Comparison of Effectiveness of Emotion-focused Couple Therapy and Gottman’s Relationships Enrichment Program on Women’s Fear of Intimacy

Document Type: Original Article


1 Ph.D. student, Department of Counseling, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Science, Khomein Branch, Islamic Azad University, Khomein, Iran

2 Associate Professor, Department of Counseling, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Science, Khomein Branch, Islamic Azad University, Khomein, Iran

3 Assistant Professor, Department of Counseling, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Science, Khomein Branch, Islamic Azad University, Khomein, Iran



Introduction: Avoiding close relationships and fear of intimacy may have devastating effects on a person’s emotional and psychological well-being. Hence, the present study aimed to compare the effectiveness of emotion-focused couple therapy and Gottman’s relationships enrichment program on women’s fear of intimacy.
Methods: This research was a quasi-experimental field research with a control group as well as three-months follow-up. The statistical population consisted of women in Khomein city who referred to a counseling center in 2017. Among them, 36 women were selected by convenience sampling method, and were randomly assigned to two experimental groups and one control group. To collect the data, the Fear of Intimacy Scale was used.
Results: The results indicated that both training interventions are effective in fear of intimacy among women (P≥0.01). Bonferroni’s post ad hoc test showed that the emotion-focused couple therapy is more effective than Gottman’s enrichment approach on fear of intimacy and its aspects (P≥0.05). Also, the difference between the two experimental groups and controls was significant in post-test (P≥0.05). Results in the follow-up phase also showed that both experimental groups had lower mean values compared to the control group in terms of fear of intimacy and its aspects, indicating a reduction in fear of intimacy and survival of the intervention.
Conclusion: Based on the findings of the present study, both treatments can reduce the fear of intimacy in women, and the effectiveness of emotion- focused couple therapy is higher than that of Gottman’s relationships enrichment approach.


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