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Can Imago Relationship Therapy Help You?

Can Imago Relationship Therapy Help You?

How to reconnect with your partner in a no-negativity environment.

We all want to keep the romance alive and like our significant others but what happens when that isn’t enough? It’s especially difficult when we see those picture perfect couples doing everything right compared to our relationships. Sure, there’s couples therapy, but what type is right for you and your partner? Aviva Chansky Guttmann, LMSW, CIRT, and advanced imago clinician, weighs in on another option for resolving marital conflicts

Imago Relationship Therapy offers parents and caregivers a way to regain and maintain a vital sense of connection in their relationships. Imago (meaning “image” in Latin) is a consciousness enhancing and mindful approach to healing relationship discord. An imago therapist uses a set of structured exercises and dialogues as tools for partners to regain closeness, develop active listening skills, and enhance empathic awareness of themselves and their partner.

The “image” of Imago Therapy relates to our subjective and subconscious image of what love looks like. In other words, how we experienced love during our earliest stages of development in childhood provided a subjective imprint of love. We tend to seek and attract partners with qualities reminiscent of these caregivers and enter conflict and pain in adult relationships when painful aspects of our Imago imprint trigger us.

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Imago Therapy is considered a mindful and holistic approach because it begins with a premise (and promise) of “zero negativity.” The therapist helps partners understand that having intentional communication with one’s companion where any form of negativity is omitted results in a deeper and more fulfilling experience and helps the relationship return to its original level of wholeness. For this purpose, negativity is anything that your partner considers adverse such as sarcasm, eye rolling, impatience, and the like. Imago does not pathologize relationship pain and conflict, but instead views it as a sign of disconnection. Partners simply need guidance and assistance in finding their original wholeness. All of Imago’s tools and philosophies strive to help couples reach a state of joyful aliveness, and the organized structure of dialogues and other exercises afford a needed sense of safety.

Drs. Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt created Imago Relationship Therapy. The upcoming 30th Anniversary edition of the foundational text, Getting The Love You Want, will be available in bookstores in January, 2019.