Imago Relationship therapy is both a philosophy and a structured communication approach that is unlike any other in its ability to heal the places of upset, rupture, pain that we understand now that almost every couple gets into.
The philosophy of Imago was developed by Dr. Harville Hendrix, author of Getting the Love You Want. The theory he developed is that it is not an accident who we get attracted to – that in the romantic phase we feel like we found the person we can feel safe with, loved by; that one person who is going to meet all our needs – only to find that at some point, our partner starts doing things that disappoint us, that touch some of our most sensitive issues. And in fact, some of the very things that attracted us to our partner are the things that make us most nuts later on!
What would be the purpose of being attracted to someone who at some point is going to trigger you or upset you? Well, if you buy the idea that our journey as we go through life is to keep growing and learning, then we must ask what we can learn about can we learn about ourselves when we are triggered by our partner?
We can see how we respond and our own version of reactivity: Our partner is holding up a mirror to show us where we are in our ability to be a conscious, non-reactive, communicator.
Some of us, when we’re upset, follow our partner from room to room; we can’t let it rest till it’s handled. Others disconnect and get quiet. Some of us get big and loud and think if we make enough noise, or use harsh enough words, our partner will get our upset. And others still, go off into another room and ice our partner. Whichever way behave is very painful to our partner – and vice versa.
We now understand that the struggle that emerges is meant to happen and is actually the deeper purpose of the committed relationship. And the beauty of Imago is that it is a structured therapy approach that is designed to quickly bring softening, containment, and non-harming communication to these spots we now understand happen to almost every couple.
So, as we say in Imago, if you are in a power struggle at least some of the time, you are probably with the just RIGHT person – and these very places of upset are actually what will create the bridge back to that place of safe, joyful connections with our partner.