Speaker 1: What modality do you use to treat couples?
Speaker 2: I love working with couples. I love just the dynamic in the room, and I use a lot of the techniques from Imago therapy. I myself went with my husband to an Imago training, and it absolutely changed our relationship, so I truly believe in it. Basically, what their philosophy is is that we pick exactly who we need to pick, so when couples come to me and say, “That’s it. I’m done. It’s over,” my biggest wish for them and request of them is just give it a chance.
Let’s work together. Let’s see if we can get past this because I know that once they can each get to that core, and really be able to look at their partners and look at the inner child that the partner has inside of them, I call it the little boy and a little girl, their relationship changes.
With couples therapy, I do a lot of … in Imago, they call it crossing the bridge, and basically what that is is you teach the couples how to communicate. You teach the couples how to leave their world behind, and go in to their partner’s world, and really listen to their partners without judging, without being defensive.
A lot of it is just kind of training the couples as to okay, you’re crossing over the bridge, remember to leave all your experiences behind, and just listen, and when that happens, you could see the defenses melt in the couples. You could see the anger dissipate. You could see them really connect on an intimate level because they’re seeing in their partner’s eyes that little boy or that little girl and what they went through.
We learn how to express frustrations in healthy ways, and really it’s a lot of talking about I, I am frustrated, so that the other person doesn’t feel like they’re being blamed. When I see a couple, I always say the couple is a patient, not one person or the other. I also use a lot of chair work, where they talk to empty chairs. I do a lot of experiential stuff, really about getting them connected because I think one of the biggest mistakes sometimes is a couple goes to therapy, and the couple is talking to the therapist, and that’s not really going to help because they still need to learn how to talk to each other.
I really kind of, what I try to focus on is having them, instead of talking to me, talking to each other, and I’m just kind of a facilitator, and kind of an observer, and guiding them on maybe saying it this way, or do you really think that this is what he’s saying? I kind of do more clarifying and giving them different perspectives, but I try to discourage them talking to me and kind of encourage them talking to each, and that way I could see what the dynamic is like.