Probably no question has been put to me so often these days as to what I mean by the phrase “Make Sense.” The Diversity Principle: “All people make sense all the time,” is for me one of the most useful tools I've come up with. It allows me to connect with people who are doing things that I don?t at first understand or like. It allows me to continue to more and more fully understand myself. It is a keystone tool in helping people build self-esteem. And it is a tool that stands up clearly, setting me against what I call “the pathology of our culture.”Continue reading →
I built this table several years ago as a handout to help couples determine which tools to use when things were going awry. Years ago when I was working as (pretending to be) a carpenter, an old guy said, "Al, first things first. Always use the right tool. Saves time and effort." Well, depending on what is happening in a relationship, there are different tools. Here's the range.Continue reading →
This is so common. Oh, I feel sorry for everyone involved. I think I have seen this situation 6 times this month. A person calls in, ?their whole life has changed?, ?their dreams are shattered?, and ?they don?t know what to do.? Their partner of 5 years, 14 years, 33 years, has announced they are leaving, or they have packed up and gone, or they have found someone new and now want to cut the ties with their ?older? partner. The person calling feels surprised, betrayed and hurt. What to do?Continue reading →
An open letter (probably with lots of typos) that I wrote to any and all Imago Therapists during my vacation in the mountains in early September 2005. In it I pose an important question. Is what I am doing "Imago?"Continue reading →
I really like being efficient. Doing something over and over that doesn?t work seems an utter waste to me. Thus Behavior Change Requests (BCRs) are for me wonderful. How many times have I asked myself, ?Specifically, what can I do to make things better?? and gotten no answer. I used to think on my gravestone they would write, ?He tried.? Now, I think they might write, ?He did it.? I love finding out WHAT WORKS! (This article is part of the Healing Frustrations paper.)Continue reading →
I believe that Frustrations are the critical element to making progress in a Relationship. Healing Frustrations is the key. I call it the ?ratchet? process because , like a ratchet wrench, it makes things move forward and you can?t back up. The following essay contains what I see as the background for dealing with frustrations. It clears up a lot of misunderstandings and can help you stop wasting time and energy in doing things that do not work.Continue reading →
When we listen, do we understand? When we speak, do we get to feel understood? The skills of understanding, making a person feel understood, and speaking so that someone can understand you, are very important. In this article I hope to be able to explain about this and start you on your way. Seek to become an expert. I think this is really worth the investment.Continue reading →
I was asked recently what are the steps to follow, practically, when you see your partner backing away from you even in everyday situations. I think the person was simultaneously looking for specific things to do and trying to head off trouble.Continue reading →
I am presenting this paper as a discussion of dialogue norms to use in Power Differential Relationships. My goal is to re-approach One-up/One-down situations from the relational model, the dialogical model that is central to Imago Relationship theory and practice.
The paper is divided into three sections:
1. Types of Power Differential Situations
2. Decision Making as the legitimate reason for Power Differential Situations
3. The Four Challenges facing groups trying to make decisions.
Even as I began to understand about boundaries for individuals, I was still stunned by what wildness happens in a committed couple. People keep telling me that they can get along with anyone except their partner at home. I frequently watch professionally competent couples act like little, tantrum-throwing, children in my office. What are the boundary issues that make the experiences of couples, or an intimate relationships, so powerful? This paper covers what I have learned going on.Continue reading →