Are You Struggling To Communicate In Your Relationship?
· Are you feeling lost and confused? Do you think something is wrong with you?
· Do you find yourself in repeated attack and defend cycles with your partner?
· Do you argue about the same things without finding a solution?
· Are you concerned your relationship might not survive if something doesn’t change?
· Have you seen repeated negative patterns with different partners?
You are not alone or different because of your struggles with a relationship. Seeking couples counseling is a sign of mental health—not weakness. Being in a healthy romantic relationship is challenging for everyone. As is often said, “relationships are work.” Relationship problems are some of the most common problems people seek couples counseling for. In romantic relationships all of our deepest wounds and fears around intimacy are triggered— often in ways that are much more intense than in friendships or even family relationships. Anywhere we felt abandoned, smothered, neglected or attacked in our childhood will usually come to the surface most painfully in a romantic relationship. This is not a bad thing. That is, the hurt is being triggered and brought to the surface to be worked through and healed. All too often however, we are re-injuring the childhood wounds through attack and defend power struggles inside our coupled relationship instead of healing the wounds. Imago Couples Therapy has been shown to be one of the most successful therapies in training couples to move past dysfunctional patterns that lead to further pain and discord. You will then be trained in healthy patterns of communication that lead to healing, growth, intimacy, and fulfillment within your relationship. Couples counseling is a way for both people to feel safe and open, break through attack and defend patterns, and achieve the closeness you crave.
What are the origins of Imago Couples Therapy?
Imago Couples Therapy was coined by Harville Hendrix, author of Getting The Love You Want. Mr. Hendrix came to his theory through his work as a psychotherapist doing couples counseling, and from his own struggles with his marriage. Imago Couples Therapy is considered by many psychotherapists to be one of the most profound ways for couples to heal troubled relationships and gain greater intimacy. Mr. Hendrix is an internationally recognized figure in the field of relationship therapy and has been a regular contributor to Psychology Today, The Omega Institute, and the Oprah Winfrey Show—among others. He has an international organization for the training and further education of Imago Relationship Therapists that is dedicated to the continued understanding, education, and progression of couples counseling throughout the world.
Where did you get certified in Imago Couples Therapy?
I received my Imago training and certification through the Imago Institute of Pasadena— the leading educational program for Imago Couples Therapists on the west coast.
So what happens in an Imago Couples Counseling session?
As a Certified Imago Relationship Therapist, I have done worked with many couples. In an Imago Couples Therapy session you and your partner will learn effective communication tools to break through relationship issues such as attack and defend power struggles that so many couples suffer from. The main tool is called “mirroring,” in which you actively listen, reflect and empathize with each other’s experience. Once a place of safety is created around any given conflict, a couple is generally able to move past the power struggle and into conscious problem solving—as well as greater appreciation, care, and love for each other. The couples counseling is done in an environment of safety, care, and respect for each partner. Because of the safe structure Imago therapy provides, the counseling elicits a high degree of openness, vulnerability, and growth.
From an Imago standpoint, conflict in your relationship is thought to be“growth trying to happen.” To reiterate, the growth that is trying to happen is part of the “unfinished business of childhood.” Anytime we experience abuse, neglect, or shaming about who we are in childhood, that wound follows us into our adult life and seeks to be worked out in our adult relationships. That said, when conflict occurs in adult couples, there is almost always an old wound from childhood that is triggered. If this wound is approached consciously, it can be healed within the relationship. Further, when the wound is healed in a cooperative, safe manner, each person grows and evolves in their ability to be intimate and get their relationship needs fulfilled.
What happens if I don’t work out my couple’s issues?
If the relationship conflict is not successfully worked through, growth does not occur. Instead, we tend to act out the conflict, get caught in a power struggle, and psychologically re-wound each member of the relationship. This can result in deeper problems with depression, feelings of abandonment, clinging behavior, addictions, and even abuse to yourself or your partner.
Imago Couples Therapy gives you and your partner the tools you need to communicate in a way that promotes healing, intimacy, and love. As a result of couples counseling, the couples I’ve worked with have reported a greater ease in decision making as well as increased happiness, safety, and love.
Do you just give advice during couples counseling?
No! In couples counseling you will be actively practicing the tools of communication and decision-making. You are not just given advice and sent on your way. You will work in session to develop direct communication, active listening, and how to respond to each other’s needs. In addition, you will be given simple exercise to practice at home.
The overall goal of Imago Couples Therapy is safety. That is, for each partner to be consistently safe in expressing and experiencing themselves as an authentic, loved human being. In addition each person is taught to ask for what they want, receive what they desire, and give what they can to their partner.
Even if this sounds good so far, you may still have doubts…
What’s the use? I think my relationship is beyond repair.
Many people come to couples counseling as a last resort. This is normal. While you may feel you are at a dead end with your relationship, what often happens in couples counseling is that the couple finds they are just stuck in patterns of fear and defensiveness that can be freed up with Imago therapy. In working with me you can learn to break free from these stuck patterns and bring new life to the relationship you once thought was without hope.
Couples counseling is expensive and time consuming. I don’t know if I want to spend the time and money.
Couples counseling can take time. The pain you are in took a long time to form, and therapy can take some time to heal it. The amount of time needed to heal varies with every couple. However, the relationship issues we carry tend to repeat with each new relationship and can sometimes last a lifetime if unaddressed. That’s a lot of time! Also, the costs associated with dividing assets and even divorcing can greatly outweigh the cost of effective couples counseling.
I’m so tired. Isn’t this just going to bring up more pain and heartache?
While therapy can be difficult, it is far more difficult and even toxic to a relationship to leave problems unaddressed. The unresolved pain and resulting resentment can erode a relationship’s foundation. You are probably used to dealing with your relationship pain in a way that creates even more suffering. When we go into the pain in couples counseling, we are doing it in a very specific way to heal the pain and rebuild a crumbling foundation. The pain is transformed into greater trust and open-hearted communication grounded in a spirit of understanding, love, and forgiveness.
You can have the love you want in your relationship.
Now can be the time to move into the intimacy, love, and care you want in your relationship. If you have more questions or are ready to get started on the path to healing your relationship, give me a call at(310) 854-2043 for a free 15-minute consultation. You can also email me at the link below.