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Avatar Meets Marriage Counseling; Take Imago Therapy for a Test Drive
Date:3/17/2010

ship Story" goes to a new level of interactivity. The avatar asks you a range of questions about your relationship and uses it to construct a story about how your partner may or may not be fulfilling your emotional needs. "She doesn't always get it right" admits Atkinson "but the point is to create awareness of how the past influences the present. It's marriage education, not therapy."

Imago first grabbed the public attention in 1988 when its co-founder Harville Hendrix, PhD published the best-seller "Getting The Love You Want." It was one of the first books to make sense of the complex field of marriage and long-term relationships, drawing on some of the great psychological and spiritual traditions and weaving them into a system that every couple could understand and make use of. "Imago isn't feeding the hungry, we're giving them fishing rods" comments Atkinson.

Hendrix and his partner Helen LaKelly Hunt PhD created a worldwide community of over 1,000 Certified Imago Therapists, one of the largest networks of couples therapy practice in the world. Teaching clients how to resolve relationship problems themselves has always been important to the approach. Therapy clients are encouraged to also attend a weekend workshop where they learn about the emotional forces that shape their relationship. "The combination of workshops and therapy is more effective, and saves money too" comments Atkinson.

The latest avatar-led online programs bring Imago's commitment to relationship education into the cutting edge of interactive technology. "We haven't seen anything else like it in this field, yet..." says Atkinson "My hope is couples will love this so much we can build a whole online teaching environment."

Is it the end of Marriage Counseling as we know it? Education tools like this may be all that some couples need to strengthen their relationship, but research indicates that most couples put up with a rocky relationship for years u
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