The Roadmap to Change
By Wendy Palmer Patterson, LCSW, LMFT
“I believe your relationship can thrive. I believe your relationship could become masterful. I believe well over 50% of your challenge is simply lack of skills.” This constitutes an absolute, basic mindset I hold with the couples that come into my office.
After 40 some years in this business, I get it that therapy still often seems like it is correlated with illness, failure, and general lack. Roughly 5% of all the couples in our culture will ever seek therapy. The stereotypes, the costs, the anxiety are prohibitive.
I think this is slowly changing, but I also think that a major gift Imago can bring to the world is the understanding that necessary relationship skills come through challenge and work. Especially if you’ve never seen a competent, successful relationship. Have you? You probably never learned those skills in school. Where would you expect to have gleaned this important knowledge?
I maintain that skills are best learned out of the therapy room in a workshop setting. I am a firm believer that the Imago couples and individuals workshops provide a six-month leap in the experience of competency in a relationship. It is invaluable to have the opportunity to learn and grow together as relational beings, as a couple, and as an individual in community in a setting that makes learning and growing fun and normalized.
As adults, we are not prone to willingly reach out to gain new skills. Our life experiences have taught us that wanting and gaining new skills is not an exciting and interesting experience. Those of us who like to learn new skills, and go after them, have had good life experiences being a novice. Unfortunately, many of us think we should hide or stay away from anything we are not good at already.
We speak frequently of the importance of understanding the willingness to make a change and the ability to make a change. We tell our couples that they can’t effectively decide whether they want to make a change in their relationship, unless first they know how to make a change. The Imago workshops give you the how, the roadmap, the help.
Couples that decide not to pursue the roadmap once they know how to make a change have good reasons. Reasons to be respected. Sometimes, resistance is driven by an avoidance of addressing our own ineptitudes and failures, but diving into these areas can lead us into much greater competency and success.
All the struggles in relationship can be wound down to a single problem: how to navigate our differences. Shifting our mindset to a place of curiosity about our differences instead of terror, can help us find a bridge to one another. It can instill the belief that synergy is possible.
I frequently have the pleasure of marrying couples. I have moved to a requirement that they attend workshops before I marry them so we are all on the same page about the challenges. I am convinced that investing one’s resources to gather skills, consciousness, and hope should be a requirement of relationship.
Go get skills! Enjoy yourself while you do it!! Think of yourself as improving you, your relationships, and the whole world you touch.
– Wendy Palmer Patterson, LCSW, LMFT
If you are interested in attending one of our relationship workshops, please contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 404-584-7500.
Our next Getting the Love You Want Couples Workshop is September 17-18, 2016.
To Register CLICK HERE
You can also find more information on our workshops at the following links:
- Dave’s Anxiety Help June 5, 2018
- Learning Not to Jump off the Structure and Other Essential Lessons of Growing Up May 2, 2018
- Intention vs. Impact January 4, 2018
- When Crisis Roars September 21, 2017
- What It’s Like to Take the Getting the Love You Want Workshop June 30, 2017