I am always seeking to sharpen my therapeutic skills by attending ongoing professional training sessions.  Recently, I attended an Imago therapy workshop entitled “The Seamless Flow” presented by nationally known Imago consultant Rick Brown. This training session started out by reinforcing the basic foundation of Imago therapy as it relates to my work in marriage counseling.  The foundation of Imago Therapy holds that current conflicts with one’s partner are rooted in childhood experiences within one’s family.  We all seek to obtain from our partners the emotional needs that were not met earlier in life.  The training continued by providing me with the tools I can use to get troubled couples to communicate more effectively with each other even in times of stress.  When we get angry or frustrated with our partner, there is always some feeling of hurt underneath the anger.  It is always easier for our partner to listen when we are hurt, rather than when we are angry.  We then began a practice exercise which demonstrated this technique. The exercise is called the Container Day exercise, where one partner is “on duty” for the day and is tasked with mirroring and validating without comment the thoughts of the other for an entire day.  Partners take turns being “on duty” with this very effective technique which takes the defensiveness out of the act of listening to one’s partner.  This non-defensive listening is a skill that I help couples develop in my marriage counseling work. It takes time and practice, but in the long term I have seen it pay off many times in the work that I do with couples. Attending training sessions like this one helps me keep my skills fresh and up to date, and I was very glad that I attended this one. 
Couples Communications Training
Suzanne Corcoran, LCSW-C, Counseling for Couples and Individuals in Rockville, Maryland