How would you use imago techniques to be able to have them relate on this sort of level?
I think the crossing the bridge that Heidi and Yumi, who are 2 therapists that do imago here in Miami use, and basically it really requires one person to listen and not hear what the other person’s saying, but really listening to what they’re saying and go over to their world and really experience their world. In order to do that, they have to leave all of their own baggage behind, all of their assumptions and what they think their partner means. I think that’s a big issue that comes up in couples is that both people think that they really know what the other person is thinking, feeling, wanting, but they have no clue a lot of times. They don’t think they know what they think, feel, and want. Part of my job is to kind of constantly keep them focused on what is it that you think, what is it that you want, what is it that you feel and tell that to your partner, and then asking the other partner the same. When they get caught up in, well, he said this, and this is what he meant, or she roller her eyes and I know this is what was the meaning behind the eye rolling. A lot of times it’s not the meaning.
I think it’s really important for each partner, call it the hula hoops, to stay within their hula hoop and focus on their own experience in therapy and what’s coming up for them and where it comes from and then just reporting that to their partner. I also use the example of, in couples we have to learn how to be really good reporters. If you think about what a reporter does, they ask questions and they listen. There’s not a lot of interpretation there. It’s asking questions, listening, validating, understanding where the other person is coming from, and a lot of times in partners I see partners who’ve been married 20, 25 years and they have no clue about their partner’s childhood. That’s a big piece of my work with them is getting them to talk about their own childhood experiences in front of their partner, so that their partner can have a better understanding of their behavior.