What Is Imago Relationship Therapy?

What Is Imago Therapy - Cheryl Woolstone Counselling Blog

“We wish we could bring you home!”

Before beginning my training as an IMAGO Relationship Therapist I would hear this from my couples.

Couples would leave the sessions with insight about their relationship dynamic, ideas about what to do differently but feeling ill equipped to change their behaviour in a tense moment.

I practiced traditional couples therapy for well over a decade before beginning my training in Imago Relationship Therapy. The differences in outcome for couples has been amazing! Couples are given new skills, new ways of listening and relating.

What does the term IMAGO mean? What is IMAGO Relationship Therapy? Here is the Coles Notes version…

Harville Hendrix, creator of IMAGO Relationship Therapy, has developed a theory of committed partnership and a communication tool, The Couples Dialogue, which helps couples get to the core of the pain and conflict in their relationship.

The Theory Behind IMAGO

Your Imago,  a Latin term for Image, is essentially a composite picture of the people who most influenced you at an early age. You unconsciously choose a partner, an IMAGO Match, who has positive and negative traits, similar to your parents. You chose this person on an unconscious level because you are attempting to heal unresolved pain from childhood.

What is IMAGO Relationship Therapy?

IMAGO Relationship Therapy is a form of couples counselling that suggests that your relationship is therapy – you grow and become healed not by a counsellor but by the relationship itself. IMAGO Couples Dialogue is the tool that begins the process of transforming the relationship.

Unresolved childhood pain such as abandonment, rejection, smothering, shame and helplessness often resurface in your adult relationships and is at the core of what is causing the pain and conflict in your relationship.

Childhood trauma becomes adult drama.

The person you chose, your Imago Match is often the best person to help you heal because he or she is similar to your childhood caretakers in emotionally significant ways.

Why In The World Would You Do That?

It is perplexing to imagine that we may seek out people that will be stimulate old hurt. On a conscious level, we scan for positive characteristics when choosing a partner. But no matter what our conscious intentions, the  negative traits have a deep primal attraction. Most people are attracted to mates who have a combination of the negative and positive traits of both caretakers.

One of the reasons is that the part of your brain that has directed your search for a mate was not your grown up logical brain but your time-locked, reptilian brain.

And what your old brain was trying to do was to recreate the conditions of your upbringing in order to correct them.

The power struggle that you are locked into with your partner is growth and healing trying to happen!

Beyond The Coles Notes

For more information, visit my IMAGO Relationship Therapy page or visit the international website www.GettingTheLoveYouWant.com. You can also check out the book, Getting The Love You Want, by Harville Hendrix, Ph.D.

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This entry was posted on Monday, November 1st, 2010 at 8:00 AM and is filed under IMAGO and Relationships. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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