What Is Imago Relationship Therapy?
Imago Relationship Therapy (IRT) was developed by Harville Hendrix, PhD. and Helen LaKelly Hunt, PhD. Imago states that we are born in relationship, we are wounded in relationship, we are healed in relationship. Imago Relationship Therapy provides the necessary tools for relationship transformation so that you get the love you want, and keep the love you find.
When we fall in love, everything often feels simple and clear. In the romance stage of relationship, we are delighted to have found a wonderful person who fills our life with joy and hope. We believe that we have met the person who will meet our deepest needs. However, romantic love, the first stage of a relationship, is inevitably followed byt the power struggle, the second stage, where we believe that we have fallen in love with the person who can least meet our deepest needs. When everything goes wrong, it can seem very confusing, and that's often when we might feel like blaming our partner for the failure of the relationship. Imago turns this conflict on its head.
The conflict isn't the problem, it's the answer. But how the couple manages conflict is the key to everlasting love.
Conflict is inevitable in any committed relationship. Usually it rears its ugly head as seemingly petty disputes over the practical things in shared lives. But while the argument is visible on the surface, the deeper emotional content is neither explored nor understood. Instead partners simply blame or criticize each other. They often decide their partner is just not the right person for them, and turn to others for love.
Imago helps couples learn more about their partner's emotional history, and what the underlying reasons are for things which show up in their disagreements. They begin to understand why their partner is really upset, and why what they are saying really makes sense in the context of their past. This might sound like a difficult conversation to have, but Imago makes it much easier by teaching couples a specific way to dialogue about emotional issues like this. The Imago dialogue shifts the conversation away from blame, shame and criticism, into mutual support and understanding. Imago helps couples to transform their conflict into a vehicle of healing and growth where they can resolve their issues and enjoy a conscious, intentional relationship.