Imago relationship therapy is a form of marriage therapy that takes a relationship approach rather than an individual approach to problem solving in a marriage. It was codeveloped by Dr. Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt, and documented in Hendrix's 1988 book, Getting the Love You Want, A Guide for Couples. Hendrix and Hunt selected the word "imago," the Latin word for "image," as a name for the "unconscious image of the opposite sex that you had been forming since birth." In February 2012, the BBC aired a Wonderland documentary that included an imago relationship therapy workshop on the cruise ship MS Golden Iris.
Imago therapy focuses on collaboratively healing childhood wounds that the couple share. Our primitive old brain has a compelling nonnegotiable drive to restore the feeling of aliveness and wholeness with which we came into this world. It is believed by imago therapists that a person's brain constructs an image of characteristics from their primary caretakers that are their best and worst traits. The brain's unconscious desire to repair the damage done in childhood as a result of needs not met, is to find a partner who can give us what our caretakers failed to provide. The traits of a person's parents will be found in their future partner. The brain unconsciously creates this image of a partner to seek healing, and to leave the wounds of childhood in order to grow. The wounds a person has with a parent will unintentionally be repeated by their partner, which unconsciously for the person triggers old emotions. Both people in the relationship will learn how to heal one another, and appreciate them for the person they are; however, it will take time for couples to be able to engage in a specific type of dialogue for the therapy. The conscious part of the brain may not be able to see it, but the unconscious believes that this person who can heal your wounds can let love come into the person's life again.
^Gail Robertson (July 8, 1993). "Healing a Troubled Marriage: One step at a time: Imago Relationship Therapy bringing couples back from brink". Lifestyles. Windsor Star (Canada). p. D1.|access-date= requires |url= (help)