ABOUT IMAGO AFRICA
Imago Africa consists of a community of Imago Therapists and Professional Facilitators who are passionate about relationships. Our life’s work is dedicated to transforming and enriching relational health. We want to help couples, families, and other groups to create safe, conscious and loving relationships.
We know that how we feel about ourselves and how others feel when they are with us shapes the quality of our relationships. And the quality of our relationships, shapes everything that we do. Our sense of belonging in a relationship is shaped by an inner dialogue that often sounds something along the lines of; Do you see me? Do you hear me? Do I matter? Do you accept me, understand me, as I am, no matter what?
When we can answer YES, to these questions, our relationships become alive, because we start feeling alive in them. We consider ourselves experts at creating relational spaces that are alive, that are safe, that are connected and meaningful. We will guide you through your difficult conversations, creating safety and support the courage to ask these and other questions aloud and to hear the answers that emerge.
Imago Therapy helps to understand the root causes of our relationship conflict and frustrations, our role, our reactive behaviour and what we bring to the space. Imago gives us the relationship communication tools and skills we need to work through our relationship conflict(s) irrespective of the nature of the relationship. As a result we experience wonderful new depths in our day to day living.
- Gain greater compassion.
- Gain new communication skills to break destructive, repetitive cycles.
- Channel their energy from arguing to rather create passion and stability in their relationship/s.
- Discover how the unconscious forces that attract you to your partner are also the source of your conflict and can be overcome
The purpose is to help each other heal the childhood ‘wounds’ that have resulted from imperfect parenting. Often people incorrectly assume that it is only in homes of abuse and profound neglect that “wounding occurs”. However as Freud said, “children are creatures that are never satiated, (therefore) there is no parent in the world who can react perfectly to the changing needs of the children”.
The premise of Imago is that we are called into relationship in order to heal these relational wounds. Because we are born in relationship, and we are wounded in relationship (by imperfect parents), healing needs to occur within a relationship.
Imago proposes that we each carry an internalised blueprint of love which is made up of a combination of the positive and negative characteristics of significant childhood figures, our experiences of them and their attitudes toward us. This image is called the ‘Imago”. Our selection of a partner is thus influenced by what feels familiar or previously known. In our quest for wholeness, the unconscious seeks a partner that matches this blueprint (best and worst of mom, dad and others). However this person initially is incapable of giving us the love we need as they carry the limitations of our parents.
Harville Hendrix thus contends that not only are the frustrations we experience as adults actually tied to unfulfilled needs or hurts in our childhood, but that choosing our partner is a consequence of our unconscious desire to heal or repair those wounds, so that now as adults we can get the love we need.
When relationships get tough it can be hard to listen and impossible to feel heard. Imago shows you how to reconnect by using a new way of talking together, called the Imago Intentional dialogue. It’s a way of listening and speaking which helps you learn more about each other. We help you discover what lies underneath relationship conflict, and how to resolve it together.
- To learn the Imago Dialogue through direct personal experience
- To experience what it feels like to be heard and understood
- To grow in your capacity for deep listening
- To have the benefit of a facilitator to guide the learning
- To develop perspective on your own life and relationship
- To make sense of your pain, conflict and to discover the hidden needs in your reactive behaviour
- To understand your partner’s pain and discover the underlying unmet needs
- To heal and grow within a safe and structured space
- To get unstuck from old repetitive patterns of behaviour that no longer works
- To develop new skills and behaviours that will gift your relationship with real love
Imago….. a new way to love
- Are you currently in a troubled relationship?
- Are you wondering what happened to the relationship that you started with?
- Wouldn’t you like to rediscover the relationship you once had and make it last forever?
- Maybe you’re in a new relationship or you’re part of a couple preparing for marriage and your desire is to create a true relationship that will stand the test of time.
- Perhaps you’re single and simply tired of getting into relationships that never seem to meet your expectations.
People believe that when they’re in a loving relationship, it is supposed to last forever. Two people feel like they’ve met the person of their dreams and a magical transformation takes place within each of them. During the “in love” phase, people feel alive, whole, connected to the world and the people in it. Very often though, the magical “in love” feeling disappears and people are left disillusioned. Their dreams of a perfect relationship are shattered, and feelings of anger and betrayal often overwhelm those who are faced with reality.
People often try to coerce their partners into giving them what they need in the relationship, through tactics like criticism, withdrawing from emotional attachment, shaming each other, intimidating partners, and using tears and crying as a method of manipulation – even if it’s unconscious. Some couples are locked in these painful power struggles for years, until the relationship is eventually broken or when one member of the partnership finally seeks help, desperate to regain the magic that the relationship once held.
If these scenarios describe the relationship you are currently in, and you would like to restore some of the passion an intimacy you once had, or you are an individual looking to find the love of your life, Imago can show you a new way to love.
What’s going on here?
Romantic love is the way our unconscious mind seeks to restore the feeling of joyful alertness we felt as a child. In pursuit of this goal, we unknowingly seek relationships with people who emotionally resemble our primary caretakers in both positive and negative ways – we call this finding our Imago match. The term Imago is actually a Latin term that means “the idealised mental image of someone”. Even though our caretakers have both positive and negative qualities, it’s the negative qualities that interfere in our relationships. Our expectations of the image of the individual we have fallen in love with create confusion and disillusionment. Fortunately, embedded in this disillusionment lies everything the relationship needs for healing and growth.
What does Imago do?
Imago Relationship Therapy provides all the tools necessary for transforming relationships, including some important, immediate relief from bad relationships.
When we remain unaware of the hidden agenda of romantic love, we continue to make the same mistakes. We need to understand that conflict is undirected, unfulfilled growth. By resolving your problem through Imago Dialogue, the emotional bond initially created by romantic love can evolve into the powerful bond that is real love. Imago Therapy creates a sacred space for healing and growth that can lead you to the relationship of your dreams.
We can help you discover the relationship of your dreams through a process of healing, dialogue and re-connection.
There are benefits to both, and the best is a combination of the two. The workshops are life-changing and a wonderful introduction to Imago. It is like taking a cable car to the top of a mountain, rather than doing the climb. The weekend workshops offer an intensive experience where all the skills and experience of Imago happens over two days. Couples gain knowledge of the Imago theory and enjoy the benefits of a group experience where privacy is respected and sharing is limited to relevant and appropriate content. They practice the Imago dialogue and other skills together and also shave time for personal reflection. The workshop is fun and encourages couples to have a different relational experience with each other. Most couples leave feeling inspired – love is rekindled and hope reignited.
Many couples will attend a session with an Imago therapist before the workshop, and find that attending sessions after the workshop is also helpful. Everyone has a unique relationship and it is helpful after a workshop to continue the journey with a therapist who can focus on your specific relational needs.
Sessions are also helpful for couples who want to do more advanced and intensive work with a therapist one on one. These sessions help couples work through difficult problems, as well as provide regular maintenance for couples who require ongoing assistance.
Maintain a conscious relationship with others
- Address conflict at its roots rather than just trying to solve it on a surface level
- Create emotional safety for all
- Learn how to better meet your own and others’ needs
- Make small changes that make the biggest difference in terms of happiness and fulfillment as individuals, groups or couples.
- Learn how to become less reactive
- Understand what your trigger points are
- Realize how to make all your relationship fulfilling, alive, passionate, fun and transforming
- Be less reactive and destructive