an honorable relationship—– that is, one in which two people have the right to use the word “love” —is a process, delicate, violent, often terrifying to both persons involved, a process of refining the truths they can tell each other. it is important to do this because it breaks down human self-delusion and isolation. it is important to do this because in so doing we do justice to our own complexity. it is important to do this because we can count on so few people to go that hard way with us.
In our difficulties in relationships, we can behave reactively, and either attack or withdraw from our partners.
The aim of couple therapy is to make your relationship safe, so you can each:
- speak and be heard
- really listen
- have the rewards of giving your partner the attention they need
- learn how to get the love you want
- learn that your partner is their own person and not an extension of yourself
How much of the time when we think we are listening we are really preparing what we want to say next!!
The Imago method teaches real dialogue and although it can seem ‘clunky’ to use at first many couples see the value of it quite soon, they make it their own, and find it transformative and very pleasurable.
If you have children, the space that you create as a communicating couple will make your kids thrive.
Imago Couple Therapy, which informs our work, gives couples the means to fulfil the potential of themselves as a couple and as individuals. In romantic love, and ‘in-love’ states we often have deep experiences of being fully ourselves. Then, as the relationship develops, insecurities and power struggles inevitably emerge. The person we fell in love with represents aspects of each individual self needed for our growth and wholeness, in every dimension. The beauty of the work is that the stretch we need to make to meet our partner’s needs, is also the stretch we need to make for our own growth.
The Vibrant Relationship: A Handbook for Couples and Therapists (Systemic Thinking and Practice Series) by Kirsten Seidenfaden and Piet Draiby (Paperback – Mar 2011)
We highly recommend workshops for couples held by Sophie Slade (find these on the Imago Website gettingtheloveyouwant.com) and by Hedy and Yumi Schleifer, They trained with Imago and went on to develop their own form of relationship therapy. www.hedyyumi.com