What is Imago Therapy or Imago Relationship Therapy (IRT) and what makes it different?
It is a unique approach to therapy that focuses on personal growth and healing through committed relationships.IRT proposes that there is an unconscious purpose guiding us in our selection of a partner and in our way of conducting our relationships. The difficulties we experience in relationships arise from our lack of awareness about what we are doing and about how we can change these patterns.
A central belief is that relationships are the arena in which we are wounded, we grow and we change.
Recurring frustrations in our relationships are considered to relate to unmet needs and once those unmet childhood needs are identified and expressed verbally in a safe way, healing and growth is made possible where partners can move from an unconscious reactive relationship to a conscious intentional one.
So within this approach the therapist’s job is to help you find out how to discover the deeper issues and to walk away with information, tools, and a map to continue the work of creating the marriage or relationship you want.
A fundamental technique of Imago therapy is a structured dialogue, known as the Intentional Dialogue. Your therapist takes you through a process of speaking and listening that creates a genuine sense of safety and an opportunity for understanding, healing and growth. Change becomes a real possibility within the safe relational space that is established.
Who can benefit from IRT?
Your age, sexual orientation, race, and religious beliefs do not matter — all are compatible with Imago therapy.
Although Imago Relationship Therapy evolved as a theory and practice of marriage and couplehood, it can be successfully applied to other contexts, such as parents and children, sibling relationships, friendships, and business relationships. Imago processes can be applied between two people or in group contexts and is remarkably effective with any two or more people who value open communication.
According to Imago theory there are 3 stages in relationships. Romantic love is characterized by attraction, bonding, hope and ecstacy. Then there is the power struggle in which we experience disillusionment, frustration, anger and impasse. The third stage is re-commitment and is a new decision to see the relationship as a healing journey and opportunity to grow. Every couple goes through the power struggle; it is normal and actually conflict is a sign that change is trying to happen.
Imago offers assistance to couples who are struggling with relationship difficulties and also couples who would like guidance in order to improve their relationship and gain more closeness. Often this is referred to as “therapy” or “counseling.” IRT has a philosophy that intimate relationships themselves are therapy and are the place for deepest healing and growth. So therapists become facilitators or coaches and assist you in acquiring understanding and skills to enhance your relationship and gain deeper connection between you.
Couples can consult a therapist and/or they can attend a Couples Workshop.
If you are thinking of separating from your partner, you can also benefit greatly from Imago therapy. The safety of an Imago session provides you with a space in which you can explore your deeper truth and compassionate alternatives. You can separate from your partner, but unless you grow and change you will go on to recreate the same kind of relationship difficulties with someone else.
Imago Therapy also offers assistance to single people who have been frustrated by not being able to sustain a satisfying intimate relationship, or who find they repeat the same old patterns in their relationships.
If you would like to explore this area of your life you can consult a therapist and/or attend a workshop specifically designed for individuals.
Are you having difficulties in your parent-child relationships or would you like to improve your parenting skills?
When working with parents and children Imago Therapy aims to create consciousness in how we parent our children and to enhance the parent-child bond. Dialogue is used to set boundaries and the goal is to raise cooperative and self-confident children.
Parenting workshops are available or contact an Imago therapist.
Having problems in a group or organization?
Imago offers specific interventions and processes that can be used most effectively in enhancing communication within a group context.