Imago Relationship Therapy

Conflict is a Fundamental Objection to Difference.
Developed by Drs. Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt in 1980, Imago Relationship Therapy is a form of relationship and couples therapy that transforms conflict between couples into opportunities for healing and growth.

We find that there is frequently a connection between frustrations in adult relationships and early childhood experiences. A frequently criticized child will be more sensitive to their adult partner’s critical words. Negative childhood feelings will often arise in a marriage or committed relationship.

Imago Relationship Therapy is a relational therapy designed to help couples  transform conflict into opportunities for healing and growth. The term “imago” is Latin for “image,” and within the context of IRT, it refers to an “unconscious image of familiar love.”

Using Imago Relationship Therapy, couples learn to listen so they can understand each other with empathy, allowing them to heal themselves and their relationships so they can move toward a more “Conscious Relationship.”

The concept of Imago as an image of familiar love suggests that your early relationships teach you something about love and about yourself. Through these early experiences, you develop a sense of an identity related to love, such as what love is and what you need to do in order to experience love from others and feel safe.

Imago Relationship Therapists are trained to support couples and individuals dealing with issues such as conflict, ineffective communication, affairs, blended families, empty nest syndrome, addictions, sexuality, negative relationship patterns and much more. In addition, therapists at the Imago Center also work with individuals, families, and children on a wide variety of issues including anxiety, depression, addictions, and trauma.

In the words of Harville Hendrix:

  • Conflict is an opportunity for healing and growth.
  • Conflict is an objection to difference.
  • Conflict is co-created.
  • Frustration is a wish in disguise.
  • Talking is the most dangerous thing we do together.
  • It is not what we say, but how we say it that matters.
  • All things in nature have an impulse toward healing and wholeness.
  • Your partner’s deepest needs are your growth opportunities.
  • Your frustrations with your partner are the blueprint for your growth.
  • Differentiation is accepting otherness, without judgment.
  • Being present for each other, heals the past.
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