chapter  8
27 Pages

Imago Relationship Therapy: Creating a Conscious Marriage or Relationship

D Introduction Imago Relationship Therapy is a theory and therapy of committed partnership with a focus on marriage. Its major thesis is that the purpose of the unconscious, in marital choices based on romantic attraction, is to finish childhood. Partner selection, therefore, is the result of an unconscious match between a mental image of one's parents or caretakers created in childhood (called the imago) and certain character traits of the attractive partner. The imago match is the determining factor in selection because it is driven by the unconscious purpose of recovering wholeness by restoring the connection, both personal and transpersonal, that was ruptured in childhood by need frustration. While the match between the composite of positive and negative caretaker traits and similar traits in the partner constitutes the basis of attraction, the intensity of the attraction is a result of the match in negative traits-those connected to need frustration. Romantic love, therefore, at one level, is the result of anticipated need satisfaction. At a deeper level it is a transient experience of original wholeness and connection to the whole. Since unmet needs from childhood are brought into adult intimate partnerships for resolution, and since the selected partner shares the same limitations as one's par-

ents, inevitably those frustrations are reactivated and reexperienced. Romantic feelings diminish as partners attempt to coerce the other into becoming the ideal parent. The power struggle that inevitably ensues often leads to chronic conflict, a parallel marriage, or a divorce.