Once an encounter occurs, a relationship can form and from this assembly point proverbial magic happens. It all starts with a single point of contact and this contact enables a relationship…The basic assumption of Imago (Latin word for Image pronounced Im-ah-go) is that committed partnerships have a higher calling/mission than simply the pursuit of happiness. It’s therefore clear that there is more to relationships than mere happiness and the pursuit thereof.
Most people are not fulfilled with just happiness, so how does one reach this place beyond happiness? How does one reach peace? 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.
The heart of Imago is to create safe, loving, conscious relationships and to discover the roots of conflict
A blueprint of love
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.
It’s a very safe assumption to make when one comes to the realisation that all people will and can benefit from Imago’s teaching. The heart of Imago is to create safe, loving, conscious relationships and to discover the roots of conflict. Imago is one of the few teachings in the world that recognises the essence of conflict and even welcomes it. In conflict a person is faced with their true sense of self and their real persona, sometimes something hidden to such a depth that it’s unrecognisable to even the person that the conflict manifest in. The source of the conflict is often a wounded child and healing can only happen through the identified conflict
A place beyond happiness
A place beyond happiness will never be found in its entirety; the goal however should maybe not be the pursuit of happiness but the epitome of peace. For most people happiness is a similar experience but peace differs. For some happiness can be found in religion, for others in careers and so on…
Peace can only be found if one is in complete harmony with one self and those most important in your life
Peace can only be found if one is in complete harmony with one self and those most important in your life. Imago doesn’t claim to offer peace on a beautiful golden platter but it does offer the possibility of a starting line. The teaching however; has a unique power to change the finish line as well as the person standing at the end of it. As you find the truth of your blue print, you succumb to change. Imago identifies this change and encourages partners to grow together and towards each other – the therapy happens in your relationship, with your rules, on your terms and in your everyday living.
Hedy and Yumi Schleifer will be in Johannesburg from August 7 – 22, offering various trainings for couples, therapists and professionals. Hedy is a licenced Psychologist who first brought Imago relationship Therapy to South Africa. She has trained many therapists in this modality, and continues to offer workshops and training through-out the world constantly evolving her theory and practice to stay abreast of research and cutting edge developments in psycho-therapy. She brings her latest development adapting Imago therapy for use in organisations and training contexts, as well as new additions to the couples workshops and training.
For more information, contact Carol Dixon here or 082-463-1467.