Purpose: Imago Dialogue is a process that ultimately transcends conflict and creates connection and understanding, allowing two realities to exist in a safe context. You initiate a Dialogue when:
- You want to express your appreciation and love.
- You want to be listened to and understood.
- You are upset about something and want to discuss it.
- You want to discuss a topic that you think might be “touchy.”
Begin Imago Dialogue with exchanging positive messages so that Dialogue will have positive associations. Later, when you are proficient in the skill you will learn how to express a frustration effectively.
MAKE AN APPOINTMENT
The one who wants to send a message must take the initiative. S/he is called the SENDER. Making an appointment may sound like this:
“I would like to DIALOGUE about …. Is now okay?”
It is the RECEIVER’S job to grant an Imago Dialogue ASAP, now if possible. [If not now, set an appointment time so that the SENDER knows when s/he will be heard, and take the initiative to keep the appointment.]
The receiver might say “I’m available now” or I’m late for an appointment right now but can we talk tonight after dinner?”.
STEP 1: THE SEND, THE MIRROR AND THE CHECK
Begin to tell RECEIVER about a topic you wish to discuss. Use “I” language – “I feel…,” “I fear…,” “I love…,” “I tell myself…,” “I need….” Let your partner see inside you. Share your feelings about what happened, what you tell yourself, what it’ s like for you. When talking about your partner only refer to specific behaviors or words, e.g. “When you said…, I felt…,” “When you did…, I interpreted that to mean….”
MIRROR and check for accuracy.
Let me see if I’ve got you. I heard you say…. Or You said…. you? Or Did I get that?
Copyright 2006: Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt c/o Imago Relationships International