There are several things that everyone wants in their relationship. They want to be heard, understood and validated. They want their partner to know what’s going on for them and “get it”.
Many couples that come to my couples counselling sessions in Wilmslow just don’t feel heard by each other. They are both screaming “SEE ME” at each other, metaphorically and sometimes literally. They feel they are getting nowhere.
This is why I love Imago dialogue.
What is Imago dialogue?
The Imago dialogue process is pretty simple. One person talks, the other listens and mirrors back what their partner has said. This continues until the person who is talking (we call them the sender) has finished what they have to say.
When the sender has finished the person who has listened (we call them the receiver) summarises what they heard, validates what they heard and empathises with their partner.
Why is Imago dialogue so fab?
I’m going to explain it from my perspective, how I feel when I dialogue with my partner.
Sending what’s going on for me to my partner feels like an open road. She’s there listening to me, just listening. I can say what’s going on in my head and I know she’s not going to butt in, tell me I’m wrong or even come out with something to show she is agreeing.
I can explore my stuff and she will just mirror back what I said.
And that’s the other benefit. She mirrors back what I said.
My brain tells me I’m not important
Sometimes my brain tells me I’m not important. It’s a tricky little bugger like that. When I’m talking to my partner normally I’m not sure she’s listening. She probably is most of the time but my brain tells me I’m not important and I get scared she’s ignoring me.
This is not her stuff, it’s mine. Only when I dialogue it doesn’t happen because I hear her mirror everything I say. This feels comforting for me and I feel closer to her. She’s healing one of my childhood wounds.
It’s great to shut up
When I’m the receiver listening to my partner talk Imago dialogue gives me permission to shut up and pay attention.
In a normal conversation I may well be thinking of how I’m going to respond to what she’s saying either in a supportive or defensive way. So half of my brain is not there for her, it’s thinking of my reply.
In Imago Dialogue I have full permission to listen and just mirror back. I don’t have to look after her and show her that I agree or prepare a super witty response. It feels like a big relief!
It’s intense man!
Dude this is intense stuff! I talk and get listened to and then I listen back with all my being. Wow! And like open roads – Imago can be fantastically exciting and a bit scary.
It leaves me with an amazing feeling of connection, understanding and closeness.
Fancy giving it a try?
I work with straight couples, same sex couples, old and young couples but not every couple. You both have to be up for moving forward in your relationship, be willing to own your own stuff and look after your partner whilst you talk. If you can do that then I can’t wait to see what Imago dialogue can do for you.
Read the book
Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples (affiliate link) is the only book you need to read about Imago Relationship Therapy. Harville Hendrix is easy to read, explains why you chose the partner you’re with and how to have a better relationship with them.