Imago Therapy

Imago therapy is a relational therapy intervention developed in 1980 by Dr. Harville Hendrix and Dr. Helen LaKelly Hunt, that works to reclaim conflicts and frame them as opportunities for couples to grow with one another. Imago is the Latin word for image. In the context of couples counseling, imago therapy is interested in the “unconscious familiar image of love.”

Similarly to EFT, imago therapy recognizes the importance of early childhood in addition to the nature and quality of our relationships with caregivers when it comes to our understanding of love. Imago therapy posits that individuals develop a sense of worth based on these early childhood relationships and that this conceptualization of self worth affects how individuals believe they deserve to be treated by other people, including people they love. Adults who were harshly criticized by their parents when they were children, may for example, be especially sensitive to criticism they receive from their partner (What is Imago?, n.d.). Whereas children who only remember being praised by their caregivers after performing a task well, may internalize this and go on to believe that they must work hard to earn love and affection. Imago therapy suggests that many conflicts within adult romantic relationships have a connection to early child - caregiver experiences. Using this technique, couples learn to compassionately explore their partner’s childhood experiences and better contextualize how those events and memories continue to affect them today. with your relationship?

Are you constantly fighting with your partner and finding it hard to really hear each other? Imago therapy might be for you. Imago therapy is a type of relationship therapy that helps couples work out their misunderstandings, reduce conflict, and rediscover ways to bond, communicate, and find common ground. Read our tips about Imago therapy and see what resources are available at the Center for Growth in Philadelphia.