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What is Imago anyway, and what does it have to do with attachment?

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  • What is Imago anyway, and what does it have to do with attachment?

    Greetings! Some of you may be wondering about that funny little word, "Imago" (pronounced 'eh MAH go'). One answer is that Imago is a theory that includes Attachment Parenting, AND also Attachment Partnering.

    Imago is the Latin word for "image." Harville Hendrix used this term in his formulation of a relationship therapy to emphasize the importance of our early attachments on our later relationships. We are born into relationship, and we all know the impact of those early images that are formed from that intial bond between caregiver and infant. I'll say more about these images later.

    We know that the human infant needs attunement, that special kind of attention where one gazes into the infant's eyes and mirrors back the facial expressions, vocalizations and expressed energy. Through this mirroring, the caregiver is saying, " I see you, I want to know what you need so that I can meet that need, and I accept that what you are conveying to me is your true feeling."

    That secure attachment is vital in infancy, but do we ever outgrow the need for that virtual mirror? Throughout the life span we all need to know that another human being "gets" us. That our feelings are accepted as genuine. Someone who reflects back to us what we express and empathizes with us. This is the foundation of Imago Relationship Therapy.

    In the early stages of a relationship, we tend to provide all of that wonderful loving attention. And then it fades.
    Last edited by Patricia Martin; 10-05-2009, 08:56 AM.
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