If you and your partner are experiencing communication challenges, recurring conflict, feelings of disconnection, or other relationship issues, seeking Calgary couples therapy may offer a solution. The highly qualified, experienced, and compassionate counsellors at One Life Counselling & Coaching Ltd. are deeply invested in helping couples strengthen their relationships and move forward together in positive ways.
IMAGO Couples Therapy has been around since 1980 and has helped many partners strengthen their relationships. Below, we’ll explain more about the fundamentals of this unique therapeutic approach:
IMAGO Couples Therapy, also known as Imago Relationship Therapy (IRT), is a type of relationship counselling that aims to help couples understand and heal their emotional wounds and conflicts. The word "imago" is derived from Latin, meaning "image", and the therapy is based on the premise that individuals are unconsciously drawn to partners who mirror their primary caregivers' positive and negative traits.
The goal of IMAGO is to help partners break negative patterns of blame and criticism and create new ones rooted in empathy and understanding. Therapy sessions are focused on supporting couples as they explore and recognize how their early childhood experiences have shaped their ways of responding and behaving as adults in a committed relationship. Ultimately, partners who engage in IMAGO together are able to experience healing and growth both personally and as a couple.
A central component of IMAGO Couples Therapy is the "IMAGO Dialogue". This communication technique encourages active listening and fosters empathy and understanding between partners. Couples learn to express themselves honestly while their partner listens without interruption or judgment.
During the process, the "receiver" (the partner listening) practises mirroring the "sender" (the partner speaking). This involves repeating back what has been said to gain understanding. Mirroring is followed by validation (letting the sender know that what they've said has been understood) and empathy (exploring the emotions the sender may be feeling). The main goal of dialogue is to improve communication patterns using tools that can be applied to any situation.
In IMAGO Therapy, couples explore their old wounds and unmet childhood needs to help identify attachment patterns that may be affecting their current relationship dynamics. Unresolved issues from the past often surface in the present, leading to conflicts and misunderstandings.
At the core is the belief that current conflicts between partners stem from their early relationships, circumstances, and life experiences. As partners become closer, old emotional wounds may surface and result in relationship challenges.
IMAGO therapy explores the concept of "unconscious attraction", which suggests that we are drawn to partners who embody both the positive and negative qualities of our primary caregivers. Underlying unconscious attraction is the desire to heal our childhood wounds through our adult relationships.
Empathy is a key element of IMAGO Therapy. Partners are encouraged to empathize with each other's experiences, feelings, and needs. This understanding helps create emotional safety and fosters a deeper connection.
IMAGO therapists focus on behaviour change, which enables partners to support each other in their personal growth and development. Couples are empowered to take responsibility for their actions and reactions, making positive changes and fosting a healthy relationship.
One of the goals of IMAGO Therapy is to create a secure emotional space where both partners can express themselves authentically and feel understood. This safe connection fosters intimacy and rekindles the emotional bond between partners.
In IMAGO Therapy, couples are encouraged to see themselves as a team working together to overcome challenges and build a fulfilling relationship. This perspective fosters a sense of partnership and collaboration.
The ultimate goal is promoting healing within intimate relationships. By acknowledging past wounds, empathizing with each other's pain, and working together to meet each other's needs, couples can move toward a more fulfilling and harmonious partnership.
Each couple's journey in IMAGO is unique and tailored to their specific needs and circumstances. The trained IMAGO therapist serves as a guide, facilitating the process of self-discovery and mutual understanding. Ultimately, a successful IMAGO journey leads to greater emotional connection and relationship satisfaction.
Are you and your partner seeking a Calgary psychologist trained in IMAGO techniques or other couple counselling approaches? Call our office today to book your first couples counselling session. We look forward to working with you!
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