What is IMAGO RELATIONSHIP THERAPY? (back)
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. 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 of partners.
Our early experiences of love with childhood caretakers have profoundly affected our patterns of perception and behavior in our current love life. We bring to our love relationships an unconscious agenda - to get love from our partner in a way that we did not receive in our childhood.
The frustration and struggle we experienced are a part of the development of a relationship as we merge our "agendas" and attempt to get our needs met. In the process we often unconsciously rewound each other in ways we were wounded in childhood!
This approach to becoming a couple helps us to develop important skills to resolve the pain and conflict in relationships so that they remain safe and passionate. Imago relationship therapy can help us learn how to really love each other.
For more information on IMAGO RELATIONSHIP THERAPY, please visit our "What is Imago?" page.
What can I expect from the “Getting the LOVE You Want” Workshop for Couples? (back)
The workshop format includes short talks about committed love relationships, demonstrations of communication skills and written exercises. During the two-day workshop, you will learn a lot about yourself, your partner and your relationship. Using a format that encourages understanding, you and your partner will explore your personal needs and experiences and share them in one-on-one work sessions. The workshop will not solve all the issues you face as a couple, however; you can expect to leave with a roadmap of what will be needed for you to develop and foster the relationship you desire.
Are we asked to reveal our private issues and concerns in the workshop? (back)
The workshop is not group therapy although the educational experience in the group setting is therapeutic. Other than sharing your first name and a few words about yourself as a couple, you are not asked to share with anyone but your partner. No pressure is placed on anyone to share or reveal personal concerns. However, we do create a safe atmosphere in which some couples chose to share about their lives, creating some normalcy around the struggles we all share. Demonstrations of communication processes are done with couples who volunteer. Safety and privacy are highly protected and respected.
Do I have to have read the book, “Getting the LOVE You Want” by Harville Hendrix in order to participate in the workshop? (back)
Reading the book beforehand is not required but might be useful to familiarize yourself with the concepts outlined in the book. We cover the concepts and exercises in the book as well as additional research and concepts gained since “Getting the LOVE You Want” was published.
Why should we attend the workshop instead of just reading the book and the exercises on our own? (back)
The workshop itself is a two-day concentrated experience in which couples get the information which they could get from working through the book. However, the material is presented by Linda and Louis, who as a couple have been utilizing the concepts in their own relationship and in their practices as therapists. Their examples and the structure of the workshop assist couples in actually completing the exercises, learning how to share the information and in beginning to make changes in their relationship. Many couples have not been able to work through the book on their own, especially if they are struggling with trust, anger and painful issues in their relationship.
Do we need to be in therapy to attend a workshop? If not will we need couples therapy afterwards? (back)
A number of couples have been in counseling prior to coming to the workshop and are referred by another therapist or by us. Many couples have never been in therapy, read the book and decide to attend the workshop. When a couple is working with one of us in therapy, we recommend they attend a workshop as soon as possible. We generally do not take therapy time to explain all the theory and experience all the exercises contained in the workshop. After the workshop, some couples who are not already in therapy decide to pursue couples therapy for additional support in utilizing the skills they have gained.
Who attends these workshops? Do you have to be married? (back)
Any couple who is in a committed relationship can benefit from this workshop. Participants in the workshop are at various stages in their relationships. Some are preparing for marriage, some have been in their relationship for many years, dealing with estrangement, empty nest or wanting to re-energize their relationship. Some couples are at the brink of divorce. Some are dealing with not having enough time for the relationship while raising a family. What we find that we all struggle with similar issues of disruption of contact with our partner and yearn for the connection or re-connection that allows love and passion to grow in our relationships.
What theoretical orientation is this workshop and therapy process based on? (back)
Most of the workshop is based on the work of Dr. Harville Hendrix, who wrote the internationally renowned book: “Getting the LOVE You Want. This way of looking at intimate committed love relationships is based on the premise that as adults, we seek relationships which are familiar to us from our childhood experiences. This includes both the positive experience of how we felt loved and the negative experiences of how we were hurt or felt vulnerable. We fall in love with someone who has a significant number of the positive and negative characteristics of all of our caretakers. However, during the time of falling in love we mainly experience those positive qualities and later realize they possess some of the negative qualities that might have repelled us. We also incorporate the work of other theorists such as John Gottman, Ph.D. (“What Makes Marriages Work”) and Pat Love, Ed.D. (“The Truth about Love”) as they amplify the work of Harville Hendrix.
Do you counsel couples in addition to presenting weekend workshops? (back)
Yes, both Louis and Linda have a private practice of both couples therapy and individual therapy. Louis’ office is located in the Buckhead area at 1145 Sheridan Road, NE, Atlanta, GA 30324. Linda’s office is located in the City of Decatur at 125 East Trinity Place, Suite 302, Decatur, GA, 30030. Click here for more information abou their practices.
How do I get clarification or answers to more questions? (back)