Have you gone for couple’s therapy only to leave your first session feeling angrier or more frustrated with your partner than ever?
In the movies you often see Marriage counseling provided by an “expert” who hears each partner, decides what they should each do, and offers their advice. The trouble is that most of us have developed very good defenses against accepting advice, especially if it looks like maybe we are in the wrong, and are being told to do things right. That’s why those movie scenes are often comic, and when we watch part of the humor is recognizing that it won’t work.
Imago couples therapy takes a radically different approach. We don’t work to “fix” you, we invite you to join with us in working on the relationship as a whole. In Imago, nobody is right or wrong. The challenge is to learn how to talk together about things which really matter, in a way that feels safe, supportive and positive.
That puts you in the driver’s seat! You and your partner learn to work on the relationship yourselves, and you become the experts on your own relationship by learning to find out what is really going on for your partner, and understanding how things in the present have a deep emotional connection to their past. From a previous website of Dr. Harville Hendrix and Helen Hunt. Also see https://harvilleandhelen.com/initiatives/what-is-imago/
Imago therapists provide an emotionally safe place for couples who want to re-vitalize their relationship. This becomes clear in the first session. In fact, couples are generally very impressed with the Imago process so much so that they refer their friends.
Imago theory and therapy, developed by Harville Hendrix, focuses on the growth and healing possible in relationship. We Imago therapists believe that because we are wounded in relationship, healing happens in relationship. The principal intervention in Imago work is the Imago Dialogue, a structure which will help you maintain connection while navigating difference. Imago therapy promotes Nonviolent Communication techniques developed by internationally known Marshall Rosenberg. The Imago Dialogue helps people move from disconnection to connection, from stress to safety, from animosity to passion and “From conflict to hope:”
At some point in their relationship, couples often find themselves struggling with anger and shock, despair and sadness. Some are newlyweds, and can’t understand how they have plummeted from the heights of love and glory into a swamp of hopelessness and conflict. Others have been married for many years, and though they have been slogging along – in calm or storm – their days of wine and roses are a dim memory. Even if life at home is relatively peaceful, couples lament that they have “nothing in common anymore.” And so they lead a disappointed or angry co-existence, each with their own friends and interests, in a marriage of convenience, or an arrangement they endure “for the sake of the children.”
Shattered dreams, whatever form they take, are painful. But there is hope. In fact, the pain and conflict of committed relationships arise not out of lack of love for our partners, but from a misunderstanding of what love relationships are about. Your conflict can be the very fuel for the fulfillment you seek.
As a Certified Advanced Imago Relationship Therapist, I specialize in working with couples on relational issues. Imago work is also for individuals not currently in a relationship, who “are tired of making the same mistakes over and over again and want to learn the secret to finding and keeping lasting love. Often we are tempted to think the problem is ‘finding the right person.’ But this is all about ‘becoming the right person.’” Imago work is invaluable in helping parents with children. Please feel free to call me to learn more about this exciting, effective and meaningful process.