A Comparison of Imago Relationship Therapy and Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy

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French, Maureen
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Two attachment-based theories of couples counselling, Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy and Imago Relationship Therapy, were chosen to identify similarities, differences and whether there is evidence that one model is superior to the other. Two modes of clinical interventions, communication skills and attachment theory were used to provide the framework to compare the two couples counselling approaches. Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy has been the subject of empirical studies. Consequently, Imago Relationship Therapy is a theory-based approach with little empirical validation. Couples often cite communication skills as a leading problem and interventions of skills based communication skills may contribute to intimacy within the relationship. Attachment Theory which postulates that insecure attachment, attachment wounds/injuries, fear of rejection and abandonment lead to disconnections between individuals in adult relationships. Consequently, both therapeutic approaches postulate that resolving attachment issues results in more secure attachment and closer connection between partners. Available literature on couple therapy indicated that the resolution of attachment wounds could be based on therapeutic change. This is a point of agreement for both of the approaches, and one that makes examination of the two theories for efficacy worthwhile. Although there is evidence that clinical work based on applied attachment theory seems to provide more therapeutic benefit than teaching communication skills, both EFCT and IRT employ interventions based on communications training. As attachment based theories, Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy and Imago Relationship Therapy give opportunities for individuals to resolve their attachment wounds and build stronger connections with their partners.
couple therapy , couple relationship , attachment theory