Most of us want the kind of fulfilling relationship with a partner that includes deep intimacy and mutual support. Creating and maintaining such a relationship is a challenge which takes real focus and attention, as well as a willingness to sometimes work through struggles involving difficult emotions.
When couples come in, eachpartner is feeling that the person they looked to for understanding, support, and love has instead turned into a critical, withholding, and disappointing other – almost an adversary.
Many newer couples want to move to greater connection by getting to know and understand one another better.
And still others want to find a way to continue relating to each other in a comfortable way despite ending the romantic (or married) part of their connection.
Concerns that indicate you may need couples therapy:
- You feel more criticized than supported in your relationship.
- You feel lonely within your relationship, and attempts to resolve your conflicts seem to leave you feeling more distant than before.
- There is an ongoing power struggle between you and your partner.
I have found Imago Relationship Therapy to be the best model for understanding relationship functioning, as well as for helping couples to grow and heal. Using this approach I create a safe therapy space in which partners feel safe to say what they are thinking and feeling, and for each to feel they are truly being listened to respectfully. This work goes beyond improving communication skills, to a deeper understanding of why each partner reacts as they do as a result of wounds from earlier life experiences that a particular interaction brings up. In communicating this, the individual is not blaming the partner; instead they are coming to know themselves in a way they may have never felt able to know and say before.
Experience has shown me that both partners often have similar needs but different and incompatible ways of handling them – ways which unintentionally evoke the other’s deepest wounds.
I help the partners find new ways to meet their own needs within the relationship, in ways that enlist their partner’s caring rather than their resistance.
You can read about Imago Relationship Therapy in a paperback by Harville Hendrix, Ph.D., called “Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples.” It is available in most bookstores, and is reader-friendly. Or, since I give each couple I work with a copy of this book, you can get one from me.