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. Developed in 1980 in Dallas, Texas by Dr. Harville Hendrix, founder of the Samaritan Center of Relationship Therapy, Imago means " 'the inner unconscious image of the opposite sex' or what you're looking for in a partner but aren't aware of." Hendrix memorialized imago therapy in his 1988 book, Getting the Love You Want, A Guide for Couples. In November 2011, the BBC began filming a Wonderland documentary covering an Imago Relationship Therapy workshop on the cruise ship MS Golden Iris.
The focus for Imago Therapy is to heal wounds from childhood that affect people in adulthood with their significant other. 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.
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- George Christian (July 19, 1988). "Author focuses on bridging love gap". Houston Chronicle. p. 1. Retrieved October 9, 2012.
- Gail Robertson (July 8, 1993). "Healing a Troubled Marriage: One step at a time: Imago Relationship Therapy bringing couples back from brink". Windsor Star (Canada). p. D1.
- Abigail Klein Leichman (March 23, 2012). "Last Night's TV: Two Jews on a Cruise: A Wonderland Film, BBC2". Jerusalem Post (Israel). p. 24. Retrieved October 9, 2012.
- Hendrix, Harville; Hunt, Helen (30 December 2003). Getting the Love You Want Workbook: The New Couples' Study Guide. New York: Atria Books. pp. 1–135. ISBN 0-7-434-8367-7.
- Official website , gettingtheloveyouwant.com