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Criticism kills love – Harville Hendrix


From the first day of our life until our last breath,

the very foundation of our existence is affection and human warmth.

– Tweet from the Dalai Lama

Imago Relationship Therapy

I am a certified Imago Relationship therapist and find this approach to be unique and extraordinarily effective.

Imago Relationship Therapy was developed by Harville Hendrix, Ph.D who wrote the two NY Times best sellers “Getting The Love You Want: A Guide for Couples” and "Keeping The Love You Find: A Guide for Singles”. It integrates and extends the insights of the major psychological schools of thought into a comprehensive and systemic theory of primary love relationships.

It is commonly recognized that once the honeymoon stage of rose-colored glasses ends our partner appears to us more realistically, warts and all. There is more conflict, disappointment and hurt. A premise of Imago Therapy is that this stage, with its power struggles, paradoxically has the benefit of providing an opportunity for growth. This is because long standing issues, often based in old childhood wounds, arise and can be re-examined with the possibility of new resolution and healing in the present love relationship.

Therapy can be helpful at this point by providing tools that can increase compassion for one’s partner and also improve communication both in terms of listening and responding.

An important skill learned in Imago Therapy is a three-part dialogue that breaks patterns of defensive relating and promotes empathy for each other. The Imago process helps couples identify past emotional injuries that negatively impact their relationship. It also helps couples to become aware of their own and their partner’s underlying needs and to behave in a way that will better meet those needs. A result is the changing of hurtful behavior and the ability to see each other in a new light.

One important aspect in which Imago Therapy differs from traditional marital therapy is that it does not focus on negotiating strategies. The “I’ll do this if you do that” approach tends to fall short in that the “scorecard” is never equal. Rather, Imago Therapy seeks to move people to change out of compassion for their partners through better understanding of their point of view, and insight into the past experiences that contribute to the person they are.

Another major difference is that Imago therapists believe that individuals heal from the wounding of early development by creating emotional safety in their adult love relationship. This focus on the relationship as a process for healing sets Imago apart from other forms of marriage therapy. Couples become advocates for each other’s growth.