clinician and surprisingly, the game theorist and mathematician...All readers will be stretched and enriched by this book. ” (Harville Hendrix, PhD, and Helen LaKelly Hunt, PhD, coathors of Receiving Love and co-creators of Imago Relationship Theory)

“Gottman’s Science of Trust reflects his lifelong devotion to helping others improve their relationships…. [H]elpful content summaries provide easy access so that a busy practitioner of client can quickly and selectively access Gottman’s latest information as needed…. [A] noteworthy addition to any practitioner’s library.” (Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy)

“[A] text that I will recommend as essential for training marital therapists.” (PsycCritiques)

“As always, John Gottman’s cutting edge science and wide-ranging wisdom about relationships astounds and inspires. This book tells us that the science of love relationships is well on its way. We really can grasp and shape our most important relationships. ” (Dr. Sue Johnson, author of Hold Me Tight)

“John Gottman, the premier thinker and experimenter in the science of couple relationships, has done it again. In his earlier concept of bids, he brought clarity to the murky idea of connection. Now, in the concept of attunement, he brings clarity to the even murkier idea of trust.” (Dan Wile, author of After the Honeymoon)

About the Author

John M. Gottman, PhD, is William Mifflin Professor of Psychology at the University of Washington in Seattle. World-renowned for his work on marital stability and divorce prediction, Dr. Gottman has conducted 40 years of breakthrough research with thousands of couples. He is the author of over two dozen books, including Seven Principles to Making Marriage Work, The Heart of Parenting (with J. DeClaire), When Men Batter Women (with Neil Jacobson), Why Marriages Succeed or Fail, The Marriage Clinic, and The Science of Trust.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (May 9, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393705951
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393705959
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.4 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #179,906 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Gottman, Ph.D., is world-renowned for his work on relationship stability and divorce prediction, involving the study of emotions, physiology, and communication. He was recently voted one of the Top 10 Most Influential Therapists of the past quarter-century by the PsychoTherapy Networker publication. His 35 years of breakthrough research on marriage, relationships and parenting has earned him numerous major awards.

He is the author of 190 published academic articles and author or co-author of 40 books. Dr. Gottman is the co-founder of The Gottman Institute where he currently teaches weekend workshops for couples and training workshops for clinicians. He is the Executive Director of the Relationship Research Institute, where programs have been developed for parents transitioning to parenthood and are beginning a new research project on treatment for Domestic Violence. Dr. Gottman is also in private practice in Seattle and sees couples for weekly and intensive marathon therapy sessions.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

115 of 118 people found the following review helpful By Justin Coulson on April 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I wanted to give this book five stars. My shelves are full of relationship books and parenting books (my specialty), and Gottman is prominent among them. Gottman's credibility is essentially unsurpassed, and his work has been enormously influential in both a research and a practical sense. As soon as I heard about The Science of Trust I ordered it, anxiously awaiting an opportunity to delve into Gottman's latest offering. Unfortunately, my five-star hopes were not met.

The book contains valuable information, no doubt. However the book is far too technical for a non-professional audience. For example, Gottman throws around psychological jargon and statistical terms (such as "discriminant function analysis") freely with limited or no explanation for a lay-audience. Additionally, at least three chapters are dedicated to the mathematics and story behind "Game Theory". For the mathematically inclined I'm sure this is great. For those wishing to learn about relationships it is tedious. Even for clinicians/therapists much of the material is superfluous and lacking in immediate practical application.

Gottman's previous offerings (in trade books) have been wonderfully accessible, full of practical detail, and enjoyable to read and talk about. I found the content of the book fell into two categories for me: superb and informative, or dry, tedious, and unnecessary. As such, I believe this book could have been written in around half the pages.

Another quibble that started as a minor one but grew as the book progressed... the number of spelling and grammatical errors was simply breathtaking. The editorial team have shown a lack of attention to detail that was disappointing.

I wish I could give this book more stars.
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64 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Mark Hurwich on August 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Gottman's work is deservedly renowned, and this is no exception. Unlike a lot of other "next books" that are repeats of an ongoing theme with very little added, The Science of Trust feels mostly new. If you've read Gottman's other works, the parts that foundational are presented in a useful context and with additional elements, so even reading about them again creates new insights. And, of course, the focus on "trust" as a key new ingredient in successful relationships is very useful--particularly because Gottman develops it in a scientific way that takes a lot of the ambiguity out, and replaces it with clearer insight and ideas for how to operationalize it. I'm looking at my copy of the book now, and it has over 40 pages bookmarked with material I want to apply...for example the importance of building trust in ways that include space for challenging emotions, "ATTUNE" dimensions for emotional connection, dynamic models of how trust is built (or betrayed), attuning during regrettable incidents....

That said, the book is heavy reading in the later chapters. Gottman has a lot of mathematical modeling that, personally, I love--but imagine others who've read his more popularized books might find challenging, even though these parts are well explained.

My recommendation: if you're serious about relationships, and are patient, get it and read what you can. You'll learn something worthwhile.
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61 of 81 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca of Amazon HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
You can hardly read a book or magazine article about marriage without the author mentioning John M Gottman's work. He studies couples in a lab and comes up with some interesting facts. Like one thing I didn't know before reading this book was that couples who get therapy are more likely to divorce. This book also explains how couples build trust and what erodes trust. Basically John M. Gottman believes that "emotional attunement creates intimate trust." Throughout the book there are real-life interactions. In one place there are 16 pages of dialogue. Since John Gottman has recorded so many couples talking about their problems he has learned how to analyze his data efficiently. If you are interested in math or science then this book will also be especially interesting to you.

~The Rebecca Review
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Andy Krupp on February 19, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My therapist recommended I start with this book - whoah. Highly technical and broad in coverage of relationship analysis in a somewhat historical perspective. I stayed with it and learned a great deal - helps I enjoy math and psychology but am a novice nonetheless. Now working on how to take what I've learned into practice. Best of luck to you all.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By on January 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is not your typical "self help" book. It explores in depth what trust is and how to recognize trust and how essential it is in a relationship. Developing attunement in a couple is described carefully. There is research data and examples to back up everything that Gottman writes about. This is a great book. I'll read it a few times -- relationships are so complicated and wonderful all at the same time. This book looks at relationship in all its beauty, all of its potential, and all of its challenges.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Janos on December 15, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Blowing away thousands of books' worth of myth and misdirection, Gottman pulls no punches in laying out his data for how couples drift apart and how happy couples stay together. Insightful, meticulous, and detailed, it is often an uncomfortable read, always an insightful one. Not so much a manual of how to repair your marriage, which he covers in other materials, this is more about how it went wrong and the reasons why to work on it. He does nonetheless identify the key behaviours to avoid and the key behaviours that can help.
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