Imago Relationship Therapy: History

About Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt

Imago Relationship Therapy (IRT) was developed by psychologist Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. and his wife Helen Hunt during the early 1980s. Dr. Hendrix wrote the best-selling books, Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples and Keeping the Love You Find: A Guide for Singles. Since the 80s Dr. Hendrix has established the Institute for Imago Relationship Therapy (IIRT) in Winter Park, Florida, which now has a faculty of 18 trainers around the world who contribute to the theory and practice of IRT and to the worldwide training of imago therapists. Dr. Harville Hendrix, and Dr. Helen LaKelly Hunt are co-founders, with other Imago therapists, of Imago Relationships International, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to transform the world one relationship at a time and create a new model for marriage. More than 1900 therapists practice Imago Therapy in more than 20 countries.

Excerpt from the Introduction of
Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples
by Harville Hendrix

In today’s society, you are encouraged to view marriage as a box. First you choose a mate. Then you climb into a box. Once you’ve had a chance to settle in, you take your first close look at your box mate. If you like what you see, you stay put. If you don’t, you climb out of the box and scout around for another mate. In other words, marriage is viewed as an unchanging state, and whether or not it works depends upon your ability to attract a good partner. The common solution to an unhappy marriage…is to divorce and start all over again with a new and hopefully, better mate.

The problem with this solution is that there is a lot of pain involved in switching boxes.

I propose a more hopeful and I believe, more accurate view of love relationships. Marriage is not a static state between two unchanging people. Marriage is a psychological and spiritual journey that begins in the ecstasy of attraction, meanders through a rocky stretch of self-discovery, and culminates in the creation of an intimate, joyful, lifelong union. Whether or not you realize the full potential of this vision depends not on your ability to attract the perfect mate, but on your willingness to acquire knowledge about hidden parts of yourself.


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