About Imago Relationship Therapy
Imago Relationship Therapy, the relational model I employ, is an integrated theory and process for working with couples who seek to enhance the relationship they share. Based on the groundbreaking work of Harville Hendrix, Ph.D., and Helen LaKelly Hunt, Ph.D., co-authors of Getting the Love You Want, Keeping the Love You Find, Receiving Love, and Giving the Love That Heals, Imago Therapy is an effective and safe approach to helping relationship partners grow into understanding each other more fully and relating more honestly as they evolve into greater wholeness as individuals within the relational context they share.
The Basic Principles of Imago Relationship Therapy:
- We were born whole and complete.
- We inadvertently became wounded through interactions with our parents and/or primary caretakers during the early nurturing and socialization stages of development. (Incidentally, this theory applies to them as well.)
- Deep in our unconscious mind, we have a composite image of all of the positive and negative traits of our primary caretakers. This is called the Imago. It is the unconscious blueprint of the one with whom we seek to enter into a committed, intimate relationship.
- We seek a partner who is an “Imago match,” that is, someone who matches up with the unconscious composite image of our primary caretakers. This is important because we enter into a committed relationship for the purpose of healing and finishing the unfinished business of childhood. Our parents/caregivers are the ones with whom we were inadvertently wounded, but a primary love partner, who matches their traits, becomes their stand-in for the healing process to commence.
- Romantic love is the door to a committed relationship and is nature’s way of connecting us with the perfect partner for our eventual healing.
- We move into a power struggle as soon as we make a commitment to this person. The power struggle is necessary, for imbedded in a couple’s frustrations lies the information for growth and healing.
- The first two stages of a committed relationship, “romantic love” and the “power struggle,” are entered into unconsciously for the purpose of healing childhood wounds.
- Inevitably our love partner is experienced as incompatible with us; least able to meet our needs and most able to wound us all over again.
- The goal of Imago Relationship Therapy is to align our conscious mind, which seeks safety and happiness, with the agenda of the unconscious mind, which is driven toward growth and healing. Thus, the goal of therapy is to assist clients to develop conscious, intimate, committed relationships in which growth and healing can occur.
- This transition cannot take place through insight alone. Specific skills and processes are necessary and need to be practiced daily to shift us from having an unconscious relationship to a conscious, intentional relationship.
- It takes commitment, courage, consciousness, patience, and love to create a safe, loving, and passionate relationship.
For additional information about Imago Relationship Therapy and articles, books, etc., about IMAGO Theory and practice:
Visit Imago Relationships International