What is Imago?
All of us interact with someone. Our Imago is most often seen in intimate relationships but affects all of our interactions. Imago therapy helps us become better partners, spouses, parents, coworkers, neighbors, etc. For more information about Imago Therapy, see www.imagorelationships.org.
What is Imago?
Imago Relationship Therapy is a model of therapy developed by Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. It recognizes that the inherent nature of human beings is what Jung described as a “push towards wholeness”. That wholeness contains qualities of a self actualized person: spontaneity and creativity, acceptance of self and others, and ability to tolerate and even welcome uncertainty in life, a need to have both solitude and deep intense relationships, a sense of humor, caring and compassion for others, inner direction, and an open and fresh attitude toward life.
Throughout our development as human beings, that wholeness is fragmented through socialization and developmental experiences with others. The ultimate goal of the work that couples and individuals do in Imago Relationship Therapy is to assist in repairing the wounded or injured aspects of that original state and reclaim the whole self that can more passionately and vibrantly express itself in life and in a relationship.
Imago Therapy is an effective way of helping couples and individuals learn skill sets to live more consciously, be heard and understood, while further developing abilities to give and receive safety and love. They learn tools for deeper connection and ability to live in full aliveness.
These tools also create more fulfillment in all aspects of life, work, play, family.
You deserve to experience love, intimacy, connection, romance and have a fulfilling, loving relationship with your partner. The problem is very few of us were ever taught the necessary skills to do that. You may not know it now, but problems in relationships are normal, and often even predictable. The good news is there are answers.
Imago Therapy is a therapy rooted in the Latin word “Image”. We all carry a composite image of the significant character traits and behaviors of childhood caretakers. This is the same image we are drawn to in our mates. It is called ‘familiar’ love. While that information has a lot to do with whom we get in a relationship with, and how we act when we are with them, it is largely unconscious. After all, who would want to choose a partner that could provoke or project us into the same helpless, scary feelings we at times had in childhood. Most parents try hard, and most mean well. But no parent is perfect and no parent can be there for us all the time so we adapt. In adulthood those adaptations become defenses. But because we have an inherent need for growth, connection, and self-completion, most of us will keep doing what we always did and getting what we always got, then feel slighted or complain or withdraw when things don’t go our way. This experience of “familiar” love with our partners is meant to force us to grow and heal in ways we were either unable to, or perceived we were unable to, in childhood to make us learn differently, but who is there to teach us? We often grow up acting like big children in relationships with our mates. We accuse them of being over-involved, controlling, abandoning, and/or neglectful. As children, we are tender, precious, and insatiable. No parent is perfect. Some are actually hurtful. So there we have it. Our unconscious Imago is born. And we grow up vowing to live happily ever after only finding ourselves feeling misunderstood, lonely, arguing, isolating and/or confused. Fortunately, this is not the way we were meant to live. Imago therapy and/or Getting the Love You Want – a weekend workshop– teaches us differently giving us relief, joy, and hope.
So, Imago therapy helps us learn powerful ways to share, communicate, build safety, trust, passion, fun, and joy. We learn how to heal the pain of the past, stop recreating feelings of upset, discontent, insecurity, etc. Imago therapy focuses on building trust, teaching us how to have compassion, communicate and interact without fear or shame, but with empathy and love. We build what we all wanted when we partnered in the first place, a safe haven, a team; our own team. We gain places to rejoice, feel our feelings, be accepted, and grow. Imago therapy teaches people to be more honest about their needs and understand themselves as well as their partners. This allows growth and empathy prompting partners to become interdependent, not dependent and also not independent. Instead, Imago therapy helps people become balanced and connected, accepting, loving, open, willing to risk, play and deal with tough issues. Imago therapy helps people learn how to resolve conflict. Most of all, Imago therapy gives couples the tool bag to heal the pain of the past and look forward to the future. People feel better about themselves, their relationships and as a byproduct, thankfully— become more available, attuned and intentional parents as well.
Trudy has over 20 years experience working with individuals, couples, and families. In addition to clinical work, Trudy provides community crisis intervention services, consultation, workshops and seminars to churches, businesses, schools, and community groups/organizations, on various topics related to relationship issues, personal growth, trauma, parenting and recovery.