Many people around the world are experiencing marriage and relationship problems. Fortunately, there are means of managing to find the solution for these kinds of problems and many couples choose to opt for therapy.
One of the possible solutions when it comes to marriage therapy is Imago Relationship Therapy, being an innovative and creative way of helping people overcome their differences and relationship problems, living a happy life in a healthy bond.
The Imago therapy was developed by Dr. Harville Hedrix, the author of many relationship guide books such as “Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples”, “Keeping the Love you Find: A Personal Guide” etc.
The Imago therapy tries to mix and improve some of the elements of the common Western psychology, with spiritualism, forming a unique theory of primary love relationships.
Therefore, some of the main postulates that guide this therapy are the following: First of all, the therapy is based on a belief that we are all born whole and complete. However, according to the Imago therapy, our upbringing and many other factors related to our social and psychological development have deprived us of the congenial perfection and completeness. All these positive and negative things that our caretakers have planted inside our minds in order to guide us throughout our lives fall under the term Imago. Inside of this, so-called blueprint left inside our mind by our caretakers, we need to go through life striving towards marriage as a milestone.
During this search for the person we are going to marry, we keep looking for an individual who is the closest Imago match to ourselves, resembling all the rules which our parents have taught us. We do this because we desire to be complete again and finding an individual who has the missing pieces of us is our greatest desire. So, basically, the wounded individual seeks the traits of the people who left him/her wounded in a different embodiment, that of a partner, in order to restore the once lost perfection.
According to the premises of the Imago therapy, Nature is aware of this search going on in the lives of the human beings and it takes care of the matchmaking through the door of romantic love, in hope to help us get treatment and emotional healing.
Once the two people have been connected and bonded, a power struggle commences, due to the fact that there are numerous frustrations involved in the healing and growth processes of our childhood wounds.
Subsequently, we need to concentrate on improving our dialogues and efforts in order to overcome the frustrations and allow each other to heal one another and become whole.
Practice of the Imago Therapy
The main role of this form of relationship therapy is to align and calibrate our conscious mind with the unconscious one. Basically, the former desires to be happy and feel good, while the latter focuses on healing from the above mentioned wounds and promoting self-growth. Through this stimulation, the Imago therapy tries to help people form well-functioning, ideal relationships.
The main tool that the Imago therapy uses is conversation or “the couple's dialogue”, where the partners talk constructively and productively, with our without the assistance of the therapist. The conversation or the dialogue needs to involve repeating of the each statement, along with summarization, validation and empathy. Through these parts of the therapy, the partners get to know end feel the emotions of each other better, making the whole process more productive.
This process of helping each other is the stimulation and assistance which was mentioned above, leading to development, healing and growth where the two match their Imago without even being aware of the process, getting closer and closer to being complete anew.
Simply, this relationship therapy tries to help both partners fill in the gaps within themselves, each one already being equipped with the missing pieces belonging to the other.
According to the creator of this therapy, the Imago relationship therapy was born from collaborating with many other behavioral and psychological therapies, along with the depth psychology, behavioral sciences, spiritual traditions of the Western world and cognitive therapy. Imago therapy bases its effectiveness on mere observation and intuition, not basing its effectiveness on fixed rules or guidelines.
Outcomes and Efficacy of the Imago Relationship Therapy
A survey carried out by Pitner and Bailey in 1998 encompassed about 110 couples with different relationship problems. Prior to going through the Imago Relationship Therapy, the couples were asked to do certain tests and surveys regarding their relationship status. The same process was carried out after the Imago workshop. Over the course of 6 weeks, the points in the relationship test increased by 10. In some other surveys and studies of this type, the improvement was even greater and the 96% of the participants claimed that the workshop was excellent and enjoyable.
To conclude, the Imago Relationship Therapy may seem a bit eccentric and simplistic, being too strange to work. Yet, many people have managed to overcome their relationship problems and reach happiness and fulfillment through this therapy. So, if you are having issues with your partner, know that Imago relationship therapy may prove to be of great assistance, offering a different view on the problems and an innovative way towards resolving them.