Release destructive emotions


The Three Steps of Harville Hendrix’s Intentional Dialogue

I Love You So Big! Blog – Lynne Namka, © 2011-13

“I believe in the sun even when it’s not shining. I believe in love even when not feeling it. I believe in God Even when He is silent.” – Anonymous

Intentional Dialogue is a process of communication that you and your partner can learn to create an atmosphere of safety. It is also a great way to validate your child and help him or her open up more. Using this communication tool with your partner really helps him or her feel safe and listened too. It works if it is done right to recreate that sense of connection that healthy families have.

intentional diologue, harville hendirx, active listening, communication tool

Empathy is the greatest gift you can give your partner when he or she is hurting. It helps a person be seen and feel totally understood.

What we all really want is to be understood and accepted for whom we are. To really live in Conscious Relationship, in my opinion, Intentional Dialogue is the best tool for keeping love alive. Having someone really listen to you is as close to unconditional love we can get in our lifetime. Empathy is the greatest gift you can give your partner when he or she is hurting. It helps a person be seen and feel totally understood. The childhood wounds no longer are so deep when we are truly heard and understood.

A recipe for having a loving relationship equals commitment, learning powerful, how-to-stay-connected techniques during times of stress and darn hard work. This formula is doable for those determined to be happy in relationship. The Imago Therapy Tools help you keep the love you want and become a responsible, loving adult secure in the knowledge that you are truly seen and heard.

Here is the short version of the three steps of Hendrix’s Intentional Dialogue:

  1. Mirror back what your child said and ask for more. This shows your child that you are willing to take the time to truly listen to him. It is an active listening technique which forces you to pay attention instead of planning a retort or a correction.
  2. Validate his message by saying that it makes sense from his point of view. You don’t have to agree with what your child says. You do have to walk in his footsteps about this issue and see it from his point of view. “Given who you are and where you are coming from, I can understand why you would think this way.
  3. Empathize and guess his feelings. When you take it to a feeling level, your child will feel more understood and most likely will stop feeling hurt and angry. If you don’t guess the correct feelings, chances are your child will correct you.

If you have a youngster who doesn’t talk much, you still have the opportunity for letting him or her know what you stand for. Talk with your friends about what you value (not what you do not like in young people) where your child will over hear you. Or talk out loud to yourself. Remember the saying, “Little pitchers have big ears?” Children are natural eavesdroppers. Share your feelings and your joys and frustrations about life. Comment out loud about role models and the inappropriateness of some commercials. Talk about the important family values that you want to impart to your child. If he or she has a friend that is more talkative, engage them in conversation so that your child can overhear positive ideas. Ask for their perspective on issues and get your own opinions known.

Here’s a popular quote to be passed on from my teacher, Virginia Satir whose legacy on the web is at

“I believe the greatest gift I can conceive of having from anyone is to be seen, heard, understood and touched by them. The greatest gift I can give is to see, hear, understand and touch another person. When this is done, I feel contact has been made.” – Virginia Satir

 The Perfect Gift for Children in Your Life

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