Many of you know I have been an Imago Relationship therapist for the last 34 years. Two years ago Harville and Helen, the creators of Imago, published a Clinician’s Guide titled Doing Imago Relationship Therapy in the Space-Between.
It is a pretty intense volume. What I thought I would do for the next few weeks (or months) is work my way through it and share their insights after over 40 years of working with couples. They say the best way to learn something is to teach it. We will see. I have said before I see myself as a coach and one of the coach’s jobs is to simplify. To make it clearer for all the players what needs to get done in the simplest way possible.
Getting the Love You Want
ln their 2019 edition of Getting the Love You Want the big shift came in the emphasis on the Space Between. The theory of Imago hasn’t changed but I think this has been a crucial shift in emphasis. If I go back 34 years when I first started working with couples, I spent more time on the Imago. This is the image we all create of the person who loves me, who takes care of me, who meets all my needs.
What was it like in the family of origin – the positives and the negatives and we would gain some insight. And I still do that with couples. Then for the last 20 or 25 years, I really focused on the notion of safety. Knowing about our brain stem – our reptilian or lizard brain – it just made sense to me to make sure the relationship was safe. If I don’t feel safe I will defend myself; that is a 500 million-year-old reality. You are not going to change it.
The Fastest Way Forward
Now, however, I really think the fastest way forward for any couple is to pay attention to the Space Between. It is a real energy field and you can tell, can’t you, when there is tension in the Space Between. It is either tension free or not; there is no middle ground. What Harville and Helen are saying is that your little relationship is a microcosm of the vast macrocosm – our universe – which quantum theory is telling us is mostly energy and is all connected – it is all in the relationship. You can’t keep putting negativity into the Space Between because negativity causes disconnect and your whole being wants to connect.
The authors will go further in their understanding of how quantum theory affects psychology as a whole which was founded on Newtonian physics. My goal will be to walk you through their thinking process as outlined in their book Doing Imago Relationship Therapy in the Space-Between.