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What Is Imago Relationship Therapy

Imago Therapy is a type of couples counselling for those in relationships or who are married that seek to resolve issues holding them back from deep connection. Using Imago Therapy with a relationship counsellor can help couples get to the root cause of the needs that aren’t being met in a relationship. Imago Therapy has been proven time and time again to be effective for couples who are experiencing psychological distress and discontent in their relationship. They may be experiencing levels of resent, contempt, dissatisfaction, anger, upset and hurt. Imago helps couples explore their thoughts, feelings and behaviours and believes that the healing takes place in the space between and couples help each other to heal. Its core belief is that healing takes place between two people in the relationship, not by speaking to the therapist specifically as you may see in other types of traditional relationship therapy. Imago is radically different and also relentlessly positive as a process for couples who are experiencing relationship dissatisfaction that don’t know where to start to reconnect conversationally. The process of Imago Therapy creates a safe space for couples to be in conversation with one another, also known as a dialogue in Imago Therapy terms and it’s the therapists work to listen, observe and guide the couples into a safe conversation to work through what’s going on for them individually or as a couple. The work an Imago Therapist is delivered in a well-defined structure to hold the couple in ‘dialogue’ - holding couples in this safe space is the structure of Imago Couples Counselling. There are three important parts of Imago therapy Mirroring - repeating back what you have heard your partner say to fully understand their point. No blame, shame or criticism is involved. The therapist will make sure of that and keep both parties ‘safe’. Empathy - the receiver shares what he/she thinks the other might be feeling. Validation - the receiver tries to make sense of what they hear through the eyes of the other. This modality of Couples Relationship Therapy helps couples connect conversationally. Imago Theory suggests that in adulthood we, in an unconscious manner, seek people romantically who are similar to the image that we have created and will allow us to develop and improve the qualities within us that we could express in childhood for whatever reason and which we keep inhibited. Imago is based on the idea that we develop a sense os self-worth based on how others treat us throughout the duration of our life, starting in early childhood. According to Imago Theory we pick the partner that helps us heal our wounds or complete our childhood. It makes sense that our partners might trigger or activate parts of us that are wounded if this theory is correct. According to Imago there are three stages of a relationship - the romantic phase, the power struggle and conscious love. The power struggle phase lasts the longest whereby two individuals are trying to get their needs met after all of the hormones of falling in lust and love have worn off. In this power struggle phase couples can be in conflict and may feel emotionally unsafe whereby there is a lot of low-level conflict taking place on a conscious or unconscious level. It makes sense that in this phase couples might turn to a relationship therapist in order to work through conflict, arguments and break downs in communication. By doing the work towards reconnection couples may be able to connect on a deeper level, entering the conscious love phase. If you are a couple experiencing distress and disconnection and would like to enquire to work with me, I can facilitate Imago as an educator for couples seeking to reconnect. I’d love to hear from you, enquire to work with me. Much Love, Sarah Louise x


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