SAMARITAN CENTER: A new way to communicate

By Thomas Hudson, MA, LPC-A

If you are struggling with communication with your partner, it can often be difficult to find where to even begin with conflict or even simple discussions. Surface level emotions like sadness and anger can often cloud what message we are hoping to bring toward our partner.

Subconsciously (or consciously) we may have the idea that our partner should be able to anticipate our needs and they may very well be able to do so in some or most cases. Unfortunately, no one is a mind reader and many of our needs that are not being met need to be communicated to our partners. So, how do we communicate effectively how we are feeling and what we need without letting surface level emotions get in the way? Through the Imago Dialogue.

So, what is the Imago Dialogue? The Imago Dialogue is essentially a script that can be used to help partners communicate in a respectful way in order for both parties to feel seen and heard. The goal with this prompt is to give couples something to rely on in times of need and also a stepping point to further expand healthy communication. The three components of Imago are mirroring, validating, and empathizing. Using this process both partners get a chance to speak their perspective and have the other partner mirror the content and the emotion of the speaking partner.

This process can help individuals be more in tune and consider the other’s perspective more effectively. With both parties utilizing the dialogue respectfully both sides increase their chances of feeling seen and heard and reduce the chances of the message being lost in the surface level emotions of the conflict.

Remember that your partner is just that, your partner. They may feel like an adversary at times but only through cooperative efforts is anything constructive going to happen. Healthy communication is almost like a cheat code in growing the relationship and meeting each other’s needs. Everyone deserves to feel seen and heard and the Imago Dialogue is a great asset to help achieve that.

If you have concerns about your relationships or any personal mental health issue, call Samaritan Center today at 432-563-4144 to schedule a visit with a counselor or psychiatric mental health practitioner. If you would like to learn more about the Imago Dialogue, check out the book “Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples” by Harville Hendrix Ph.D. and Helen LaKelly Hunt Ph.D. Other helpful resources are: 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline; Boys Town 1-800-447-3000; or 911.