Imago Relationship Therapy
Imago Relationship Therapy was developed by Harville Hendrix Ph D, who is the author of the best selling book entitled “Getting the Love you Want”. Dr Hendrix founded the Imago Relationship Therapy Institute 16 years ago in order to disseminate his successful program to professionals. The Institute now has an international membership of over 1000 therapists.
Imago is for you if:
When couples arrive at the consulting rooms of Imago therapists, they are often disappointed, angry, shocked and sad. They are in despair because they cannot understand how they have plummeted from the heights of love and glory into a swamp of hopelessness and conflict. Others have been married for many years and, though they have been slogging along - in calm and storm - their days of wine and roses are a dim memory.
Even if life at home is relatively peaceful, couples state that they have nothing in common anymore. The result is often that couples lead a disappointed or resentful co-existence, each with their own interests. The product then becomes a marriage of convenience or an arrangement they endure, “for the sake of the children”.
Shattered dreams, whatever form they take, are painful, but there is hope because this process is part of the healthy development of every relationship. The romantic phase naturally ends and is followed by conflict and a power struggle. The key to healing lies in this awareness.
What we have to understand is that conflict is supposed to happen. Conflict has to be understood as a given, a sign that the psyche is trying to survive; trying to restore what went wrong, to get its needs met and become whole. It is only without this knowledge that conflict is destructive.
Society has institutionalised permission for divorce. It is not always necessary to leave an unhappy marriage to grow and to heal. Divorce often gets rid of the partner, but we keep the problem and carry it into the next relationship.
What you have experienced during the romantic phase of your relationship is an indication of the potential of what your relationship can be like. What is really happening when we fall in - and out - of love? What is really going on when couples fight?
To gain insight into the hidden agenda of a relationship, we have to look at the complex process of human growth and development. We all begin life in a state of relaxed and joyful bliss, with a feeling of connectedness. To remain attached, our caretakers have to be attuned to our wants and needs, always ready and able to provide warmth and safety. Then our feelings of aliveness and well-being are sustained and we remain whole.
Even in the best of circumstances, our parents are not able to maintain perfect standards, to be available every minute, to always understand exactly what is needed and to meet every demand. At times they may be tired, frustrated or struggling with problems of their own. We therefore gradually adapt to get our needs met and to survive the emotional wounds we acquire in the process. We withdraw, have temper tantrums or comply by pleasing others all the time. We threaten, manipulate, compromise or criticize. We take these survival strategies into our adult relationships to try and get our needs met.
The key to healing is in understanding our own and our partner's wounding. We often take part in re-wounding our partner because we unknowingly trigger old feelings and behaviour. Powerful healing is possible through connection. Marriage or a committed relationship, properly understood, is the therapy we need to reclaim our original wholeness.
If your relationship has not turned out the way you hoped, the good news is that a lasting, fulfilling love is completely within your reach.
In Imago Relationship Therapy you can learn:
In Imago Relationship Therapy, couples are encouraged to commit to about 10-12 sessions of 50 min each. Imago is also offered in a two-day workshop format, a good choice for couples who find it difficult to attend individual weekly sessions or who want to kick start their relationship journey. See information under Imago Couples Weekend.