Is Imago Therapy Christian?

Written By

Erica Barnes

Updated:

Fact Checked

celestial being with light radiating from the center

Note: This post is supported by our readers and contains affiliate links, which will earn us a small commission at no extra cost to you. Therapy Helpers does not accept money for reviews.

Imago therapy is a form of couples counseling that focuses on improving relationships by helping partners understand each other’s perspectives, heal wounds, and cultivate connection.

Developed in the 1980s by psychologists Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt, imago therapy draws on ideas from various philosophies and faiths. But is Imago therapy aligned with Christian beliefs and values?

Theory Behind Imago Therapy

The central concept of imago therapy is that we unconsciously seek out partners who can help us heal childhood wounds. As Hendrix writes:

“We are attracted to people who can heal our childhood wounds, people who have key pieces that can complete our puzzle.”

Partners may resemble parents or caregivers and reawaken those emotional injuries and coping mechanisms from the past.

  • By identifying these wounds and dynamics at play, couples can create more conscious, healthy bonds moving forward.

Imago theory also holds that truly seeing, hearing, and understanding your partner allows for deeper connection and reconciliation of conflicts big and small.

Therapists teach communication skills to facilitate this empathetic exchange.

Ad, keeps our community free. Therapy Helpers does not accept money for reviews.

betterhelp logo
review

4.5 (7,344+) FROM TRUSTPILOT

Fill out a brief questionnaire and get matched with an experienced therapist online in as little as 48 hours.

✓ Over 35K licensed professionals

✓ Financial aid available

✓ Subscriptions as low as $65/week, billed every four weeks

✓ Cancel plan or change therapist anytime

20% off your first month through Therapy Helpers

Where Imago Overlaps with Christianity

There are several core values in imago therapy that align with Christian principles:

  • Healing and redemption – Christians believe in forgiveness, grace, transformation
  • Compassion and reconciliation in relationships
  • Sacrificial love for partner
  • Unity and connection reflecting divine bond
  • Hope for renewed marriages

Seeing relationships as opportunities for mutual understanding and growth fits with Christ’s teachings to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31).

The imago process mirrors elements of reconciliation and peacemaking valued in Christian tradition.
YouTube video

Areas Where Views May Diverge

Imago’s foundations incorporate diverse ideas from various faith backgrounds and secular psychology. Some more traditional Christians could take issue with imago’s:

  • Lack of direct scriptural basis
  • Potential New Age influences
  • Limited focus on theology of marriage
  • Minimal role of faith community, church
  • Highly psychological model

There is also debate around concepts like the “unconscious” and “childhood wounds” which do not feature prominently in Christian texts.

Evaluating Compatibility

Ultimately, Christians seeking counseling should evaluate imago therapy based on their specific beliefs and priorities. Questions to consider:

  • Does the therapist respect my faith values?
  • Am I comfortable with psychological concepts used?
  • Does this process align with my view of marriage?
  • Will this strengthen commitment and godly principles?

If imago methods clash with core beliefs, other options like biblical/Christian counseling or clergy guidance may be preferable.

Type of TherapyKey Components
ImagoChildhood wounds, unconscious patterns, communication skills training
Christian/BiblicalScriptural principles, spiritual intimacy with God, church community
side of faces with light radiating from the center

Conclusion

While not intrinsically Christian, imago therapy contains many elements compatible with Christian values of healing, empathy, reconciliation and growth through relationships.

Understanding the theory allows Christians to evaluate if its psychological approach fits their theological perspectives on marriage. Consulting a like-minded counselor is key to ensuring the process supports faith.

Ultimately, each couple must reflect personally and seek their own wisdom on what counseling approach works best for their sacred union.

Looking for more mental health tips? Make sure to follow our Mental Health Board on Pinterest!

Recommended Insights:

modern therapy room featuring a diverse group of people discussing "Ethical Considerations"

Ethical Considerations of Therapist-Client Boundaries in Online Therapy: Navigating Professional Integrity

Exploring the ethical considerations of therapist-client boundaries in online therapy, this article delves into the complexities of maintaining professional integrity in a digital setting
A Diverse Group Of People, Including A Therapist Utilizing Augmented Reality (ar) Technology To Enhance Mental Health Treatment With Cognitive Behavioral Techniques

Augmented Reality and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Integrating Technology in Mental Health Treatments

Augmented reality is revolutionizing cognitive behavioral therapy by providing immersive, interactive experiences that enhance patient engagement and treatment efficacy in mental health care.
Online Therapy For Depression And Anxiety In The Uk

Online Therapy for Depression and Anxiety in the UK: Analyzing the Data Trends

This article dives into the latest data trends in online therapy for depression and anxiety within the UK, highlighting key insights and effectiveness in addressing mental health challenges.

About the author

Erica Barnes

Erica Barnes

I’m an African American woman living in New York, with a Bachelor's degree in Communication. I’m passionate about researching mental health topics, spirituality, and breaking down stigma in my community. I’ve dedicated my life to shedding light on important issues surrounding mental health and working towards creating a more understanding and compassionate society. As a researcher at Therapy Helpers, I’m here to use my skills to educate and inspire others through insightful articles. Thank you for being here!Social

Leave a Comment