Imago is a Latin word for image. We all form an image of what love is for us, through our early experiences with our parents and other caretakers directly involved in our development. This image includes both positive traits of our caretakers that made us feel loved and cared for (e.g., dependable, sensitive, stable, etc.) and negative traits that left us feeling vulnerable (e.g., critical, depressed, cautious, etc.). We carry this image with us in our unconscious and this influences who we are attracted to as we select our mate. Imago Relationship Therapy proposes that there is an unconscious purpose guiding us in our selection of a mate and the conduct of our relationships. The difficulties we experience arise from our lack of awareness about what we are doing in our relationships, not from our choice in partners.
Initially, when we are attracted to our beloved we only see the positive traits of that individual that make us feel loved. It is only after the amnesia of infatuation or “romantic love” has faded that you begin to see some of the negative characteristics of our partner that irritate us and cause difficulties in the relationship. We often say if we had only known that our partner had those negative traits that stirs negative feelings in us, we would have run in the opposite direction. Having differences in your relationship is both the “good news” and the “bad news”. The “good news” is that you have the necessary emotional environment for healing and growth to occur. The “bad news” is that our partner will hurt us in ways that we were hurt as a child, it is not intentional, it is how they learned to protect themselves from pain or vulnerability in their childhood. The problem is not that you and your partner have differences but how you deal with those differences.
This unique approach to therapy, developed by Dr. Harville Hendrix, is focused on personal growth and healing through committed relationships and integrates the major psychological theories of relationships and behavioral science balanced with spirituality. This approach to becoming connected as a couple helps us to develop important skills to resolve the pain and conflict in relationships so that we remain safe and passionate. Imago relationship therapy can help us learn how to love each other in ways that make us feel cared for and loved.
Healthy couples create healthy children and families. The best basis for a healthy family is a loving relationship.