Intentional dialogue techniques are useful in helping couples learn to listen and communicate better at home. Intentional dialogue exercises are simple, but can be powerful in helping one another connect and actually hear the other person’s voice, and read their body language in a comfortable setting. The Intentional Dialogue is the the most important skill in Imago therapy and can easily be practiced at home. Here’s how it works-
Intentional Dialogue Exercise Techniques
Get two chairs and position them so you can sit face to face. Take a deep breath and get centered. One person will be the sender and the other the receiver. The sender begins by inviting the receiver to have a dialogue.
“I’d like to have a dialogue, is now a good time?”
If it’s a good time, you can begin by sharing your topic. It could be a frustration, an appreciation, a touchy topic, or anything you’d like to share in a more connected way.
As you share, your spouse will mirror back, or repeat what you said. He/she will then ask, “Did I get you?” If the answer is yes, then he/she will ask “Is there more?”
Keep sharing until there is no more. Then summarize everything and check and see if you got it.
At this point the receiver will validate the sender by saying, “what you’re saying makes sense and you make sense.” This validates their experience, which is not the same as agreeing. You are entitled to your own opinion and can still validate that of your spouse.
Then you will empathize by guessing two emotions your spouse may be feeling about this situation and checking with him/her for accuracy.
You did it! If you want to share any childhood memories that are triggered by what you shared, that is always a bonus but you may not want to do it at home if you feel uncomfortable.
There’s nothing quite like the power of gaining clarity on a confusing situation with imago couples therapy or an intensive counseling retreat. Complete the form below to talk with Rabbi Slatkin to see what he thinks would be best for you and your unique situation.