unfortunately, doing this turns out
This decline of love after the first few months or sometime
years is a
But to make it less disastrous we have to figure out how
certain particularities of each have gotten you to set up
Our job is to coach you as a couple as you seek to defuse
and rekindle your love.
So that true intimacy can reappear.
Here is an
of Charles Hershkowitz
about his background and especially his Imago couples
Difficulties and Dilemmas
Decline of sex
Many sorts of reasons can bring a couple to therapy:
Mistrust and jealousy
Divergences about bringing up children
The virtuous Imago
for working on deep
In many couples a very deep and intense anger sometimes
occurs ; it appears suddenly, is very intense and seems out
of proportion to the apparent reason that brought it on.
This state can lead to physical violence.
It’s quite hard for the partner to realize what is happening
and give any effective help. This type of anger may last a
long time, and the subsequent cold and withdrawn post-acute
period is destructive relationally on the level of the trust
that the angry person’s partner can newly have in him/her.
To make matters worse, the angry person typically still
feels misunderstood and badly judged after the incident is
depicts the successive stages of Imago-therapy work with a
couple having this sort of Anger. The Imago-therapist brings
the angry partner, who is face to face with
the "targeted" partner -- as is typical in the Imago way of
working; see for example the Interview above:
here and then
scroll down to "Does
your couple therapy use techniques a lot ?")
to express completely what he/she is experiencing, including
sub-conscious aspects, associations and memories that can be
re-accessed. The “targeted” partner is coached by the
therapist to support the angry one mainly by verbally
mirroring what is said (which does not mean consent); a
bonus for the partner is that doing so enhances his/her own
understanding of and empathy for the angry partner’s
emotional and cognitive world.
As one spirals from the anger outwards along the successive
topics of this spiral, the couple is moved little by little
toward a shared vision, finally, of what’s going on deeply
and where to go from here, thanks to the very difficult
realities that they have just succeeded in descending into
and coming out of.
The meaning of being together and their future path become
more clear via this work.
Imago Relationship Therapy (IRT)
offers to the various couples described above a "toolbox"
that they can learn to use in daily life. Attending IRT sessions is
an opportunity to become, together, artisans of the inner healing which each
- aids in healing from the wounds that each brings into
their relationship from childhood and youth, and also from past couple
- favors conscious commitment to developing -- not just
surviving -- together.
Understanding the other
: this is achieved by working primarily in direct,
face-to-face interaction with your partner. This differs from classical couples
work, where both partners tend to speak to and interact a lot with the
therapist. Your partner will be coached to actively and effectively help you
work on certain issues where you´re stuck. Thus, for each partner, certain key
learnings about his/her deep functioning will be achieved in connection, in
relationship, and not by each individually and apart.
most couples, we work together: two therapists facing the consulting couple.
This offers several advantages:
Together, we have a more
diversified sensitivity to both consulting partners. If one of us has
a blind spot, this may be compensated by clarity on the part of the other
joint presence can make it easier for the male partner to seek help,
given that many men are wary of entering the therapy world -- which they
often find too feminine.
Fluidity is generated as the intervention of one therapist is nuanced or
built upon by the other, favoring a sense that the four people in the room
co-creating a new, common wisdom about "love" and how to put it into
conflicts eliminated by IRT
? NO !!!
They remain necessary, but through the IRT process the damage is diminished
as couples learn about themselves as individuals and as a unit, thereby
increasing mutual understanding. Invoking one "tool" or other in the midst of a
conflict enables the couple to improve the inner security of each fairly
quickly. Establishing a sense of security is regarded as essential in IRT,
because whenever our archaic (or "reptilian") brain detects what appears to be a
"danger" -- defined not rationally but by associations based on a reservoir of
sub-conscious trigger-memories --, it blocks the neo-cortex. This makes positive
neo-cortical results, like planning a reasonable problem-solving strategy and
resolutely carrying it out, impossible as long as the "danger"
has blocked the neo-cortex.
Using these "tools" gives each partner a far better sense
of what's going on below the surface in the other and what brings him/her to
speak or act inadequately. Much more acceptance of your partner's subjective
realities becomes rapidly possible – without giving up one’s positions and
IRT tools are not negotiation tools. However, used prior
to a touchy negotiation in a close personal relationship, they do ensure a
better foundation for the negotiation's success, by contributing to several key
success factors: basic security of each partner; conscious awareness of the
inner state of each; empathy about what is going on emotionally for the other in
his/her subjective world.
to conflict, very often, is criticism.
When a young child
is hurt, he/she naturally cries. However, most adults have "learned" in their
socialization to suppress crying and instead do something very different when
they're emotionally wounded: they criticize. Actually, the critical response to
who feels wounded is highly counter-productive vis-à-vis what that person really
needs – acknowledgement of his or her needs and a modicum of empathy for his or
attempts to satisfy them. Since the person targeted by the initial criticism will usually
criticize back, the wound will worsen.
experience has shown that good outcomes come from each partner being
brought to fully perceive, in detail (as under a microscope), the other’s
woundedness. We do not try to analyze the "cause" (within someone’s personality,
etc.) of blaming and criticism, but focus instead on the couple's practical and
urgent need for a way to express safely the wounds and the frustrations
each is experiencing, and to get these really heard.
the practical level, some of the distinctive facets of our
- In order to really learn and use new ways
of handling woundedness and related anger, we guide the blaming couple
to gradually phase out criticism
- We do not interpret "why" each does this or
that, but suggest ways for them to go about their own quest, together, for
the meaning of certain negative behaviors
- We teach communication "tools" designed to
for the other, and coach the couple on using them fruitfully on their own
through specific "homework assignments" to do together between sessions
- We give a larger place to intentionality --
putting the often cherished value of "spontaneity" into question and
analyzing how our
patterns of reactivity generate oversimplified and
damaging labels about the other in our minds.
the link to a list of 10
of the Ideally Conscious Marriage, according to the
Imago pedagogue David Roche.