I am a trained and certified Imago couples therapist. I work directly with couples to help them listen to each other. While this may sound simple, very often, couples experience difficulty because they’ve lost the ability to communicate effectively with each other. This means developing skills to listen without becoming reactive and defensive, and to talk, without being critical or aggressive. It is through re-finding empathy for one’s partner that this may be achieved. I will help you to develop these skills in a safe, non judgmental atmosphere. My work has shown that, in the ability to work through obstacles, couples emerge stronger, and with a new, deeper appreciation for each other. The romance that they find is often deeper and stronger than the original burst of first meeting and falling in love. (The seminal book on Imago Therapy is written by it’s founder, Harville Hendrix: Getting the Love you Want.)
What is IMAGO therapy?
Imago therapy was developed and founded by Harville Hendricks. The idea behind it is that we both consciously, and sub-consciously choose our partners based on what our primary caregivers gave us, and neglected to give us, when we were growing up. When our partners meet our needs, life feels whole and we are content, but when they don’t we can often feel abandoned and hopeless. I help individuals within the couple to talk about their childhoods, so that the listener can begin to empathize or re-empathize with his/her partner – and in so doing, understand moments of acting out. This is achieved through an “Imago Dialog”, where the couple mirrors, validates and empathizes with each other. I coach the couple in the use of this, so that, eventually, they have the tools to deal with conflict, without needing the presence of a therapist.
IMAGO – Case Study:
(The names and details have been ammended to protect confidentiality) Lionel and Mary entered Imago therapy full of despair. They were both hurting each other. Lionel was trying to force Mary to fit into his way of being, and vice-versa. They were were suffering as a result, and on the verge of break-up. In Lionel’s ideal world he would be with her 100% of the time and in constant physical contact. Whereas, in Mary’s ideal world, they would live in two seperate houses with a bridge in between, and she would occasionally pet him like an old Labrador. IMAGO therapy helped them understand that neither one of them was right or wrong, but that they were the way we are because of their childhood experiences. I helped them to understand that when Lionel sought affection from Mary in a particular way, it reminded her of her overbearing, over-affectionate father, who didn’t give her space growing up. And Mary was able to see that her witholding from Lionel reminded him of his distant mother. So, prior to therapy, every time he reached out to her and she walked away, he was triggered into being a 4 year old boy leaning out for love and not getting any. It was only once they understood what their triggers were, and they were able to truly empathize with each other, that they elected to make small changes and “give each other gifts”, sometimes out of their comfort zones. In the process, they have found each other somewhere in between. Mary has taught, and continues to teach Lionel to become more independent, and Lionel has taught Mary to become a little more “dependent”.