Relationships! Why are they so hard?
We often go through a period where we ask ourselves, "How can we be so different?" "Did I make a mistake?" "Why doesn't my spouse understand me after all these years?"
What I have learned in 30 + years as a family counselor is that what we see as hopeless in one season, is usually a view from a distorted lens. Reality is often much more complex, and once we can see the situation more clearly, love, joy, peace, respect, and hope can be restored.
Couples & Marriage Counseling
Thank you for helping us step through our issue and step into each other. We have hope and connection again. Though there are always hurdles, we have tools we can use to get us through.
—Couple Married 32 Years
Creating a Safe Environment
I have embraced a new way of working with couples called Imago Therapy. The Imago model gently leads couples into a deeper understanding of each other's needs and focuses on helping partners begin to feel safe with each other. As a therapist, my task is to create an accepting environment where the couple can begin to truly listen to each other empathetically. I ask couples to think of me as their coach, not the one who knows their own internal answers. I believe individuals are the repositories of their own wisdom.
Intentional Dialogue: A Tool that Works.
Imago empathetic listening is called "intentional dialogue" by Harville Hendrix, PhD. It promotes growth and change in the relationship by teaching partners to:
put aside their own agenda while listening intentionally to the other person
put themselves in the other's shoes while they listen/hear the feelings and needs of the other person
put aside their judgement, criticism, and analysis while they speak to their partner with their own "internal story"