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Is your marriage in trouble? Are you failing to communicate? Need more intimacy? Marriage is difficult. Living with someone is difficult. The only way we have to connect to another human being is through the vehicle of communication. KC Life Counseling can provide new communication skills using Imago dialog skills and techniques from John Gottman, a pioneer researcher turned therapist. These two methods Marriage Counselor combine to provide a review of your communication style and methods to pinpoint the miscommunication triggering personal emotive reactions. The Imago dialog teaches couples how to listen and validate in a way

to allow your mate to heal the wounds of their childhood that are often the cause of many disputes.

Gottman Relationship Checkup

The Gottman method is an approach to couple’s therapy designed to help couples strengthen areas of friendship, conflict management, and creating shared meaning. John and Julie Gottman have identified nine components of healthy relationships they describe as the Sound Relationship House Theory.
John Gottman has been in research studying couple’s communication for years. He has identified the types of communication most harmful to relationships. His experience includes studying couples in his lab while obtaining physiological data while they communicated. 

Following their stay in the Gottman lab, John Gottman categorized, organized, and labeled types of communication. Further, he followed these couples longitudinally for two years checking to see if they were still together. Being a mathematician, originally, he wrote an expression to predict in the 90% affective range whether the couple would be successful. He and his wife Julie, a therapist, have used this data as part of the foundation for their approach.

Sound Relationship House provides a couple’s online assessment called Couples Check IN. This is a 480-item assessment of your relationship on the levels of the Gottman theory and provides insight for the individuals. Some of the individual screenings include OCD, anxiety, depression, paranoid ideation, psychoticism, somatic, and eating disorders. There is an additional fee for this assessment. Gottman also has dialog including The Art of the Compromise to help manage

Imago Dialog

Harville Hendricks is the author of Imago Relationship counseling. Harville wrote Getting the Love You Want (1988) and has developed an approach to coupes counseling using the principles in this book together with several other pivotal principles in psychology and human development. Imago is a Latin term for “Image” and refers to the “unconscious image of familiar love”. Imago believes there is a connection to the frustrations we experience in our interpersonal relationship and our childhood patterns of relationships. This pattern of characteristics that move us in both negative and positive ways, simultaneously remind us of the warm fuzzies we experienced in our childhood from our significant relationships and the wounds we experienced. We find someone who invites us into our own personal growth. This goes a long way to explain why things bother us with our partner. We are uniquely and specifically incompatible with our partner. This leads to conflicts and this conflict can lead to our own personal growth. Imago uses a dialog to allow each partner to examine their wounds, share the experience with their partner asking the partner to keep the space safe while they work on healing those wounds, promoting personal growth. Imago asks each person to look into themselves and find their places of reactivity and be vulnerable with their partner while they share without shaming or blaming their partner but taking personal responsibility for them self. This evokes empathy and curiosity in the partner facilitating healing and connection between the couple.

Psychological Differentiation


Many couples come through my door struggling with feelings of hurt and disrespect. They have expectations of their partner that go unmet. Expecting a partner to know what you want and provide it without prompting, is one complaint. Reading a partners mind based on observed actions happens frequently. Generally, speaking, the interpretation is mostly negative. They observe a behavior and make a supposition, internalizing the negative thought and reacting based on the supposition: “Oh, he must be mad at me”, “Here we go again”, “How dare she be upset with me after I worked all day for her and the family” are examples.


When I point out that perhaps the observer may have misread their partners actions, I get a response like: “After all these years, I know him/her pretty well”, or “No, I know what I saw”. One of the biggest mistakes couples make is reading each others minds. You do not know what goes on in your partners mind unless you ask and offer a summary of what you heard, asking for verification and clarification. Communication is shoddy and humans are subjects of their own filters.

Additionally, couples rob each other of their responsibilities. When I see a couple who both make decisions based on what they perceive the other partner to want or need, it sets up lots of space for miscommunication and missteps. Assuming responsibility FOR how your partners feels is robbing them of their independence, autonomy, or differentiation. We can be responsible TO our partner FOR how we feel and vice versa. This is different than making a partners happiness a priority. That happens when your partner has been responsible for how they feel to you followed by you using that information to make choices to assist or provide them with things or situations that increase their happiness. There is clear understanding by each partner for what makes them happy and how they prefer that happiness to happen. The other partner then participates, lightens the load, for the achievement of that happiness. It is not a guessing game with many attempts and lots of misses, resulting in hurt feelings and lesser levels of happiness on both parties.

This starts with healthy differentiated individuals. Each person knows who they are, what they want, and how to they wish go about getting or receiving it. Below is some information on differentiation. Healthy, differentiated individuals are better prepared and more capable of caring out successful relationships, with the proper communication skills. More on communication to come.


Are you living your life the way you want to? Are your actions based on pursuing the things that really light you up or give your life meaning? Or are you living based on prescriptions you acquired in your past? Differentiation refers to the struggle that all people face in striving to develop a sense of themselves as independent individuals.

A person’s identity is continually affected by interpersonal experiences that are either favorable or damaging to the development of his or her personality. In order for you to live your own life and fulfill your destiny, you must differentiate yourself from destructive family and societal influences. To the extent that you can develop and sustain your unique identity, you will be able to live truly individualistic and fulfilling lives.


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Marriage Counseling in Kansas City

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