Good Question since the word Imago sounds like it could be anything from a trendy new Buckhead restaurant to the latest dance craze! Imago Relationship Therapy, or IRT, was developed by Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. and his wife Helen LaKelly Hunt, Ph.D. and is outlined in their book, Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples. Imago Relationship Therapy is a highly effective method for couples counseling.
In brief, Imago is a Latin word that means image. This image guides us in love, helping fuel the romantic attraction. It's why we are attracted to certain people. It's what drives statements such as, "I knew before he ever said a word that he was the one I was going to marry." We call this image our Imago. It's our own unconscious guide to our perfect match in a partner. Our Imago has been forming since brith and is a combination of our "comfort zone"—what is familiar from our past experiences—and what we are not. What is missing in one is often found in the other. Together we experience a sense of balance, a sense of wholeness, a sense of oneness, and sense of belonging.
Although we are not consciously aware of this image, we know almost instantly when we meet that person who matches with our image. There is an unbelievable connection and attraction. There's an uncanny familiarity as if we've known him or her all our lives. We can finish each other's sentences. We discover bountiful amounts of energy. Food tastes better, the sky is bluer, and all the love songs are written just for us. We have met the person of our dreams and a magical transformation takes place within us. We have fallen in love and it's supposed to be forever. We feel alive, whole, connected to the world and the people in it. We call this an Imago Match .
Then, before we know it, that magical feeling disappears. Disillusioned, our dreams shattered, we begin to feel angry and betrayed. We try to coerce our partner into giving us what we want. We criticize, we withdraw, we shame, we intimidate, we cry. We may go looking for another person who can make us feel alive again. Some of us go on locked in this painful struggle for years until we either break up or seek help, desperate to regain the magic we once had. We call this the Power Struggle.
You don't have to live this way. Imago Relationship Therapy can show you a way out of the Power Struggle. IRT provides all the tools necessary for transforming relationships, including some important, immediate relief. But you have to become conscious and intentional. Very little can happen unless you are willing to develop these qualities.
Conflict is actually growth trying to happen . You may be asking yourself, "What? How can conflict in any way be a good thing?" This is part of what has to be learned. By trying to understand and cooperating with these conflicts, a much different outcome can be achieved. By resolving our problems through a process called the Imago Dialogue , the emotional bond initially created by romantic love can evolve into the powerful bond that is real love.
So Why Imago Relationship Therapy?
- It's Effective ...The Imago method teaches a series of simple skills
- It's Brief ...Couples can learn the basics in as few as 12 sessions
- It's Logical ...Helps couples understand the unconscious forces of attraction