What are the goals of I-Thou therapy?
Following are the goals of I-Thou therapy:
Moving from Competition to Collaboration
The whole goal here is to create empowerment of the couple so that they feel capable of choosing direction in their life. Instead of viewing themselves as victims, they come with circular views.
Moving From Magic to Mystery
As the couple shifts to a collaborative mode, they reflect on the history of their relationship with the therapist. This is when old superficial feelings of love may resurface when everything was new and rosy. When two people confront each other in the I - thou mode, in their wholeness, it is then they drive out the ghosts of mutual projection.
Moving from Blame to Empathy
Partners often begin therapy in a blame mode. Each sees the other as responsible for the misery in the relationship. Each may see the self as a victim of the other. With this view, it is inevitable that partners deal with each other in the I-It mode. To help the couple move to a more mutually empathic position, it is important to first understand the dynamics of blame in the relationship. This shift will ultimately enable them to see each other more authentically and to relate in a dialogical mode.
Moving from a Hierarchical to a Generational View of the Family of Origin
A second level of work often emerges at this point - the multigenerational level. For the couple to move beyond blame, it may be necessary to work with each partner to resolve unfinished grievances with their family of origin. It is often the case that blame in the couple is a resonance of old blame toward parents from childhood. When one is stuck in blame with one‘s parents, it is difficult not to be stuck in blame with one‘s spouse or children as well. Accepting limitations of the parents is an important part of this work. This process often involves grieving and coming to terms with the fact that their parents will never be the parents they wanted or needed.
Moving Toward Mutual Empathy and Mutual Empowerment
In helping the couple to develop empathy for each other, this approach facilitates ‘mutuality of care and concern‘ and even mutual protection. Many partners, underneath the fighting and weariness, care deeply for each other and are quite protective of each other.