Imago Therapy

When it is going right, the relationship you have with your romantic partner can be both individually fulfilling and emotionally rewarding. You and your partner may feel happy, content, sexual, or even blissful. Many therapists use the analogy of a machine and believe that as long as this “relationship machine” is running well that it will continue to provide satisfying results. Unfortunately our relationships don’t always work. Sometimes our “relationship machine” has a significant “break down”, and we may find ourselves asking if our partner even speaks the same language we do!

Feeling Disconnected From Your Spouse?

APA Imago Therapy Two Silhouette Puzzle Pieces It is common for couples to find that as time passes, they are not connecting in the same way that they once did. Often times couples turn to marital counseling as a way to “get back on the same page,” or “reclaim that spark” that they believe has been lost over a period of months or even years. Often a marital counselor works with a couple by providing communication strategies or other “tips”. For many couples this approach to marital counseling can be helpful. At Allenmore Psychological Associates, we know that effective communication styles are essential to any relationship. However, for some couples simply focusing on improving communication skills does not provide the changes in behavior or emotional connectivity that the couple is seeking. In the case of an affair, physical or emotional abuse, or for couples with a longer history of relationship difficulties, a more intensive approach to marital therapy is often required. Imago therapy is one such approach which we have found provides significant benefits for our clients.

What is Imago Therapy?

Developed by Harville Hendrix, Ph.D., Imago Therapy goes beyond simply focusing on communication skills training and the maintenance of your “relationship machine.” Imago Therapy seeks to understand how early experiences with parents, other influential adults and friends have shaped your current marital relationship. In short, Imago Therapy focuses on what your “relationship machine” is actually Imago Marriage Counseling in Tacoma Allenmore producing, how the “machine” was built, who built it, and what the “machine” itself needs to do to effectively respond to an ever-changing environment.

Imago Therapy is influenced by both age-old psychological theories and cutting-edge physiological discoveries. The couple who is working in an Imago Therapy approach to marital counseling at Allenmore Psychological Associates will explore not only their relationship with each other, but also explore their concepts of “self” and the “other.” These explorations are lead by a skilled therapist who guides the couple through a number of emotionally safe and non-judgmental experiences that enable the couple to revisit their core needs and wants. Imago Therapy does not seek to place blame on either partner, rather its goal is to allow the couple to reestablish themselves as a working unit with shared feeling of trust in one-another. The insights gained through these experiences often change the nature of the relationship itself and can take the couple to a completely new level of love, empathy, and emotional closeness.

How Imago Therapy Helped Doug and Lisa

The case of Doug and Lisa (names and identifying information have been changed to protect the couple’s confidentiality) provides a wonderful example of how participating in Imago Therapy at Allenmore Psychological Associates can change the very nature of a relationship.

Having met in their 20’s, Doug and Lisa quickly fell in love and began to see each other exclusively. After a few months of dating, they wed and their first child quickly followed. The couple reported that they felt happy, satisfied and successful in the early years of their marriage. Lisa was working hard in her career and becoming increasingly successful, while Doug was exploring different career paths and keeping track of their new child’s milestones. However, with the passing of time many of Imago Therapists In Tacoma Washington Couple Arguing the same qualities that had originally endeared the couple to each other began to have the opposite effect. They became increasingly distant and Lisa found herself turning to other individuals to fulfill her emotional needs. The crisis heightened when Doug discovered that Lisa was involved in an extra-marital affair. The couple began to fight constantly, Doug moved out and both individuals blamed eachother for the problems in their marriage.

In an effort to keep the family together, Doug and Lisa turned to a therapist at Allenmore Psychological Associates who used an Imago Therapy approach to counseling. Counseling began with the couple sharing how they met and what they originally envisioned when they began their relationship with each other. As therapy progressed these conversations became deeper and more intense. Doug and Lisa each began to explore their childhood and what they felt went well and what was missing. With the aid of the therapist, the couple noticed similarities in their childhoods, and how each of them was using the other to heal or fulfill earlier unidentified needs. A new level of trust began to establish as Doug and Lisa shared therapeutic experiences which created a stronger bond than they had previously experienced. While some of the wounds each partner experienced needed continued therapeutic work, Doug returned home and he and Lisa recommitted to their marriage. As a result of their experiences in Imago Therapy, Doug and Lisa began to connect emotionally to each other in a new way which set the stage for healing and saving their marriage.

How Long Does Imago Couples Counseling Typically Take?

The case of Doug and Lisa provides an example of Imago Therapy in action. While the process of rebuilding a wounded or broken relationship takes time and varies from one couple to another, at Allenmore Psychology Associates this type of therapy is typically conducted over a period of 12 to 15 sessions. Every marriage has its strengths and weaknesses. As a result, Imago Therapy involves a personal journey and needs to be specifically tailored to the unique needs of each individual and each marriage. Couples with a longer history of romantic neglect, domestic violence, or other fractures in trust may require additional time to heal their relationship through Imago Therapy.

At Allenmore Psychological Associates in Tacoma WA, we have several therapists who are available to work with couples using Imago Therapy and other proven therapeutic models. If working with the Imago Therapy is something that you or your partner would like to explore we encourage you to contact Curtis Greenfield, Psy.D. (view Dr. Greenfield’s professional profile), or speak to one of our compassionate front office staff at (253) 752-7320 about scheduling an initial appointment.