Imago, meaning ‘image’ in Latin, is a type of marriage and relationship counseling. Imago relationship therapy represents the special image of love that is developed during birth. As human beings, each of us defines love as how it interpreted from our parents, friends, or other significant people in our lives. Other images of love may include free spirits, encouragement, and fun-loving memories.
Imago’s Perspective on Human Adaptation
As a person grows up, he/she quickly becomes aware on how they need to act in order to feel safe and get approval or love. This behavior is called developing survival patterns. For example, a child who had a smothering parent may have a survival pattern of not getting emotionally close to others. If the person had a parent who was critical, they may strive to become a perfectionist or become very rigid in the way things need to be done.
Falling In Love According to Imago
People often wonder why they fall in love. According to the theory for Imago therapy, it is seeking to recreate the carefree conditions of your childhood as an adult. In other words, you are trying to replicate or complete your childhood.
According to Imago counseling, there are three factors that can make you fall in love:
- You want to recreate your childhood by involving yourself with someone who is fairly similar to your childhood image. This is called the Imago Match.
- You fall for someone who has the same similarities as you, but a different survival patterns. Some people acknowledge their feelings, while others deny it. Imago couples therapy often involves dealing with sadness and anger, stoicism and anxiety, or intuition and logic.
- You are attracted to a partner who exhibits an aspect of your lost self. The aspects of your personality are not conscious. If a partner carries a lost part of yourself, you are automatically drawn to that person.
How Does Love Go Wrong?
Imago therapists believe that relationship problems may be caused after the romantic phase has passed. During the romantic phase, the feelings of euphoria far surpass any differences you may have. After the phase is over, a power struggle starts. Instead of the euphoria, you begin to resent the fact that you fell in love. This shift from romance to power struggle is where you need to make the decision to commit or walk away.
How To Have A Loving Relationship with Imago Dialogues
Instead of having a power struggle, partners can use Imago dialogue to work out their problems compassionately. Imago therapy will teach you how this dialogue is done, and bring you to the third stage of a loving relationship. The third stage is real love, when you truly want what is best for the other person.
For every negative interaction with your partner, you will need five positive reactions to help restore balance. Anyone can apply for Imago therapy, as long as both partners are committed to the relationship. Each person will need to take personal responsibility for his or her own happiness and growth to improve the partnership.