Imago therapy is a specific style of relationship therapy designed to help conflicts within relationships become opportunities for healing and growth. The premise is that attraction to our partners stems from unresolved and unmet needs in our early development. The powerful unconscious mind has stored up memories and feelings which in turn influence our reactions and feelings to potential mates. These strong emotions include feelings of love and attraction, even a feeling that we can’t “live without” this person. Without knowing it, we long to have our unmet emotional needs from childhood satisfied and the unconscious mind identifies just the person to do it.
In the beginning stages of a relationship each individual tends to put their best foot forward and we tend to imagine them as being everything we need and want in a partner. Once a commitment is made the relationship begins to change. We worked to attract a mate in order to get our needs met but when we expect to collect we get something different. The best self now becomes the needy self so to speak. The things that attracted us to them, now become the things that frustrate us. The feeling of, “I can’t live without them” can turn into “I can’t live with them”
With Imago therapy we involve the conscious brain to bring to light each other’s unmet needs and unresolved issues and then learn how to be what we need to be for each other. We learn to understand our own and each other’s childhood wounds and we learn how to support each other through the healing process. Relationship therapy is a beautiful opportunity for personal growth. It can reveal to us aspects of ourselves we were unaware of. It offers a mechanism for healing and happiness through strategies including creating a relationship vision, developing communication skills, learning caring behaviors, renewing fun in the relationship, and holding each other through the sometimes painful process of reconciling with childhood wounds. We redesign the relationship to heal our wounds by building an atmosphere of safety and trust, renewing our commitment to each other, and deliberately affirming each other. We make a decision to focus on each other’s needs instead of our own and in that process, we slowly reclaim the parts of our own lost selves.
If you are interested in developing a positive relationship with your spouse and with yourself, Imago therapy can help. To learn more, you can refer to the book Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt. Also, please call today and schedule an appointment to begin your couples counseling. It’s never too soon or too late to enjoy the healing and insight you can gain.
– Jantina Thompson, LCSW