Imago Relationship Therapy has been developed in the 1980s by Dr. Harville Hendrix and Dr. Helen LaKelly Hunt. It is a form of couples therapy and relational counseling that focuses on transforming any couple conflict into an opportunity for growth and nurture.
Imago is known for its dialogue techniques which teach powerful, effective communication skills and how to build trust and connect deeper with one another by communicating your feelings in place of safety.
The Imago Relationship Therapy origins
Harville Hendrix and Helen Kelly Hunt based their research on their own experience of working with relationships, also by synthesising the work of other renowned relationship experts of the day, and even through the experience of their own marriage.
In 1988 they published their first book “Getting the Love You Want – A Guide for Couples” which has been on the New York Times best-seller list ever since. Oprah Winfrey included her interview with Harville Hendrix on her list of “Unforgettable! Oprah’s Top 20 Shows” of all time.
The word “Imago” is Latin from “image”. “So, are we talking about an image-based relationship therapy that focuses on dialogue?” – you might ask. You could say that, but there’s more than that.
The Imago-Image refers to the unconscious image of love that we create during our childhood experiences. Hendrix found out that the people we interact with as kids influence the way we fall in love later in life. Anything from judgment to harsh criticism and neglect in a relationship can stem from the adult’s childhood memories and encounters. Some unfortunate memories might arise again in our adult relationships. As part of a couple, you need to let the other know about your feelings, and childhood experiences, so you both can get to the root of the problem and solve your conflicts.
From conflict to nurture
Anger, sadness, judgment is all negative feelings that couples often find themselves struggling with. Sometimes it happens all of a sudden. Newlyweds plummet from the soft peak of love to the muddle of conflict and hopelessness. Long-lived relationships that have gone on despite the conflicts might begin to dim out into a sea of indifference, powered only by habit.
The “we don’t have anything in common anymore” begins to settle in and people are wondering: “How did we end up here?”. The seemingly never-ending conflicts in your relationships do not arise because of a sudden lack of love for each other. No, this is one of the biggest mistakes that Imago Relationship Therapy deals with. More often than not, the “it’s not working anymore” feeling comes from a misunderstanding of what love in a relationship is all about and what your partner is feeling and going through.
How can Imago Relationship Therapy Help
Imago Therapy was developed to help with communication issues, recurring conflicts, the feeling of disconnection, the lack of intimacy, or trust issues that might occur in a relationship.
Imago Therapy is not just for distressed couples. It can help any couple learn more about the dynamics of their relationship and how to gain a better understanding of themselves and their partners.
The Imago Dialogue
This is one of the core principles and methods of Imago Therapy. The Imago dialogue is a structured technique that allows partners to gain a better understanding and empathy in their relationship.
It helps remove any negative or hurtful communication and enables both partners to openly share their feelings and opinions of each other.
The dialogue lets both partners gain their own space. A trained imago therapist will ensure that none of the two partners has more power over the other and that both take turns listening and speaking to each other.
In dialogue, both partners take turns at being the receiver and the sender.
How can I find an Imago Therapist?
An Imago Therapist should be trained and have an extensive understanding of the imago relationship therapy theory and practices. The Imago Relationship Therapy community is large and we are also part of it.
We can discuss more on our Facebook or, if you want, you can book a meeting right away here, and start your first Imago Relationship Therapy introductory session.