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Imago logoImago Relationship Therapy

What does "Imago" mean?

Imago is the Latin word for image. In Imago Therapy, imago describes our unique image of love. Our imago develops from birth and becomes the type of love that is most familiar to us. This develops as we take in what love feels like, sounds like from our caregivers and other adults who are significant in our life. Some images of our familiar love can include being fun loving and free spirted, as well as being emotionally unavailable, preoccupied or stressed, ignoring, or interested and encouraging. This is how we learnt, how someone that loves us, will be with us which also includes both the positive and negative aspects of that love.

Our imago is extremely precious to us so as we grow we learn quickly how to act and the way to behave to be accepted in order to get the love and approval we need to feel safe. This important to our survival which develops a pattern as we adapt and defend our position with the challenges that come from both inside and outside of our family system.

Some examples would be the experience of a smothering parent; this might leave someone not wanting to get too close to their partner, as they react with feelings of fear that they may not be able to be a separate person. For another person they might have the experience of a critical parent, they might learn to survive by becoming a perfectionist or being rigid and controlling about how things need to done and how others need to be to be OK.

Imago Background

The principles and practices of Imago Relationship Therapy, was first described by Harville Hendrix, PhD, in his best-seller "Getting the Love You Want," which has touched the lives of over 100,000 people in approximately 30 countries.

I have been privileged that my initial training in Imago Relationship Therapy (IRT) began with Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. who along with his wife Helen LaKelly Hunt, Ph.D., were the primary developers of IRT in the 1980's. They held no hesitation on their May 2011, visit to New Zealand to hold an evening seminar to support the people in Christchurch amongst the trauma and tragedy of the earthquakes at that time.

Imago Relationships International is a non-profit organization and supports a community of highly trained and certified Imago Relationship Therapists who bring together their knowledge, experience and wisdom that enables me work with couples and individuals in the following ways:

Couples Work

Couples can attend relationship therapy or attend a "Getting the Love You Want Couples Workshop" that is available in Christchurch. Couples can find by attending both therapy and a workshop complementary and extremely beneficial. An Imago therapist is not the expert on your relationship. Their role is to facilitate you finding out how to discover the deeper issues and feelings that create issues in your relationship. The therapist facilitates a dialogue between partners, a process that can be practised at home. They encourage clear, conscious, communication for you and your partner to take away new information, greater understanding of each other, tools, and processes to continue the work of creating the marriage or relationship you want.

Individual Work

For personal growth: "Keeping the Love You Find" is personal work offered to indiviuals that is especially useful if you find that you end up in the same unsatisfying place in your relationships. This work is important if you have had a marriage or partnership end and want to work on yourself.  You can discover unhelpful behavioural patterns and beliefs that block you from relating well. You may choose to do this work if you are not currently in a committed partnership but would like to be, or if you are in a new relationship and notice some familiar unhealthy patterns emerging.

Family Work

Imago Relationship Therapy has greatly influenced my work with families.  IRT importantly adds many benefits to families, not only by the way of flow on effects from parents relating well, but also to improve family communication and connections with and significant family members. Family work often includes the combination of adolescent, teenage or adult children who are experiencing difficulty relating with their parents, step-parents or siblings. Marriages, divorces, remarrying, new relationships, as well as other factors such as; alcohol, substance abuse and the increase the complexity of maintaining connections with primary family members.

Family therapy which provides a safe environment; supports and maximises the right conditions for family members to be heard, understood, and to establish new ways of relating. Parents learn how to demonstrate, and to be healthy relationship role models for their children. Well-connected parents mean kids thriving in families.

For additional information on Imago Relationship Therapy visit

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