1. How does couple therapy work?
Making any change even for the better is an intimidating process for all of us. Our couple therapy process is largely influenced by Imago Therapy, where a couple agrees to remain in treatment for an initial 6-12 week process of rebuilding their relationship. As a therapist we join you on this journey as a coach, facilitator and guide.
2. What is imago couple therapy?
Imago therapy is a specific style of relationship therapy designed to help conflict within relationships become opportunities for healing and growth. The term imago is Latin for “image” and, within imago relationship therapy, refers to an “unconscious image of familiar love.”
Imago relationship therapy was developed by Harville Hendrix, PhD and Helen LaKelly Hunt, PhD. In the late 1970s, both clinicians had experienced divorce in their relationship history. After looking for effective and evidence-based support for understanding relationship dynamics and finding very little in the way of helpful resources, they chose to build from their own experiences to research and develop an evidence-based model of counselling that would help facilitate healing and growth in committed relationships.
3. Am I expected to stay the full 12 weeks?
That depends on several variables, including the level of wounding you both experienced during early childhood, how much you’ve hurt each other in your current relationship, and the depth of your commitment and ability to apply what you learn at home, between sessions. One of the strengths of Imago therapy is that it tends to move people fairly quickly into being able to manage the challenges that life presents them, by providing communication tools to resolve conflict, contain anger, and to create safety. Some couples achieve the results they want in 10-12 sessions. Other couples prefer and require a longer, psycho-educational approach to therapy.
4. Do we need to come weekly?
We would recommend weekly attendance as a minimum commitment to rebuilding your relationship. At times coming every second week is the only practical way. That too is fine. But frequency in intervention will create momentum in the healing process and focus on growth and connection.
5. How can Imago Therapy help?
Imago therapy was developed specifically for the understanding and healing of relationships. Some of the issues that imago therapy can help with include:
- Communication challenges
- Recurring disagreements/conflict
- Feelings of disconnection
- Lack of intimacy
6. Does my relationship have to be in trouble to benefit from Imago therapy?
You do not have to necessarily be in distress to participate in imago relationship therapy. In fact, couples who are not in distress can significantly benefit from participating, learning about these dynamics within the relationship and gaining a better understanding of themselves and their partner.
7. What are the benefits of imago couple therapy?
- It improves partners’ ability to truly hear each other and also feel heard when they talk
- It creates a safe environment for talking and resolving conflicts
- It facilitates growth, healing, and positive change
- It enables couples to quickly get to the heart of an issue
- It fosters empathy
- It promotes a deeper connection
8. How long is a single session?
An individual session is 90 minutes long.
9. Do we both have to attend all the sessions?
Yes, in order to build safety and bring back the love a weekly commitment from both partners is required. It is recommended that you finish the course in order to gain the most benefits from the intervention.
10. What if I want to end my relationship should I still attend imago therapy?
No matter the stage of your relationship, romantic stage, power struggle, or even if you are contemplating ending your relationship, Imago therapy can provide clarity about what you and your partner should do next, and provides the skills you will need to help you reach your goals. Many couples find new hope and optimism as a result of what they learn through the therapy process. However, some couples discover that the energy and love has left their relationship and they decide to separate. Even if that is your decision, Imago therapy provides a framework in which you can respectfully say good-bye. This is especially critical if you have children that the two of you will be co-parenting. If you do not have children, it is still important to understand how you co-created your current relationship. You are going to bring your IMAGO to whatever relationship you experience in the future, and if you don’t make that unconscious information conscious, you will likely experience a reenactment of your previous relationships. But for the most part, the majority of couples leave therapy with new energy, tools and skills to navigate through any future difficulties, and develop hope for the road ahead.
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