Therapist gathers information from both parties. One of the key questions is why are you two here. A complete relationship history is taken, including information about previous relationship.
The couple is asked to identify both personal goals and relationship goals.
Dr. Marcus encourages each person to put their perspective on hold and enter the world of "the other". Then, Dr. Marcus asks the "other" to take their partner on a tour of their inner world, to tell their story. This process helps couples connect in a way that creates conscious loving feelings. Each person experiences themselves as a valued, cherished person by their partner.
"Does this person really get me"? John Gottman, a well know author on couples, refers to this need to be seen in adulthood, as the need for each of us to feel attuned with our significant other. When we are "Attuned" with our partner, we experience the following:
A=Awareness of each other, our needs, wants desires, and wishes
T=Turning towards one another to talk about what we need and want
T=Tolerance for each others differences and how they bring opportunities for growth
U=Understanding of one another is the core of the connection
N=Non defensive communication is happening, we strive to understand the differences presented by our partner
E=Empathy happens, where we experience our partner in a way that shows he/she gets how we feel, even if it doesn't make sense from our frame of reference
The therapist works with the couple to create a safe space for them to share family of origin experiences. Parallels are noted between familial relationships and how the couple relates to each other. Utilizing IMAGO based principles and processes, the couples learns to listen, mirror back what is heard and eventually let their partner know that what they shared makes sense. With a deeper understanding of the other the couples realizes that the conflicts they have are a result of old habits, unconscious triggers from childhood and a lack of awareness of self and other.
With a deeper connection the couple can then address desire, passion and sexual intimacy in a safe, non blaming, shaming or criticizing way.