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Natural Awakenings Indianapolis

IMAGO Therapy and Bioenergetic Therapy: Tools for Healthy Relationships

May 04, 2011 11:29PM ● By Linda Sechrist

Although an ancient proverb declares that variety is the spice of life, few individuals really know how to honor, celebrate, or navigate their differences, especially when it comes to doing it within a relationship. Trained in Bioenergetic Analysis and IMAGO relationship therapy, psychotherapist Diana L. Guest helps individuals to create a sense of safety, intimacy and freedom, within which they can explore their differences. “In relationships, we tend to attract partners who have similar childhood wounds, therefore we need to learn how to develop the ability to be self-reflective, respectful, curious and empathic to work through and heal these wounds, which trigger conflict,” says the author of The Clinician’s Guide to 12-Step Programs and Where’s My Real Life, I know I put it Somewhere.”

According to Guest, when two people first meet they initially focus on how much they have in common and how much they think alike. “When differences show up later, people think that they are in the wrong relationship or that they married the wrong person,” advises Guest, who adds that because we are never taught how to manage our differences, most of us believe that there is something wrong because we are different from our partner.

Curiosity for how a partner sees and experiences the world as well as an understanding of how differences trigger childhood wounds are the navigation tools that help individuals using IMAGO therapy engage in more constructive dialogue. “The goal is to see how deeply interconnected we are and to have a healthier, safer, and more intimate and joyous relationship,” enthuses Guest, who began using Harville Hendrix’s concepts in his Getting the Love You Want, the basis of IMAGO relationship therapy even before she trained in this modality in 2005.

Guest immediately resonated with Harville’s way of teaching couples a new language that could help them navigate conflict when it arose. “Conflict is inevitable and some conflicts are never going to be resolved so communication has to remain open and differences have to be managed in a loving and kind way, which is what IMAGO therapy is about,” notes Guest, who also uses Bioenergetic therapy, a somatic form of psychotherapy, to deal with the body-mind from a wholeness perspective.

In Bioenergetic therapy individuals are encouraged to describe how they think and feel about issues. These explanations are used to explore how thoughts and feelings not only manifest in the body but also in relationships. Guest offers an example: A child, who is a member of a large family, may have had a mother who didn’t have much time for him/her because she had six other children to care for. As an adult, back muscles might be chronically constricted, limiting their ability to reach because it’s too painful to keep reaching out when there is a perception that no one there for them. “This could translate into an individual feeling as though they can’t rely on anyone else and must do everything alone thereby taking on too much and as a result feeling overwhelmed and resentful of others,” says Guest, who works with the client to resolve any underlying issue that is affecting them and their relationships.

Local IMAGO Therapist
Indiana IMAGO and Mental Health Consultant   

Dr. Bernard Baca, Ph.D.

Contact Diana L. Guest at 858-336-3740 or visit
For information on IMAGO Therapy or to find an IMAGO therapist,


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