Here are some of the questions we are most frequently asked as Imago practitioners. We hope you find the information useful as you explore how Imago can support you and your relationship. Should you require any further information, please feel free to contact us or speak directly to a Therapist near you.
The fundamental differences are simply:
- That all conversations are held using the Imago Dialogue.
- Your therapist will become more of a coach as they teach you and your partner the dialogue processes and guide you through them.
- Conflict is seen as a growth opportunity rather than a problem.
- Unlike most conventional therapies, you will face each other (not the therapist) as dialogues take place between you and your partner.
- The Imago Dialogue is portable – you take it home with you!
Most Imago therapy sessions are between 1.5 and 2 hours in length (instead of the conventional 50 minutes). This ensures sufficient time to engage in a significant piece of work. This will contribute to deepening your understanding and connection with each other, ultimately leading to long-lasting relational change.
In the Initial session, your therapist will aim to gather information about you, your partner and the relationship. Most therapists will then spend a little time sharing how they work and exploring the core principles of Imago with you.
They may choose to introduce the Imago Dialogue, through either an Appreciation or a Frustration. This gives you the opportunity to experience the Imago Dialogue process. This is likely to take up the bulk of the first session.
Whenever you are in dialogue, you and your partner will be sitting face to face with your therapist sitting to one side. It is quite common for therapists to offer a little time, at the end of the session, to check in what you and your partner learned and what ‘gems’ you are taking away with you. At the very end of the session you will have the opportunity to discuss with your therapist whether you feel you would like to continue working together using the Imago model.
Subsequent sessions are spent developing and integrating your skills in the various Imago Dialogue processes. You always have choices regarding the content you work with during any given session. Drawing on their extensive repertoire of exercises, tools and information, your therapist will guide you through the processes.
The aim of all Imago sessions is to help you and your partner develop a more connected, passionate, fun and joyful relationship!
There is no fixed rule around this. It is very much depends upon:
- How quickly you and your partner integrate the Imago Dialogue processes in order to use them at home, safely and with confidence.
- How often you and your partner use the Imago Dialogue between sessions.
- Whether you have a good connection with and trust your therapist to guide you through the processes.
It’s also vital that you and your partner believe in the core principles of Imago:
- That conflict is growth waiting to happen.
- That you see the Imago dialogue as the most effective technique available to safely and effectively communicate with each other.
- That you have chosen each other in order to heal something within yourself.
- That you are the blueprint for your partner’s growth and healing.
Once you are both comfortable with the processes, you can attend therapy on a more ad hoc basis – for instance, if and when you get stuck or if there is a particularly charged situation you feel you need a little more support to navigate successfully.
The Imago Dialogue is the core Imago technique. It is the foundation for all conversations between you and your partner – both in therapy and at home.
The Imago Dialogue is a very particular structured process consisting of two parts (‘Sending’ and ‘Receiving’) and three clear and simple steps (‘mirroring’, ‘validating’ and ’empathising’). All Imago therapists, educators and workshop presenters are trained to skillfully guide you through these steps.
It is important to note that the Imago Dialogue is completely different to a discussion or debate. Firstly because it has a set structure, and secondly as its purpose is to:
- Eliminate all negative and critical language, be it verbal or non-verbal)
- Establish an environment of safety in which all matters can be discussed effectively
- Promote positive growth and change
- Replace reactivity and defence with curiosity and loving care
- Slow down all communication to ensure that both you and your partner are fully present, can listen and can be heard.
Let’s be honest – nobody but you and your partner can actually change your relationship.
However, Imago can and will offer you the most effective tools and techniques so you can navigate the more challenging spaces within your relationship safely and effectively.
In addition, Imago helps you and your partner identify hidden dynamics and childhood wounds that impact your relationship. This in turn offers the opportunity for you and your partner to begin exploring how you can change them.
All of this positively helps restore connection, passion and joy to your relationship.
It is quite common that, initially, one person within the relationship wants to do the work more than the other. Don’t be disheartened! Most Imago practitioners would be more than happy to have a short telephone conversation with each of you, to explain the process of Imago therapy and what it can do for your relationship. This often helps bring clarity and confidence to both parties in convincing them o give it a try.
If your partner still won’t join you, then you can take the opportunity to begin the work yourself by reading some recommended books (your therapist can advise) or by attending a singles workshop with one of our highly skilled trainers.
This will help you become aware of your own childhood wounds and how you adapted to them, as well as show you why you picked your partner, your projections and the impact they have on the relationship.
Absolutely! As a single person, you have the perfect opportunity to begin the work necessary for a future relationship. The Singles Workshop and/or therapy can help you:
- Become more aware of your own childhood wounds and how you adapted to them
- Begin understanding more fully why you chose certain partners in the past, what your projections were and how they impacted the relationships
- Understand the repetitive patterns that occur in your relationships and why they occur
All of this will help you prepare for a more connected, committed and successful relationship.