Getting Started: The Basic Dialogue Ground Rule
In the Imago Dialogue, both parties agree to a basic ground rule: to talk one person at-a-time. The person who is speaking, is the “sender”, and the other who is listening, is “receiving”. It is when you are in the role of the Receiver that you will be doing the three main steps of Dialogue.
Dialogue: The Three Main Steps
Let’s take them one at a time.
STEP ONE: MIRROR
In the Mirroring step, when your partner pauses, or perhaps when you have asked them to pause, you will repeat back everything you heard them say. You may paraphrase, but you will mirror without analyzing, critiquing, modifying or responding.
How to Mirror: “If I got it, I think you said…” or “So you’re saying…”
Ask if there’s more: “Is there more?” or “Tell me more.”
STEP TWO: VALIDATE
Once the Sender says there is “no more”, the Receiver will attempt to validate what the Sender has said by letting the Sender if what they have been saying is making logical sense to the Receiver. If it does not, the Receiver will simply share what does make sense, then ask the Sender to say more about the parts that do not yet make sense.
How to Validate: “You make sense to me because…” or
“That makes sense, I can see where…”
Ask for clarification: “This part (X) makes sense, but help me understand,
can you say more about…?”
STEP THREE: EMPATHIZE
In the final step, Empathy, the Receiver takes a guess as to what they imagine the Sender might be feeling with regard to what they have been saying. If the Sender has already said how they feel, then the Receiver can simply reflect this back once more. If, however, the Receiver can think of an additional way their partner might be feeling, this is where they can add that.
When sending empathy, it is fine to say something such as: “I can imagine you feel like …. (you’re the only one working on our relationship).” However, it’s important to know that once the word “like” comes into play, what’s being expressed is is a thought, not a feeling. The best way we have come to distinguish the difference between a thought and a feeling, is that a feeling can generally be described in one or two words: e.g., happy, excited, safe, cared for, hurt, frustrated, scared.
Try to include some “feeling” words if you can, in this step. Doing so, especially when you are lucky enough to hit the proverbial nail on the head, will often bring a look of recognition and joy to your partner’s face faster than anything else you could say.
How to Empathize: “I can imagine you might be feeling…”
Check it Out: “Is that how you feel?”
Now that the Sender has said all they have to say and the Receiver has mirrored, validated and empathized, the whole process reverses. The Receiver now gets their turn to respond with whatever came up for them while the first partner was sending and the Sender shifts into being the new Receiver who does the mirroring, etc.
Note; When partners trade places, the new Sender does not start a new topic, rather she/he responds to what the first Sender said.
For more detailed information, click on the links below:
Instructions for the Receiver
Step-by-Step Receiver Flowchart
Instructions for the Sender
Step-by-Step Sender Flowchart
Video example: https://youtu.be/bu7L_BySRgY
A self-report measure that allows you to discover and understand your personality structure, The New Personality Self-Portrait (NPSP) © illustrates the wide range of normal personality styles that combine to create each individual's unique personality profile and demonstrates how each personality style influences relationships, work, and home life.
The 14 personality styles identified in the NPSP (also known as the PSP) are the common, adaptive versions of the more extreme pathological constellations described in the DSM-5 classification manual. Intended for individuals aged 18 years and older, The NPSP consists of 107 items that are designed to highlight your profile.
Download the file, complete the questionnaire to the best of your ability, and then send me the results. I will chart it out for you and explain your results in our next session.
CAREERinsite is your one-stop guide to career planning. You'll find everything you need to plan your work and learning here: https://careerinsite.alberta.ca/careerinsite.aspx
DIAPHRAGM BREATHING is a technique that helps you slow down and deepen your breathing when you are feeling stressed or anxious. Newborn babies naturally breathe this way, and singers, wind instrument players, and yoga practitioners use this type of breathing.
Why is diaphragm breathing important?
♦ Our breathing changes when we are feeling anxious or stressed. We tend to take short, quick, shallow breaths, or even hyperventilate. This type of breathing can actually make you feel even more anxious (e.g., due to a racing heart, dizziness, or headaches)!
♦ Diaphragm breathing is a great portable tool that you can use whenever you are feeling anxious. However, it does require some practice. Key point: like other anxiety-management skills, the purpose is not to avoid anxiety at all costs, but just to take the edge off or help you “ride out” the feelings.
HOW TO DO IT
Diaphragm breathing involves taking smooth, slow, and regular breaths.
1. Take a slow breath in through the nose (and mouth if you have to), breathing into your lower abdomen, feeling your ribcage expand in all directions.
2. Once you get a full breath, hold it gently for 1 or 2 seconds.
3. Exhale slowly and completely through the mouth, making sure to empty your lungs completely before taking in your next breath.
♦ Make sure that you aren’t hyperventilating; pause for a few seconds after each breath if you start to feel light-headed
♦ Focus on relaxing the muscles in your neck/throat and pulling the air in from your solar plexus (sternum) area
♦ Relax your chest, drop your shoulders, and let your belly soften like the Buddha
♦ Sometimes it helps to imagine a hand pushing on the middle of your back and you are pushing against it with breath (to help expand and fill the back of the lungs)
♦ Your shoulders and chest area should be fairly relaxed and still. If this is challenging at first, try lying down on the floor with one hand on your chest, and the other hand on your abdomen. Focus on making the hand on your abdomen rise as you fill your lungs with air, expanding your chest (the hand over your chest should not move as much)
♦ Practice this technique once or twice a day at first - you need to be comfortable breathing this way when feeling calm, before you can feel comfortable doing it when anxious.
You will gradually master this skill and feel the benefits! Once you are comfortable with this technique, you can start using it in situations that cause anxiety.