This Valentines Day, remember what you love about your partner using Imago Relationship Therapy!
What is Imago therapy and how can it work for your relationship?
Imago therapy is based on the idea that your partner is your image of love. Your partner provides healing and helps you to experience growth. You learn to listen and hold on to your reaction that comes up, so you can be present and attentive for your partner. Plus, you learn to take responsibility for your reactivity and feel fully alive within yourself, which improves your connection with your partner.
Have you ever wondered the real reason you disagree with your partner?
- We are attracted to the differences between our partner and ourselves yet the differences often bring conflict. The attraction and the conflict mean you’ve found the right person. You also tend to fall in love with someone with the same amount of baggage, and we all bring baggage into our relationship.
- When one partner understands the other, the content of the conflict can become irrelevant. The couple develops a deep understanding and appreciation for their differences, and is thus less triggered by them.
- Our behavior and our defenses represent our unmet needs. We fall in love because of certain qualities the other person possesses that meet those needs. However, the quality changes after time, and that same quality represents the lost part of the self.
- Part of our attraction to our partner is to once again feel our wholeness and aliveness because the attraction represents a need to connect to lost parts of the self.
A few items to consider that will make you relationship even better:
- Express appreciation to your partner:
“One thing I appreciate about you is…”
- Listen to your partner. Reflect back what you hear your partner saying to you.
- Validate your partner:
“I hear what you are saying, and it matters to me.”
“What you’re saying makes sense to me because…”
“I can understand that you feel that way because sometimes I…”
- Empathize with your partner: “I imagine you may be feeling…”
How Imago therapy can support your relationship:
- A couple’s experience in Imago therapy will evolve from voicing frustrations about your partner to noticing and sharing your own self-struggles, experiencing and re-experiencing connection and differentiation.
- Through Imago practice, the dialogue rewires the reptilian or automatic responses in the brain, causing us to behave defensively, to become learned and intentional behavior and communication.
- You reflect on yourself, and how you affect your partner and how what you say makes you more or less connected to your partner, and how you wish would respond.
- The Imago therapist provides a safe environment for a dialogue to occur and guides the couple in connection. The therapist teaches you to be hopeful, to get your needs met, to think and reflect, to know your contributions, and be aware of obstacles.
- We take the therapy hour to listen, understand, and empathize with our partner. You learn how to communicate to your partner in a respectful way, where you express your experience, your feelings, in a way that benefits your partner.
- The couple first understands each other’s concerns, in a safe environment, and then they are able to solve or accept them.
- A couple learns that all people make sense all of the time if we listen long enough. Taking the time to correctly perceive our partner can then cause us to act and project our energy in a healthy manner.
Grace McDonald, M.A., RCC, RMFT