In the face of a couple’s crisis, there are three different perspectives for the therapist to consider: The first perspective works for, and from, the ‘between’ of the relationship – the focus is on the interpersonal; the second, use relational neuroscience as a map for inner attunement; and the third, helps the therapist with his/her countertransference and use of “self.” The end point of all three perspectives is to provide the therapist with skills to assist couples in moving from Despair and Rupture to Repair and Connection. Using the principles of interpersonal and interpersonal attunement will give a map to working with couples in crisis. Having a clear navigational system that includes exploring countertransference reactions will ultimately enable us to effectively help couples heal and grow through crisis.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the Imago-based model of interpersonal and inner attunement for working with couples in crisis.
  • Explain the therapist’s role in establishing a safe and empathic structure when couples are polarized and in crisis.
  • Utilize Imago processes to promote secure attachment and emotion regulation in an insecure, dis-regulated couple system.
  • Describe and clinically use a relational neuroscience metaphor of the mind, The Wheel of Awareness, to expand Imago’s relational paradigm.
  • Explain how the therapist’s countertransference when working with betrayal.
  • Understand the potential for vicarious traumatization when working with crisis couples.
  • Review the importance of interacting in a dialogical manner with their couples

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