Couples Therapy Objectives in Imago Relationship Therapy

Getting the Love You Want pic

Getting the Love You Want

Herb Tannenbaum, Ph.D., is the founder and Executive Director of the Center for Effective Living, located in River Edge, New Jersey. In addition, Dr. Herb Tannenbaum has obtained certification as an Imago therapist and has served as a faculty member at the Institute for Imago Relationship Therapy since 1997.

Imago is a therapy method that combines Western psychology, behavioral science, and spiritual doctrine to form a unique love relationship theory that can be applied to both individual and couples therapy.

By helping those seeking or struggling with an intimate relationship adjust their thought processes through an understanding of intimacy defenses and how humans select intimate partners, Imago teaches clients new skills to conquer unconscious and detrimental behavior and ultimately foster “mutual healing and maturation.”

When working with couples, Imago therapy strives to:
Create a safe space for couples to interact and connect
Assist with the development of communication skills that will lead to improved understanding between the parties involved
Help with the transformation of frustration–which can result in a power struggle–into positive understanding and response to the partner’s needs
Develop the inward recognition and acceptance of the qualities within one’s self that provoke hostile feelings and may, in turn, be projected onto one’s partner.

Imago therapy is intended to improve the couple’s relationship and leave them feeling fulfilled and more connected to one another.

An Introduction to Imago Relationship Therapy

Getting the Love You Want pic

Getting the Love You Want

Psychologist Dr. Herbert (“Herb”) Tannenbaum has relied upon imago relationship therapy (IRT) as a means of supporting relationships for more than four decades. Based in River Edge, New Jersey, Dr. Herb Tannenbaum also works with individual patients.

IRT provides couples with the tools they need to endure challenging times together and, in some cases, to view their relationship as unhealthy or unsustainable. Although the timing of its application and specific issues to be addressed by IRT can vary from case to case, several aspects of IRT make its application suitable for most if not all cases.

A number of relationship problems can be traced back to poor communication and an inability of an individual to share his or her true desires with another. IRT helps both people in a relationship to identify their subconscious needs and convey them directly to the other. Similarly, imago therapists seek to explain the ineffectiveness of treating surface problems, focusing instead on helping patients to identify core issues that multiply into hurt feelings and negative encounters.

As one might expect, a successful IRT regimen can take a significant amount of time, even for couples that do not view their relationship as unhealthy or in serious jeopardy. One of the primary tenets of IRT is the construction of an emotional safe place through which couples can establish a healthy, long-term partnership. This safe space allows potential fights to evolve into opportunities for deeper connections and greater understanding. That said, emotional safety does not necessarily come easily, but can perhaps be achieved through hard work.

Dr. Herb Tannenbaum: Gaining Certification in Imago Relationship Therapy

A certified Imago Relationship therapist, Dr. Herbert “Herb” Tannenbaum facilitates the Getting the Love You Want couples workshop and incorporates Imago tenets into his regular work. Moreover, Dr. Herb Tannenbaum has led clinical Imago Relationship Therapy training workshops since 1992.

While the full Imago certification process takes more than a year to complete, many trainees begin their Imago journey by attending an introductory course called Flexible Access Clinical Training (FACT). During the two-day FACT course, clinicians and couples therapists can learn more about this unique form of therapy before committing to the longer training program.

Individuals interested in attaining full Imago certification must first attend a Getting the Love You Want workshop. They then undergo a 96-hour small-group program, which is designed to teach participants how to incorporate Imago elements into their current work. Using their newly acquired techniques, psychology professionals complete six months of clinical consultation. Finally, to receive certification, the counselors or therapists must create and submit a video recording of their work with a couple for evaluation.