IMAGO RELATIONSHIP THERAPY
Tired of having the same arguments over & over?
Learn communication skills to turn conflict into connection.
Address conflict at its roots rather just trying to solve it in a surface way.
Learn how to better meet each other's needs.
Replace shaming & blaming with hope & understanding.
What is Imago Relationship Therapy?
Imago relationship therapy is a form of counseling designed to help couples and families work out their misunderstandings, reduce conflict, and discover ways to bond and find common ground. Imago therapy is based on the relationship work of psychotherapist Harville Hendrix and his partner Helen LaKelly. Imago was developed in the 1980s and based on the theory that feelings you experienced in your childhood relationships are bound to come up in your adult relationships. The goal of Imago Therapy is to help couples stop blaming, criticizing, and negatively reacting to their partners and, instead, become more understanding and empathetic.
Much of the work in Imago therapy involves learning how early childhood relationship experiences affect how you view your current relationships. Most of us had both positive and negative experiences in our childhoods and past relationships. Often, we had to learn how to adapt and endure whatever experiences were happening in our past. Part of the Imago Relationship Therapy process is to help you become aware of how these past experiences affected you and how they get triggered when certain things happen in your current relationships. This new understanding is key to get to the root of recurring fights with your loved ones and learning how to bring resolution to them.
How Imago Relationship Therapy can help improve the way you relate to each other
Experiencing conflict and feeling disconnected in your relationship is painful. Imago relationship therapy can benefit couples who are trying to improve their relationship and become closer to their partners, families who want to repair connection and improve mutual understanding, and individuals in need of communication skills to better their relationships in general.
Is Imago Relationship Therapy right for your relationship?
Imago Therapy is recommended for couples at any stage in their relationship. From those that have been dating a few months to those married for decades. A study published in the January 2017 issue of Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy, found that marital satisfaction increased significantly for couples who completed 12 sessions of Imago relationship therapy, and remained higher for some time afterward.
Couples who are on the brink of divorce or are suffering from the pain of infidelity can transform and heal their relationship using this approach. Imago Relationship Therapy is very helpful for couples and families who have trouble communicating when in conflict and are looking for tangible tools for how to communicate respectfully to resolve conflict. It is also great for those seeking to have a conscious, loving relationship with a high level of healthy communication.
How is an Imago therapy session different from other couples counseling?
Imago therapy is different from most couples counseling. Instead of each of you talking with the therapist or the therapist being a referee, the therapist will be teaching and coaching you as a couple in specific tools to help you transform your relationship.
In our sessions, you will be talking to each other in a safe and more structured way that is not blaming or shaming, and that helps each of you understand what an issue is like for the other. I will teach you how to use the information you have learned about yourself and your partner to take very specific steps to change your behavior in a way that is not only healing for your partner and meeting their needs, but also helps you grow parts of yourself and express your own aliveness more fully.
As a certified Imago Relationship Therapist with over 20 years of experience working with relationships, my job will be to create a safe space where the two of you can talk about the things that are difficult to talk about. I will help the two of you learn how to contain reactivity and really listen (something most of us are not very good at). I will teach the two of you how to deepen your conversations in order to understand more fully what needs and desires are trying to be heard and met.
When appropriate, I will spend time teaching you more about the dynamics I see happening in your relationship and options for how to make positive changes. You will begin to use the Imago dialogue structure at home to effectively resolve issues without having to attend a therapy session every time you need to discuss an issue. You will also learn how to use the Imago dialogue to nurture your relationship with sharing things you appreciate about each other.
Can Imago Relationship Therapy help me if I am not married or in a relationship at this time?
Imago Relationship Therapy can help you recognize your unhealthy relationship patterns such as dating unavailable or controlling partners. Learn how your experiences in past relationships (from childhood and beyond) influence how you show up in relationship and why you are drawn to certain kinds of people.
This couples therapy can also help you understand and become more aware of parts of yourself you may have repressed in childhood due to the way you were socialized by your family and society. Learning about how your childhood experiences have shaped your view of yourself and your unconscious beliefs of what you deserve and don’t deserve can show you where growth and healing is needed. The healthier you are on the inside, the healthier a mate you will attract.
How can Imago Relationship Therapy benefit families?
Parents and teens often view situations differently. Power struggles over rules, academics, social media…can become daily experiences. This can cause growing tension in the home and strain your relationships. Having support and guidance through challenges in the family can be beneficial for teens and parents alike. It is important for teens to have a safe place and person to voice their concerns and feelings with, while learning effective ways to approach situations and express themselves.
For parents, the goal of our work together will be to gain an understanding of the changes your teen may be going through and what needs are trying to be met by their behavior. We will also explore what your teen may be triggering in you that is beneficial for your own growth. When you have these insights, the path to improving communication and preserving your relationships will become clearer.
Using the Imago Intentional dialogue, both parents and teens have the opportunity to be heard and understood, while strengthening your relationship and growing mutual respect.
How long are Imago sessions?
Most Imago sessions run 90 minutes. This will allow you enough time to focus on an issue or conflict in-depth using the dialogue process to reach a place of mutual understanding and replace hurt and frustration with empathy. This will foster a natural desire for both of you to show up differently in the future out of love for each other.
If you would like to create meaningful change in your relationship and want to know more about Imago Relationship Therapy, I invite you to contact me for a free 20-minute phone consultation.
Click the video below to view a brief introduction to Imago Relationship Therapy
Find out more about Imago Relationship Therapy: Imagorelationshipswork.com
We have been working with Darleen off and on for 4 years-she’s seen us through dating, engagement, marriage, newlyweds and first time parents. By going to Darleen on a consistent basis, I have a better understanding of the challenges I face, my husband faces, and the challenges we face together. I look at our arguments now as great chances to grow, each as individuals, and as a couple...
Oprah listed her first show with Harville Hendrix and this way of working with couples as #2 on her list of “Aha moments”. She had this to say...
”When I talked with couples counselor, Harville Hendrix, PhD, in 1988, he introduced me to the Imago theory–which is that you’re unconsciously drawn to your particular partner because that person can help you heal old, unresolved wounds. From that day on, I saw my own relationship in a whole new light.”
She also included an article, “The Marriage Repair Kit” using the Imago model in her 2005 book, Live Your Best Life.