What Is Imago Relationship Therapy?
Imago Relationship Therapy is an integrated process for working with couples, parents, and children, business colleagues, and others who seek to enhance the relationships they share. Imago relationship therapy is based on the ground-breaking work of Harville Hendrix, PhD, & Helen LaKelly Hunt, PhD, authors of Getting the Love You Want, Keeping the Love You Find, and Giving the Love That Heals. Imago is a wonderfully 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 are:
- We were born whole and complete.
- We became wounded during the early nurturing and socialization stages of development.
- We have a composite image of all the positive and negative traits of our primary caretakers deep in our unconscious mind. This is called the Imago. It is like the unconscious blueprint of the one we need to be our partner in a committed, intimate relationship.
- We look for someone who is an Imago match, that is, someone who matches up with the composite image of our primary caretakers. This is important because we marry or commit for the purpose of healing and finishing the unfinished business of childhood. Our parents are the ones who inadvertently wounded us, but a primary love partner who matches their traits is their stand-in.
- Romantic love is the door to a committed relationship and/or marriage 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 healing and growth.
- The first two stages of a committed relationship, romantic love and the power struggle, are engaged in at an unconscious level. Our unconscious mind chose our partner for the purpose of healing childhood wounds.
- Inevitably, our love partner is eventually incompatible with us and 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 usually wants happiness and good feelings, with the agenda of the unconscious mind, which wants healing and growth. Thus, the goal of therapy is to assist clients to develop conscious, intimate, committed relationships.
- This transition cannot take place through insight alone. Specific skills and processes are necessary that need to be practiced regularly to shift us from having an unconscious relationship to a conscious relationship.
- It takes commitment, courage, consciousness, patience, and love to create a safe, loving, and passionate relationship.