Harville Hendrix, Ph.D., has made many contributions to the marriage counseling community. He’s helped couples all around the world improve their relationships. Harville Hendrix is best known for creating Imago therapy, which helps couples improve their relationships by using a few basic communication skills.
Harvillle Hendrix’s Theory of Imago
Harville Hendrix’s theory of Imago states that people choose their partners based on their experiences in childhood with their primary caregivers. He refers to the mental picture that a person develops about their caretaker’s characteristics as “Imago.” The positive and negative traits that form the Imago develop into a template that causes adults to choose a partner, or “Imago match.”
A person’s Imago match can help them work through unresolved issues from childhood. The anger, sadness and pain a person experiences in childhood can become unconsciously carried over into their adult partnership. However, people have an opportunity to work through their pain and heal if they learn how to effectively communicate.
Harville Hendrix’s Imago Therapy
Harville Hendrix’s treatment focuses on helping couples improve their communication while also healing present and past wounds. Couples learn how to mirror back rather than interpret or react to what their partner says. They also learn how to validate one another’s feelings and offer empathy.
Harville Hendrix’s Imago therapy is practiced around the world by many marriage counselors. Therapists attest to the fact that these techniques help relationships grow stronger.
Books by Harville Hendrix
Harville Hendrix is the author of several popular books including, Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples and Keeping the Love You Find: A Personal Guide. Harville Hendrix and his wife, Helen LaKelly Hunt, co-authored Giving the Love that Heals: A Guide for Parents and Receiving Love: Transform Your Relationship by Letting Yourself Be Loved.