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Imago therapy was developed specifically for the understanding and healing of relationships. Some of the issues that imago therapy can help with include:
Feelings of disconnection
Lack of intimacy
You do not have to necessarily be in distress to participate in imago relationship therapy. In fact, couples who are not in distress can significantly benefit from participating, learning about these dynamics within the relationship and gaining a better understanding of themselves and their partner.
Those in committed relationships with a significant other would be excellent candidates to benefit from imago therapy. Couples at all stages and seasons of their relationship are encouraged to participate, from dating and premarital couples to those who have been together for many years.
Individuals can also participate in imago relationship therapy. People who are dating can certainly benefit from learning about their relationship patterns, choices of partners, and how to find and connect with someone who is a safe person and a healthy partner.
One core aspect of imago relationship therapy is the imago dialogue. This dialogue is a structured method, facilitated by a trained imago therapist, which allows partners to gain understanding and increase empathy. The goals of imago dialogue are to:
1. Remove negative, hurtful language from communication
2. Create a safe emotional environment for both partners to openly share
3. Allow both partners equal space and eliminate the idea that one partner has more power over the other
Within this dialogue there is a "sender" and a "receiver," the sender being the one to share thoughts and feelings openly with their receiver. The "receiver" practices the following three steps during the imago dialogue:
Mirroring: Repeating back what you have heard your partner say, in order to gain clarification and understanding. The receiver does this with no judgment, criticism or response, but simply repeating back what they have heard their partner say.
Validation: The receiver works to validate parts of what their partner (the sender) has shared, what makes sense to them. As they are doing this, they are letting their partner know that they "get it" and are actively trying to understand. If there are parts that the receiver does not yet understand, they can ask the sender to share more.
Empathy: At this point in the dialogue, the receiver shares with their partner what they think the other might be feeling. Sharing on this level is a way to let their partner know they are gaining a deeper understanding of their emotional experience, allowing the partner to feel seen and heard.
Although imago relationship therapy is a model of counseling designed to effectively work with couples in committed relationships, you certainly do not need to be in an active relationship to benefit from imago therapy. In fact, many people who are dating may find this type of therapy very useful for examining their own history and how it might be influencing their dating patterns and choices in partners.
By participating in imago therapy by yourself, you can learn what some of your old wounds or emotional raw spots might be that are impacting your relationships. Finding a sense of healing around these raw spots can be valuable in helping you move forward with more confidence and learning how to be a great, compassionate partner in your next relationship.
If you are interested in learning about imago relationship therapy but not yet sure if you are interested in attending a workshop or therapy sessions, there are several popular books written by Dr. Hendrix and Dr. Hunt that you can check out, including:
Imago can assist you and your partner in recreating the intimacy and trust to live beyond infidelity, resentments, communication difficulties, and phase of life issues. Book your appointment today.