What is IMAGO Therapy?

Imago Relationship Therapy is a form of marriage therapy founded by Harville Hendrix, PhD, author of Getting The Love You Want: A Guide For CouplesKeeping The Love You Find: A Personal Guide, and Giving The Love That Heals: A Guide For Parents.

Imago Relationship Therapy claims to integrate and extend western psychological systems, behavioral sciences, and spiritual disciplines into a theory of primary love relationships. The basic premise is that:

  • We were born whole and complete.
  • We became wounded during the early nurturing and socialization stages of development by our primary caretakers (usually inadvertently).
  • We have a composite image of all the positive and negative traits of our primary caretakers deep in our unconscious mind. This is called the Imago. It is like a blueprint of the one we need to marry someday.
  • We marry someone who is an Imago match, that is, someone who matches up with the composite image of our primary caretakers. This is important because we marry for the purpose of healing and finishing the unfinished business of childhood. Since our parents are the ones who wounded us, it is only they who can heal us. Not them literally, but a primary love partner who matches their traits.
  • Romantic Love is the door to marriage and is nature’s selection process that connects us with the right partner for our eventual healing and growth.
  • We move into the Power Struggle as soon as we make a commitment to this person. The Power Struggle is necessary, for embedded in a couple’s frustrations lies the information for healing and growth.
  • The first two stages of marriage, “Romantic Love” and the “Power Struggle,” are engaged in at an unconscious level. Our unconscious mind chooses our partner for the purpose of healing childhood wounds.
  • With conscious effort and dialogue, our Imago love partner is most compatible with us and able to help us to resolve unfinished issues of self-wholeness.

 

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