Dr. Wendy Palmer Patterson
Dr. Wendy Palmer Patterson, PhD, LCSW, LMFT
TITLE: Senior Faculty

Dr. Wendy Palmer Patterson, PhD, LCSW, LMFT has been working and playing with couples and families since 1971. She has worked in both the public and private sector and has been in private practice in Atlanta since 1981, specializing in couples, families, and groups. She trains marital and family therapists across the country and is a respected supervisor and consultant. Wendy has been an Imago Clinical Faculty member since 1996. She has also delivered a variety of seminars for professional, religious, and business organizations. Her experience and training includes: Structural and Strategic family therapy, Systemic therapy, Transactional Analysis, Gestalt therapy, Pesos Borden System Psychomotor therapy, sexual and physical abuse, addiction recovery and treatment, group psychotherapy, parenting, women’s empowerment, and sexuality. I was introduced to Imago by my beloved partner, Bob, when he brought the book, Getting the Love You Want, to my attention as an additive to a couple’s retreat we were conducting in the 80’s called The Clearing.  In 1989 Bob requested that we get certified in this new discipline and we spun off on our wonderful wild Imago adventure.  We flew to attend our first workshop with Pat Love and then on to NY to sit at the feet of Harville.   I felt our marriage received more assistance from our weekend with Pat than we had from years of couples therapy.   I came somewhat jaundiced to our initial classes with Harville, because I had already had such amazing training opportunities with the gurus’  of the day.  (Gouldings, Satir, Whitaker, Minuchen, Haley, Napier, Pessos, Polsters to name a few) However, these initial trainings with Harville were all I could have hoped for, and he did not disappoint. I was quick to suggest to him that he should modify his training to include elements of work dear to me like body work via psychomotor, abuse, violence, and Transactional Analysis.  I had been on the forefront of the new age of family work for a couple of decades and felt strongly that the evolving synthesis of ideas that was exploding were a trend worth joining.  While I had dabbled and explored many disciplines by then, Harville suggested that he would willingly include my ideas into the work IF I would commit to completing the training and getting ‘good’ at it before I changed it around.  I loved the challenge to really explore a professional identity expansion.  I also loved what the work was doing for my marriage. Bob and I were invited to become Workshop Presenters at the conclusion of the clinical training.  We had small children and decided that Bob would continue on with the Workshop Presenter training while we adapted our couple’s retreat to become GLYW workshops.  We learned many valuable things about our partner presence through Bob’s cohort in that training.  I followed next and had the amazing experience of sitting with 9 angels including some of our icons – Sunny and Mark and Hedy and Yumi.  We were 6 Jews, 2 retired Catholic priests, a Baptist preacher and me.  We called ourselves the Sinai 9 and incorporated all manner of spiritual and cultural practices into the life changing experience of the Workshop Presenters course. Shortly thereafter our Atlanta Imago therapists agreed that we would like to have a Faculty presence in the South East and I became a Faculty candidate,   As a candidate one was expected to participate in 2 clinical trainings and I opted to bring Bruce Crapuchettes and Maya Kollman to Atlanta and launch the first clinical training.  I will forever be proud of my impulse to bring together these two brilliant teachers and sit and watch!  I was certified as Imago Faculty in 1996. Atlanta has played large on the Imago scene because we have a strong region of therapists and have hosted three different International Imago Conferences over two decades.  Bob was involved in captaining all the Imago conferences to date, starting in Orlando in 1993.  Perhaps our greatest challenge was October 2001.  I was in awe of the powerful efforts to bring what healing and comfort we could to our Imago family after such despair.  I became even more convinced that community was a healing necessity. I live and work in our large century old home in the heart of Atlanta.  I have always had home offices for my private practice.  I ran a family center, an addiction center and two research projects before I committed primarily to private practice.  My private practice has always focused primarily on families and couples and I have been in a trainer, supervisor, consultant capacity to other helpers since 1973.  We are still married and celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary.  We have a daughter, Taylor, born in 1981 and a son, Leif, born in 1983.  Both are Imago trained and engrained.  Some of my specific contributions have been to amplify as core elements: Sender Responsibility, levels of Validation (I can count 5), Contracting, CPR training (Compassion, Power and Respect), Community Dialogue, Despair to Repair, Forgiveness, Couples in Business, Psychomotor and Imago, the Relational Self, the cultural expansion to include power imbalances (violence and abuse),  Tenses as focus, Intention vs Impact, and Frozen Power Struggles. I have a systemic view and approach to life and to this work.  Toward that end, Bob and I have made a point of taking Imago into a variety of settings over the years.  We offer business consultation and team building and have for 30 years.  It always includes Imago theory and practice.  I run a number of groups and am very committed to that form of change.  I am currently writing a dissertation to satisfy PhD requirements from Daybreak University, the first of its kind to integrate Imago.  My research centers around the questions of Imago application into different cultures, something I have had the joy of experiencing first-hand in my international teaching opportunities.