At The Marriage Restoration Project, our mission is to help couples thrive in their relationships and rediscover the power of what their union can offer them on an emotional and spiritual level. We believe a healthy and vibrant marriage is greater than the sum of its parts, and it’s our position that every partnership deserves the chance to achieve a level of deep fulfillment and connection.
To be truthful, these are lofty goals! But in our years of working with couples from all walks of life, we’ve been privileged to witness countless success stories, which we attribute largely to the framework used to guide our counseling sessions. That framework is Imago Relationship Therapy (IRT). You might also hear it referred to as Imago therapy or simply Imago.
Many couples we meet have never heard of Imago therapy before coming to work with one of our clinicians. With this in mind, we’d like to take the opportunity to reintroduce you to Imago therapy and help you decide if this type of therapy could be a tool you can use to transform your marriage.
What is Imago Relationship Therapy?
Imago Relationship Therapy was founded in 1980 by Dr. Harville Hendrix and Dr. Helen LaKelly Hunt. A type of couples therapy, Imago focuses on helping couples navigate conflict in a way that breeds healing, growth, and reconnection.
The structure of Imago therapy emphasizes the importance of ensuring husband and wife feel safe to express and navigate their issues, regardless of what the particular issues are present. Check out our list of free imago therapy exercises, techniques, and pdf downloads here.
What Makes Imago Therapy Different From Other Styles of Therapy?
What makes Imago therapy unique compared to other styles of couples therapy is the particular lens it uses to help couples understand the source of their conflict. Therapists who are certified in Imago therapy help couples recognize and address each partner’s “childhood wounds,” which spring from negative feelings or traumatic events faced in youth, such as suppression, neglect, or abandonment—things we all have experienced to some degree.
As children, we were without the tools and language necessary to understand and integrate these experiences. This permitted our “wounds” to transform into core emotional, perceptual, and attachment issues that tend to follow us into adulthood—and, importantly, into our adult relationships. What often results is that two partners repeatedly come into conflict that arises from these unresolved core issues, leading to frustration, stagnation, and eventually the loss of vibrancy and connection.
What couples need in these situations is healing—deep, restorative healing on both the level of the individual and of the couple. This is necessary to move a marriage toward a more “Conscious Relationship” that creates space for all the elements two people need to hold each other in sacred union: vulnerability, empathy, intimacy, and connection.
Decades of anecdotal evidence as well as scientific studies reveal how effectively Imago therapy can help couples overcome obstacles, express their needs, become more present, foster appreciation, practice healthy communication, and ultimately maintain a long-lasting and fulfilling relationship.
Is Imago Therapy Right for You and Your Partner?
Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and a Certified Imago Relationship Therapist. Along with his wife Rivka and other colleagues, Rabbi Slatkin has guided hundreds of couples through the transformative experience of Imago therapy through online retreats, at-home courses, and in private intensive 2 day retreats for couples in crisis after infidelity. It’s truly our joy and honor to assist couples along on this journey, and if you and your partner are ready to move your marriage forward, we invite you to contact us today.