The foundation of our approach is based on systemic therapy, attachment theory, and spirituality. When working with couples, Imago Relationship Therapy is also integrated into the sessions. Systemic therapy views the person as a system and focuses on the dynamics of the individual’s relationships. The systemic approach views difficulties and issues as arising in the relationships, interactions, language and behavior patterns that develop between individuals within a family system, rather than in the individuals themselves.
Systemic therapy has been found to be effective in addressing a diverse range of symptoms such as behavioral, emotional and psychological difficulties. It has been helpful in addressing and resolving day-to-day difficulties and concerns for all ages and relationships such as communication difficulties, interpersonal relationships, and behavioral difficulties in children. This therapeutic approach has been used to treat specific problems and disorders in children and adults such as depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and substance use disorders.
Attachment theory enhances the systemic approach by examining how the parent-child relationship developed over time and how the development of this early relationship influences the development of other relationships. This early interaction between the child and the caregivers determined how the child “attached” to them. This learned attachment style shapes how the child will continue to attach to other relationships. Four distinct patterns of attachments have been identified: secure, insecure: avoidant, insecure: ambivalent/anxious, and insecure: disorganized. Each type of insecure attachment brings it own set of difficulty working towards earned secure attachment during therapy.
One way to move towards secure attachment is through the use of spirituality. Those who desire spirituality integrated in their counseling sessions can use their personal story and God’s story to improve relationship interaction and move towards secure attachment. Stories are known to be a powerful way to organize, maintain, and evaluate behavior and emotions. When a person connects the unconscious memories and emotions with conscious ones, this validates their story and will eventually lead to emotionally meaningful communication. Now that the person is more in tuned with their feelings they can begin the transformation process to develop a new way to attach. Meditating on the visual imagery of God and focusing on connecting with God’s story through the narratives, songs, and poems of the bible can help to move the person towards secure attachment; thus, improving how the individual interacts with others.
Imago Relationship Therapy focuses on helping couples increase their connectedness. This therapy uses a dialogue to help couples learn how to meet the needs of one another in a balanced way based on their attachment styles. This can be achieved when each partner willingly stretches beyond their current defensive character adaptations to giver the other what they need. The healing process can begin when needs are being met.