‘Get the love you want and keep the love you need’ is a phrase from Harville Hendrix, the founder of the Imago Dialogue approach. It is based in an atmosphere of respect and appreciation, and quickly helps couples to understand how to express themselves, how to listen and be heard.
Annie works with couples who want to work on their relationship and, in particular, their ability to communicate. Hers is a coaching role that teaches clients how best to express themselves and how to listen. It gives you something practical to take away from the sessions, and to use immediately and effectively when you get home.
Relationships go through distinct phases starting with romantic love and then passing into a conflicted period. Understanding why this happens, and what makes us unconsciously select the partners we do, is the first step in learning how we can rekindle the passion and establish a deeply rewarding, trusting long-term relationship.
Annie works with couples to establish a respectful, appreciative dialogue and then helps individuals understand how their partner and the relationship can be the perfect tools to repair childhood wounds. Using the Imago approach to Relationship Therapy, Annie coaches couples to enable them to recapture and maintain pleasure, love and passion in their relationship, and be able to manage conflict safely. The goal of Couples Therapy with Annie is to become self-reflectively conscious, consciously intentional and accepting of the other. From this place, a deep committed love will flourish.
We all come to relationships with expectations, and with woundings from our childhood. These don’t necessarily need to be discussed in the therapy room. There is no need to ‘air’ any ‘dirty laundry’ or engage in hostile discussions or arguments. Its about learning a new language of listening and understanding.
Annie aims to get couples back to a happy, healthy relationship as soon as possible, equipped with a dialogue strategy which will enable them to live harmoniously in the future.
When rudely awakened from the dazzling dream of compatibility, people can get very grumpy. Desperate to end the pain and disappointment that romantic love leaves behind, many couples get divorced. Others who decide not to do the mind-numbing work of dividing up the stuff may stay together. But they wind up living parallel lives, without any true connection. They assume this is as good as it gets. But secretly they think something must be terribly wrong.
Annie says, “Its quite common for each person within a marriage to be thinking, ‘Is this who I married?!’ Let me reassure you, nothing has gone wrong. Romantic love is just the first stage of couplehood. It’s supposed to fade. Romantic love is the powerful force that draws you to someone who has the positive and negative qualities of your parents or caregivers.”
Romantic love delivers us into the passionate arms of someone who will ultimately trigger the same frustrations we had with our parents, but for the best possible reason! Doing so brings our childhood wounds to the surface so they can be healed. The idea that your partner is really a composite of your parents can be a bit upsetting at first. Though we love our parents, most of us got over (consciously) wanting to marry them when we turned five or six. Then, when we hit our teenage years, all we wanted was our freedom. But the fact is, we’re unconsciously drawn to that special someone with the best and worst character traits of all of our caregivers combined. We call this our “Imago”—the template of positive and negative qualities of your primary caregivers. Partnership is designed to resurface feelings from childhood, it means that most of the upset that gets triggered in us during our relationship is from our past.
For those who feel that their relationship has truly reached the end of the road, Conscious Uncoupling with Annie is available.
We were at rock bottom in 2013 having been together for 15 years, Jill was exhausted by caring for a sick and dying parent as well as running a 50-60 hour a week business. Jack was having an affair with another woman and spending large amounts of cash on his alcohol and drug habit. We were set to go our different ways – but with the help of our Imago therapist and two Imago workshops we have now been back on track with our relationship for 10 years, and it is better than it has ever been. No more drugs, alcohol, affair, overwork, distancing, and poor communication. We work as a team, communicate well, and love each other dearly (and we got married!). We are so happy we recycled our old relationship into something wonderful instead of launching off into unknown territory only to repeat the same old mistakes. Just wanted to say thank you so much for your teachings. Anonymous (names were changed to protect the client’s identity)
Getting the love you want is possible, and keeping the love you need is essential. Provided both partners are committed to the process, it does not take long to learn a new way to communicate and for love to grow again.