Exploring the Power of Imago Couples CounselingJan 14, 2023
''We are born in relationship, we are wounded in relationship, and we can be healed in relationship.''
- Harville Hendrix
Have you ever wanted to really understand how your partner is feeling? Or have they ever wanted to really understand how you are feeling? Imago Couples Therapy provides an opportunity for couples to learn how to listen and reflect on each other's thoughts and feelings in a safe, non-judgmental environment. Let’s explore the benefits of this approach and look at an example of a session.
The goal of Imago couples counseling is for couples to gain a better understanding of each other’s thoughts, feelings, and needs. This is done by listening with empathy and reflecting back what the speaker has said in order to deepen understanding. This can be done during structured sessions with a trained therapist or during conversations that happen naturally between partners.
-One example of an Imago couple’s session might go like this:
Therapist: “Let’s start off by having each one of you take turns sharing your feelings about something that happened last week. You can go first, John.”
John: “I felt frustrated when I was trying to get dinner ready for us last night and you kept interrupting me. It made me feel like my opinion didn't matter."
Therapist: “Thank you for sharing that, John. Is there anything else you'd like to say?”
John: “No, I think that's it."
Therapist: “Mary, what are your thoughts on what John just shared?"
Mary: "I can see why you would feel frustrated when I was talking while you were cooking dinner last night. I wasn't aware that my interruption was making it difficult for you to finish cooking dinner."
Therapist: "So Mary, it sounds like what John said made sense to you?"
Therapist: "Is there anything else either one of you would like to add?"
Therapist: "Alright then. It seems like the two of you are getting a better understanding of each other's point of view on this situation."
In this example dialogue we can see how the therapist guides the conversation towards mutual understanding for both partners to gain clarity about their partner's perspective on a given topic. By encouraging both partners to listen closely and respond with reflection, the therapist creates an environment where both parties feel heard and understood.
The Imago Style Couples Therapy is based on creating an environment where both partners can be heard without judgement or criticism. Through active listening and reflective responses from both parties as well as guided discussion from a trained therapist, couples get the chance to deepen their understanding of one another's thoughts and feelings which often leads to improved relationships overall. By using this method, couples can develop healthier communication strategies which can help them resolve conflicts more effectively in their relationship going forward. If practiced consistently over time, these strategies can create stronger bonds between partners as well as lead them down paths towards mutual trust, respect, fulfillment and self-discovery within themselves as individuals as well as within their relationship together as a couple.
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