Imago Relationship Therapy is a theory and practice of relationships based on the work of Harville Hendrix Ph.D. and his wife Helen La Kelly Hunt Ph.D. It integrates several well established psychological theories and observations into a practical approach to help couples deepen and transform their relationships. This approach to relationships is easy to understand and is very effective. In Imago Relationship Therapy the relationship becomes the centre of focus, rather than either individual. The Imago therapist is not a judge or jury to determine who is right and who is wrong, but coaches you into growing and cherishing your relationship.
Harville Hendrix explains that as there are no perfect parents, all of us have some emotional wounding from our childhood. Thus when we developed emotionally as a child, the process was incomplete. We have also all experienced varying forms of love and nurturing during our childhood. As a result, we grow into adulthood with an emotional blue-print or a “love map” that is familiar to us – Hendrix calls this “the Imago”. Thus when we first meet our partner, we are attracted to their attributes that fit with our own Imago or love map.
Once all the hormones that occur initially when you fall in love stabilize, conflicts start appearing. A power struggle arises as each person tries to meet their own emotional needs within the relationship, and the individuals start to react negatively to each other.This is when most people come for therapy – Imago Relationship therapy is a safe, structured way of communicating with each other, that enables each person to understand both themselves and each other better. Hendrix suggests that the purpose of marriage is to help each other to complete any unfinished business from childhood. Instead of being reactive, we can become more conscious and responsive, as we learn how we can help each other heal the emotional scars of childhood, and grow into our full potential in a safe, committed relationship.