What is Imago Therapy?
Imago therapy is couples therapy developed by Dr. Harville Hendrix and described in his best selling book Getting the Love You Want. He believes, as I do, that committed exclusive partnering such as marriage has as its purpose, the healing of childhood wounds. It further suggests that we are attracted unconsciously to partners who possess both the positive and negative traits of our childhood caregivers as part of our self healing process. It also holds that since all childhood hurts occur through these relationships, one has to heal the injuries relationally. Finally, the role of the therapist is to provide a container so that the couple can re-visit their pain and provide a variety of interventions to heal this. The partners will eventually use the skills provided to continue the journey of relational healing with each other.
Do you do any individual therapy as well as couples therapy?
No, I only work with couples. I have found through my own experience and empirical research that the relationship is often negatively affected when only one member of the couple attends therapy. I have found that my own personal therapy (any therapist one sees should have been in therapy to make sure their issues don’t contaminate their clients’ work), was very helpful to me. However, the deepest and most pervasive personal growth I have ever experienced is with my partner/spouse who has all the ingredients to trigger my emotional reactivity as the path for my growth.
What should my partner and I do in order to do this couples therapy?
Should you want to work with me in this process, you should get two copies of Dr. Hendrix book Getting the Love You Want. Call me and we can schedule a first session. I ask the couple to read the book as a primer to the work and complete the first exercise in the back of the book. The need for an appointment begins the containing process for couples therapy. It’s a target for couples to work toward.
My partner doesn’t want to come to couples therapy, can I come and see you alone?
I don’t see anyone individually who is in a relationship. To do so from my perspective sends a message to couples that the person who goes to the therapist has the problem and the other doesn’t. My own personal and professional experience suggests that neither partner is more problematic than their partner. Indeed each are equally in pain. So, by all means, having the couples at the first and subsequent sessions is a requirement. Please be aware that the partner who does not want to enter the couples therapy is legitimately fearful that they will be shamed at some deep and repetitive fashion. Their partner, usually the more emotionally extroverted of the couple is hurt due to abandonment issues. The therapist needs to acknowledge this symmetry so the couple can proceed in therapy. If need be, I will call the hesitant spouse, but usually after the initial phone call by the extroverted partner, I explain the balance of shame/abandonment concerns. The calling partner then knows how to proceed to reduce this fear in his/her partner.
What is your couples workshop?
It is the workshop that Dr. Hendrix developed. It is a two day, twenty hour intensive workshop that both members of the couple attend. While it is conducted in a group setting, it is not group therapy. Each member of the couple does his or her own work in private and no one is exposed. It is a combination of lecture, relaxation, written and behavioral exercises conducted alone and with one’s partner during the workshop. The workshop staff helps each couple practice the exercises as a means of developing confidence in the process.
Does it make any difference to you and/or the process if the couple is gay/lesbian or heterosexual?
I work with a variety of couples who are gay and straight and the process is no different for gender preference. This means that the relationship problems facing heterosexual couples and homosexual couples are similar. For example, financial, sexual, family problems that face heterosexuals also occur in similar fashion with gay/lesbian couples.
Do you accept insurance payment?
I do not bill insurance for your therapy. Payment is at the time of service and I accept checks, cash, money orders, and credit cards such as MasterCard, VISA, and Discover Card. If you have insurance I can provide you with a superbill receipt that you can submit to your carrier for reimbursement for your treatment with me.