More than just a communication theory
Yesterday, I was invited to guest lecture for the Psyd program’s couple’s counseling class at my alma mater, Loyola College. It was exciting to share the power of Imago with these future therapists. In addition to a live demo that my wife and I did, I centered the talk around a presentation I heard 6 years ago at the Imago Conference, entitled 25 years of Imago. Dr Harville Hendrix outlined some of the ways in which Imago differs from other modalities of couples therapy. He prefaced his talk by saying Imago is not a communication therapy.
As time has passed, I have realized the importance of this statement. There are some people who have been exposed to Imago and think they know what it is all about. When speaking to me about a couple in need of help, one person told me that “they need more than mirroring,” implying that this work is merely about communication skills but does not treat deeper issues. This person does not “get” Imago. While we can’t not communicate and communication employed through the dialogue process is the tool that we use to create safety and structure in the session, it is only a means towards an end.
The end is transformation. The dialogue is the vehicle of a transformative process that assists couples to grow and heal. Their perspective on their relationship and on each other radically shifts so that they can truly “show-up” for their spouse, accepting their “otherness”, and viewing them with compassion instead of judgment.
This is why I have seen couples in the worst situations heal their marriage. Whether it is infidelity, or even spousal abuse, couples have used this process to make their marriages, which other therapists have given up on, survive and thrive.
Yes, you will learn communication skills, but more importantly those skills will enable you to connect with your spouse, experience compassion, and heal. In fact, it is the structure of the process and the safe way of communication that allows for Imago therapy to help couples even in the most difficult situations.
It is so fulfilling as a therapist to see suffering transformed into joy. This is what keeps me going everyday. Although it can be painful to hear my client’s stories and their hurt, the change that occurs right before my very eyes in the session provides me the motivation and the obligation to share this work with as many people as possible. No couple should suffer needlessly when they can get help that really works.
If you would like to contact me about your particular situation, I would be more than happy to discuss whether Imago could be right for you. I work with couples both in-person and on Skype so distance should not deter you from getting the help you need. Contact me at 443-570-7598 or by sending a confidential email below.