At the heart of most relationship problems is difficulty in communicating. Most couples talk in a monologue and do not engage in dialogue. Criticism, contempt, anger, and defensiveness often get in the way of relating in healthy ways.
Therapists at the Center for Relationship and Sexual Health use Imago Relationship Therapy, along with other marital therapy tools, to assist couples in improving the ways in which they engage with each other.
Singles also benefit from therapy by learning how to pick healthy partners. Singles can identify the mistakes they are making in the dating process to become better at picking the right partner for them.
The marriage of two people conventionally deemed incompatible, is actually grounds for a great marriage.
Did you say incompatibility is grounds for a great marriage? Yes. The prevailing attitude is that if your marriage isn’t working, you’re with the wrong partner. Imago Relationship Therapy explains how conflict in a marriage is actually growth trying to happen. Leading to a “Relationship Revolution”, Imago helps couples of all orientations implement relationship truths into real relationship life.
Imago Relationship Therapy points out the reality of the power stuggle, negativity and how couples hurtfully verbalize to each other. There are exercises designed to help couples see communicate. From the history of the dominator/submissive model of marriage, to a chronology of their own relationship journey, Imago Relationship Therapy offers winning advice to take advantage of incompatibility.
What Is Imago Relationship Therapy?
Imago Relationship Therapy was created by Harville Hendrix who is well known for his book Getting the Love You Want, where he introduced Imago relationship therapy. Imago maintains that conflict between two partners is normal and is supposed to happen. We pick partners who resemble familiar love and who carry the positive and negative traits of our primary caretakers. The conflicts which eventually appear in the relationship are the unresolved issues from childhood, in disguise. Each partner’s healing and individual growth depends on the couple staying together and resolving these differences. In other words, we return to the scene of the crime in childhood, only this time we solve the crime in adulthood.
The premise is that conflict between two partners is normal and is supposed to happen. We pick partners who resemble familiar love and carry the positive and negative traits of our primary caretakers. Conflicts which eventually appear in relationships are the unresolved issues from childhood, in disguise. Each partner’s healing and individual growth depends on the couple staying together and resolving these differences. In other words, we return to the scene of the crime in childhood, only this time we solve the crime in adulthood.
Conflict is Growth Trying to Happen
This is the positive spin of Imago Relationship Therapy. Differences allow for personal and relational growth between your and your partner.
Differences between partners on various issues can be threatening to all couples, gay and straight alike, but particularly to the gay or lesbian couple. Our culture treats gays and lesbians badly for being “different” than the norm. This attitude imprints upon us that differences are not okay which makes for more sensitivity and suspiciousness at having to conform for anyone again. So, when these differences and conflicts arise for the gay and lesbian couple, it can feel like confirmation that society’s attitude is correct and that our relationships are doomed to failure.
Unfortunately, many people leave their relationships prematurely based on this misinformation.
Here again, Imago normalizes the tension and difficulty that all couples go through and terms it the “power struggle”–a necessary stage for growth of the individual and the relationship. This creates yet another anchor for lesbians and gays to stay in the relationship.
The only time the concept of the “good of the power struggle” does not apply is when domestic violence or active addictions are involved. That is not an effective source of conflict that can be resolved with couple’s therapy, but demands more serious therapeutic intervention.
All in all, Imago relationship therapy provides the hope and reinforcement couples need and deserve.