Be Curious about Your Partners’ World by Herb Tannenbaum, Ph.D.

Imago Relationship Therapy founded developed by Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. and Helen LaKelly-Hunt, Ph.D. identifies and underscores the importance that partners in an adult love relationship begin to differentiate and accept and become curious about their partners world. In other words, partners are often reactive, judgmental, frightened or confused when there partner does not see the world the way they do. This is often the etiology and fuel of the power struggle that so many couples get caught up in.

Rather than being reactive, Imago Relationship Therapy asks that partners transcend their reality and become curious about what their partner is thinking or feeling and to contain reactivity so that the sending partner can share their world without being questioned or judged–this is powerful! Using the Couples Dialogue which is a core skill of Imago Relationship Therapy each partner gets mirrored, validated and empathized with for their point of view. The receiving partner stays focused and attuned tracking their partner and learning more about their thinking and subjective reality.

The core of the the couples dialogue is based on Phenomenology which was developed by the Dutch philosopher Edmund Husserl. Husserl identified the concept of subjective reality and that each of us view the world through on own lens which is based on our internal world. This was profound thinking. It emphasized consciousness and underscored that empirical facts are not enough to understand the human condition.

For couples, the concept of being curious about each others world opens a pathway to intimacy through connectivity and safety. In my office, the number one yearning that partners have from their partner is to be heard and understood. The Couples Dialogue provides the structure for couples to be in connection in an intentional way and allows them to be curious about their partners world knowing that listening to their partner is a gift for the relationship that allows a deeper level of authentic connection.

Herb Tannenbaum, Ph.D. – contact me @


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