Imago — A New Way to Love
Developed by Dr. Harville Hendrix ,Ph.D., Imago Relationship Therapy is an approach to relationship growth and healing that helps couples desiring joyful, life-affirming and passionate relationships to create the relationship of their dreams.
Imago Work is About
- Building a groundwork of safety and trust;
- Learning to listen deeply to our partner’s reality, even when it differs from our own;
- Gaining a profound understanding of the impact that our childhoods and previous relationships have had upon the way in which we handle current relationships, and;
- Living lives of passion, romance and fun.
Imago Relationship Therapy helps partners to understand current conflicts within the context of past pain, and provides insight into how the behaviors that worked so well for us when we were children can actually sabotage our adult relationships. The Imago process involves learning new skills and changing hurtful behaviors. In the course of this process partners consciously stretch to meet one another’s needs, creating safety in the relationship and growing themselves. Whether you are currently single, or in a committed relationship, Imago Relationship Therapy has tremendous potential to transform pain into growth and to guide you on a spiritual path that leads to joy and aliveness. Throughout the Imago journey you will be learning to love and learning to heal. The journey is not always easy. Growing the self rarely is, but the rewards are tremendous. The very struggle and conflict that cause such pain in committed relationships can become the raw material to create a relationship of safety, aliveness, compassion and joy.
What is the best way to structure our couples’ therapy?
Traditionally therapists meet with clients once a week. It is interesting that research shows that this is actually the most effective approach. Meeting once a week allows enough time between sessions to practice tools learned and integrate new ideas, while meeting often enough for positive change to gain momentum. In my experience the best strategy involves a month or two of weekly couples’ therapy, followed by a Getting the Love You Want Workshop. After the workshop couples will usually continue meeting with their therapist on an every other week basis for several months, before cutting back to an “as needed” basis. Sometimes couples choose to supplement their couples’ therapy with individual therapy to address issues such as depression, anxiety, addictions and abuse.
At times, however, the reality of our lives demands flexibility. One option is to meet every other week for an hour and a half. Another approach that can be used if you live a long distance from your therapist is to schedule sessions of two to three hours length at a time. If you are feeling stuck, or time or distance make regular sessions difficult you may wish to consider registering for a private couples’ intensive of one or two days in which you can focus intently on the issues and concerns that are holding you back from living the relationship of your dreams. Take the time to think about what works best for you and to discuss your concerns with your therapist so that you can get the most out of your work together.
“Marriage is not only the expression of love between two people, it is also a profound evocation of one of life’s greatest mysteries, the weaving together of many different strands of the soul.” — Thomas Moore