All relationships go through their share of ups and downs, but some of them tend to have a lot more problems. Whether you’re newly into a relationship, are going through a tough time with your partner, or have been committed for a few years, Imago Therapy can really help bring about a positive change, and pave the way for healing and growth.
Imago therapy can particularly help couples who have been facing communication issues, and those who have regular disagreements and conflicts. It can also help strengthen the bond between partners who lack intimacy, and those who feel disconnected and away from their partners.
While I’m sharing about this therapy, I’d like to stress that there is no substitute for licensed couples counseling. Please read this article to see how quality licensed couples counseling can benefit your relationship.
How Imago Therapy Can Transform Your Relationships
I had the pleasure of meeting a lady who had just celebrated her 50th wedding anniversary. Let’s call her ‘Sharon.’ We met at a retreat where personal sharing was encouraged. When I asked her the secret of being married so long, she smiled and said, “Therapy!” She went on to tell me of the struggles in the first ten years of their marriage.
Sharon came from a broken home. Her father had walked out on her mother and children. Consequently, Sharon found it hard to trust men. When she got married, she lived in constant fear of her husband leaving her. She didn’t trust him. She was convinced her would start an affair and abandon her. So Sharon took to spying on her man. This was before the days of email and mobile phones, so her snooping had to be done in person or on the telephone. She would drop by at his office unannounced. She’d constantly cross question him about every meeting. Sometimes she’d ring the office, using a different name to check on his whereabouts. At first, her husband thought it was sweet and did everything to reassure Sharon of his faithfulness. Then, her behaviour started to get talked about at his workplace. This caused him embarrassment and anger. Sharon would apologize and promise to change her ways, but some small action of his would set her off again. Until her husband, a most patient man, gave her an ultimatum. She would agree to go for counseling or they’d have to part ways. A friend recommended a therapist who practised Imago Therapy and it worked for them.
What is Imago Therapy?
Imago therapy, like many other relationship therapies, is focused on helping the couple reconnect with each other, understand each other better, and develop a stronger, healthier bond. However, there’s a bit of a difference about its entire approach.
This therapy is based on the idea that most of our adult relationships and the problems that we go through in these relationships stem from our childhood experiences.
How Does it Help?
Since Imago Therapy is primarily based on the belief that negative childhood experiences have a huge impact on our adult relationships and the problems one faces in those relationships, the therapy first attempts to help one address those negative emotions.
While there is little scientific research found to back up the effectiveness of this therapy, it has been found that this therapy has helped many couples develop a better mutual understanding, increased empathy and have found ways to reduce conflicts between them and strengthen their bond and find a common ground in case of future disagreements. These couples also stopped criticizing and blaming each other, and developed more respect for their partners.
While that all sounds like one big happy story, how exactly does it all work- you may ask.
How Does it Work?
The entire therapy is based on three simple stages- mirroring, validation and empathy. As the terms suggest, these stages are focused on helping you listen to what your your partner has to say, repeat it back without judgment and criticism, validate it, and attempt to get a deeper understanding of what your partner has to say, helping them feel more understood and heard.
This encourages couples to have a logical conversation, speak their heart out without getting angry at each other, and also helps them understand their partner’s struggles, pushing them to see things from a different perspective.
All in all, Imago Therapy can help bring about a very positive, transformative change in your relationship, and can shape you into a more understanding, empathetic person.
That’s a wonderful way of reconnection! Mirroring, validation and empathy…so true!
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