Idealized Design

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Idealized design is a way of thinking about change that is deceptively simple to state: In solving problems of virtually any kind, the way to get the best outcome is to imagine what the ideal solution would be and then work backward to where you are today.”  

Background

Conflict often arises because people aren’t aware of what they want or how to request it. We get confused or disappointed in relationships and respond by either blaming ourselves for wanting “too much” or our partner for not being enough.

By focusing on either repressing the current difficulties, or talking about how they are challenging, we get overwhelmed quickly. We then react to our reactions of problems, the more immediate pain point, and get distracted from drilling into the depths of the “why” of the problem and what’s next.

Idealized Design, similar to Motivational Interviewing and Solution Focused Therapies, and the Love-Sex-Trust approach is built on the premise that those involved are capable of being effective in solving their problems and manifesting what they want. Instead of reacting primarily out of fear to the way a current problem feels, we start with a thorough investigation of what IDEALLY you would want. 

What could you design that would make you happy?

  • How would that look and feel like?
  • How would you ideally love to be attached?
  • How would you ideally like conflict to be handled?
  • How would you ideally love to feel sexually within your relationship?

Moving Past the Lowest Common Denominator Strategy

Clients often say, “I just want…” “I am only asking for....” “Is this one thing too much to ask for?” Embedded is the language of settling, bargaining and making do with less. This bargaining, while it might seem generous and other oriented, actually sets both people up for future resentment. Often, you have to learn to tolerate discomfort to have what you want. Being honest, even if it's uncomfortable, is the most respectful gift you can offer to your partner.

Ideal Design: What you Really, Really Want

To know and state what would truly make you happy first means you have to feel entitled. Not in a selfish way. Sometimes people have gotten the wrong message that they are selfish to even think about their own true wants. That sacrificing for others is more ideal. I completely disagree. Martyrs aren’t very trustworthy because the nice is hiding their full truth. I believe it is of the highest respect to be honest to yourself and your romantic partners, even if it’s uncomfortable.

Ideal Design provides a strong foundation for long term relationship success, replacing compromise and bargaining as the instable materials your love might be currently built upon.

General Process Idealized Design + Private Couples Retreats

  • Gather Inspiration.
  • Identifying the Ideal.
  • Work backwards from the Ideal to the present. 
  • What are the challenges that are blocking from the Ideal happening now?
  • Organize the intrinsic + extrinsic, conscious and unconscious challenges.
  • Perform the “root canal” by looking closely at the beliefs and adaptations developed in response to earlier negative experiences with families and relationships.
  • Make decisions about your choice of being in the relationship based on steps above. Identify next steps.
  • Practice more effective bonding and conflict sequences.
  • Receive report of notes, strategies and suggestions for next steps. 

References:

Idealized Design: How to Solve Tomorrow’s Crisis…Today (Wharton School Publishing), authors Russell L. Ackoff, Jason Magidson and Herbert J. 

Motivational Interviewing Helping People Change 3rd Edition by William R. Miller.

The Art of Solution Focused Therapy
By Elliott Connie, MA, LPC, Linda Metcalf, PhD, LPC-S, LMFT-S

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