We live in a fast-pace, fragmented, individualized and disconnected world where marriage and important relationships are under constant stress and turmoil. The price we pay when our most significant relationships are deteriorating and/or broken is beyond measure. Our mental health, health and often social and financial situation are greatly affected. Our children and loved ones suffer in countless direct and indirect ways.
As human beings we are born in connection. Connection is our primary experience and it is embedded in our nature. As psychiatrist Dr. Van der Kolk explains in his book: “The body keeps the score”: “Our brains are built to help us function as members of a tribe. Although our culture teaches us to focus on personal uniqueness, at a deeper level we barely exist as individual organism.”
The Mindful Relating ‘s mission is to help couples drop their adaptive survival suits to live authentic lives of connection. Mindful Relating uses the Imago theory as a core treatment approach because it provides both the theory and practical tools to go beyond resolving current conflicts in the relationship. With “intentional dialogues” couples can safely navigate their way from pain to intimacy, grow their love and in the process become more mature and compassionate human beings
During sessions the couples are taught the couple’s dialogue, also referred to the “Intentional Couple’s Dialogue”. The Intentional Couple’s Dialogue is a practical tool where both partners take turns expressing themselves as “senders” or listening as ” receivers”. Face to face, and looking at each other with a soft gaze, the partners are taken on a journey to discover the root of their conflict.
The “sender” is invited to listen intentively and explore his/her experience and the “receiver” is guided to listen fully, validate his/her partner and feel empathy. The couples are coached to stay calm; self soothe, centered and tuned in so they can start experiencing each other without defensiveness. As they successfully dialogue in a safe space, they come to understand the true nature and the root of their difficulties. They first learn to “re-image” each other. This means that they discover why they and their partner behave in a certain way in the relationship and why it makes sense.
Following the re-imaging phase, the couple starts to experience a much greater understanding of their struggle and develops empathy for each other. They then will be guided to convert their frustration into desire by using a more specific version of the dialogue. The couple is also given practical guidance to learn effective ways to do a conscious caretaking of the relationship in between the sessions.
Kareen’s Mindful-Relating Approach to relationship counseling combines practices from several areas of study, but is based on a foundation of Imago Relationship Therapy.
You can learn more about relationship counseling with chemical dependency/addiction issues here: Addiction vs. Intimacy