What is IMAGO Therapy?
Imago therapy is a type of relationship therapy that helps couples make breakthroughs in areas where they are stuck, and focuses on increasing communication and intimacy. With IMAGO you learn techniques that takes fewer sessions to get to the core patterns that fuel most conflicts, and you learn how to replace them with understanding, empathy and compassion. IMAGO gets to the root of the problem, not just put a band-aid on the problem. If you don’t get to the root the underlying problem will pop up again in a different way.
Imago therapy empowers couples and individuals with tools, skills and principles that they can learn and use on their own outside of therapy, reducing dependence on a therapist.
Imago therapy helps normalize and make sense of most of the distress that happens between spouses / partners. Its has tools to promote connection and emotional intimacy without losing one’s self in the process. You learn how to respect differences, the fact that your partner is not you, yet still grow and deepen connection.
Imago therapy increases compassion, even when you don’t like what your spouse or partner does, and provides more internal motivation for successful change.
Imago therapy will work for you if you work to use the tools, skills and information you learn. I have used the tools and principles of Imago Relationship Therapy for over 25 years in my own relationship and it works. It has given me a much more effective approach to working with frustrations, misunderstandings and the unintentional ways that we hurt each other.
IMAGO (i-ma-go) was created by Dr. Harville Hendrix and his wife, Helen Hunt. It is described best in the New York Times best selling book: “Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples”.
More About Couples Therapy
Couples come to therapy for many reasons but the most common reasons are for better communication, more trust, more emotional intimacy and more sexual intimacy.
Often, one partner wants the other to have more empathy, compassion and a better understanding of their perspective. Sometimes people don’t feel safe asking for what they need/want in the relationship. Sometimes people ask for what they want but never seem to get it. Whatever the reason, couples are often at an impasse, unable to get the empathy and understanding they need from each other by themselves.
Therapy helps couples re-evaluate what is working and what you’d like to see differently in the relationship.
Statistics today identify the four predictors of divorce to be:
Criticism is the main offender. Couples therapy is about eliminating these adverse coping skills and replacing them with effective skills and techniques to develop and enhance a partnership based on love, safety, support and passion.
As the therapist, I see my role as a coach, giving attention, support and direction to helping couples develop what they need to make the break through rather than the break up.
Together we will:
1) Identify and prioritize the issues, problems and conflicts
2) Identify the strengths each of you bring to the relationship
3) Identify factors that sabotage what you want
4) Help you develop insights and skills to get what you need
5) Look at what behaviors and ideas you might need to let go of to get what you really want
6) Look at how you can support each other effectively and genuinely throughout the changes you make
On the first visit, I usually ask the couple to come up with three responses to:
“This relationship would be better for me if…..”
The goal of therapy is to make changes so the couple will have increased satisfaction and feel more love and connection in the relationship. I use many different, short term, effective approaches to do this.
Therapy gives both people insights about what different behavior they want to see in themselves and what different behavior they want to see in their partner. For couples that decide not to stay together, therapy can give you insight to know yourself and what your wants and needs are for any future relationship.
I also meet with couples prior to weddings and holy unions. Pre-Marital counseling gives couples the opportunity to look at issues that often come up in relationships before they come up! This gives the couple the chance to see where they have differences in values and beliefs, and how they can prevent conflict when these differences arise. You don’t have to agree on everything to have a good relationship, but you have to respect the differences. I have a pre-commitment questionnaire that addresses relationship issues. These include: money, relatives, children, vacations, work, household chores, sex, dealing with crisis times of life, fidelity, romance, use of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and other drugs, communication rules, personality differences, role of friends, physical appearance, jealousy, cultural background issues, personal goals, pre-nupual agreements and blending families. Discussing your areas of concern prior to your big day, will give you an insightful and valuable approach to minimizing future problems and maintaining respect in your relationship.