Imago Relationship Therapy, originated by Dr. Harville Hendrix with his wife, Helen Hunt, offers a unique theory of love relationships, one that many of us find really makes sense.
"Imago" is the Latin word for image and refers to the composite image in our unconscious of our caretakers - mom and dad, or whoever raised us. This composite image includes the positive and negative character traits of our caretakers, our experiences with them, our best memories, and our most painful ones; and most importantly, our unmet childhood needs. We take this composite image into adulthood where we find ourselves attracted to and attractive to an "Imago match."
You may think of this as nature providing you with a partner uniquely incapable of meeting your needs! This is not done to frustrate you, but to provide an environment where the old issues can get triggered with the intention of having a different outcome.
Unfortunately, without becoming conscious of this process and learning some key skills to resolve the frustrations, many relationships seemed destined to be painful. The core principles of Imago therapy are:
Repetitive conflicts are rooted in our past.
Dialogue is the vehicle that takes a couple from conflict to connection.
We are both responsible for creating a conscious, safe relationship.
As we stretch into gradually meeting our partner's needs, we both experience healing and growth.
There are always two perspectives to the story.
We avoid shame, blame, and criticism.
How Does It Work?
Imago Relationship Therapy utilizes a variety of procedures to teach couples, and singles desiring an intimate union, some key concepts:
Identify ways you may be interfering in getting the love you want because of how you've habitually protected yourself.
See conflict as growth trying to happen and learn how to get needs met in a productive way.
Learn the core communication skill - The Intentional Dialogue - which allows you to hear and be heard, and restore the connection that gets lost during moments of conflict.
Re-romanticize a relationship where passion, affection, and intimacy may have become problematic or non-existent.
Bring out the best in each other and in one's self, turning the relationship from one of conflict and frustration to one of healing and growth.
As Harville says, "We are born in relationship. We are wounded in relationship. And we are healed in relationship." Imago Relationship Therapy provides a powerful and productive pathway towards healing and wholeness.
For more information about workshops and trainings, or to find an Imago Therapist or Facilitator in North America, please visit www.imagorelationshipswork.com.