All About Imago: A Q&A with Ethos Wellness Relationship Therapist Roddy Young
Roddy Young, BS, MSW, LCSW is a certified Imago Relationship Therapist at Ethos Wellness – Lovett and has been providing therapy to individuals and couples in both medical and private-practice settings for nearly 20 years. Through Imago, Roddy’s goal is to help couples discover why they are drawn to each other, what is causing the conflict in their relationship, and how they can turn that conflict into connection. We sat down to ask him a few questions about Imago, how he came to practice it and more.
Q: Can you describe your therapy philosophy?
A: I believe we are all born through and into relationships, we are wounded in relationships, and the way we heal is through relationships. In short, we all end up with some childhood wounds and issues that we get from our parents, from our siblings, our neighbors, teachers, preachers, etc… otherwise called our baggage. Everyone has wounds that, in times of conflict, can cause us to unconsciously react as children do when things don’t go our way. Instead, we need to learn how to consciously communicate in a manner that invites healthy communication.
"THIS [HEALING PROCESS] WAS SO MEANINGFUL TO ME THAT AFTER I BECAME A LICENSED CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKER, I WENT THROUGH THE IMAGO CLINICAL TRAINING AND BECAME CERTIFIED AS AN IMAGO RELATIONSHIP THERAPIST."
Q: How did you come to find Imago?
A: My husband and I have been together for 40 years, and at one time in our life, as many do, we hit a rough spot. I was lucky enough to find a therapist who helped us transform our relationship through Imago. We stayed with him for a number of months and afterward, went to a weekend seminar with other couples. This helped us learn that, essentially, we had very similar childhood wounds, but our defenses were different and changed depending on the situation. One of us will shut down, while the other is more expressive. We saw these patterns in other couples, too, and watched them transform as well. This was so meaningful to me that after I became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, I went through the Imago Clinical Training and became certified as an Imago Relationship Therapist. I see how well it works each day, not only on the couples I work with, but with any individual who comes into my office.
Q: With a 40-year partnership of your own, what would you say is the secret to happiness and longevity?
A: The thing that has honestly brought us—and kept us—together is love. We genuinely like each other, we have fun together, we keep an active social life by going out with friends to lunch or dinner… We just enjoy each other’s company. While we occasionally do get on each other’s nerves, as any couple would, we are able to look at the behavior and figure out why it’s irritating us. When things do get really tough, we know we can begin to dialogue according to the process of Imago.
"DO YOU LOVE ONE ANOTHER? DO YOU WANT TO STAY TOGETHER? ARE YOU WILLING TO DO THE WORK? IF THE ANSWER IS YES, BE WILLING TO COMMIT TO THE PROCESS."
Q: What would you say to a couple on the verge of calling it quits?
A: When clients come into my office, I have their chairs almost facing each other, not side-by-side. I look at each one of them and say, “Do you love her?” or “Do you love him?” And they generally say yes, even if it’s with qualifiers, or somewhat hesitant. So, do you love one another? Do you want to stay together? Are you willing to do the work? If the answer is yes, be willing to commit to the process. Not for any extreme length of time, but for a few months at least—to start.
Q: How can someone learn more about Imago Relationship Therapy?
A: In addition to the second blog in this two-part series on Imago, All About Imago: Relationship Therapy That Turns Conflict Into Reconnection, books are a great way to learn more. Getting the Love You Want, A Guide for Couples by Imago founders Harville Hendrix Ph.D. and wife Helen LaKelly Hunt Ph.D., was written for the general public. It’s a simple read, and it makes a lot of sense.