Communication Problems

Years in Practice

10 years +


New York NY 10038 - United States



I Practice in

All areas, please inquire

I Believe

Imago is the world-leading approach to Couples Therapy, practiced by thousands of Certified Imago Therapists in over 26 countries. Imago gives you and your partner the information and skills you need to restore connection, and build a vibrant and exciting life together. Imago is easy to understand, it works, and it can be a lot of fun too. Imago was founded by Harville Hendrix, PhD, author of the best-seller "Getting The Love You Want", together with his wife, Helen LaKelly Hunt, PhD.

About Tim Atkinson

Tim Atkinson is the former Executive Director of Imago Relationships International, home of the world-leading approach to Couples Therapy, practiced by thousands of Certified Imago Therapists in over 26 countries.

Imago was founded by Harville Hendrix, PhD, author of the best-seller “Getting The Love You Want”, together with his wife, Helen LaKelly Hunt, PhD.

Tim Atkinson Success Stories

Joan and George: Imago composite


This story is put together as a composite from many of the typical couples who might benefit from Imago. Joan and George are a fictional couple.more

Joan and George met in their mid-twenties, fell deeply in love, married, had two children and now, 20 years on, they are on the verge of breakup. They can't quite work out what went wrong, its just they seemed to gradually move apart, and then recently George started an affair, and Joan wants him out of the house, even though the affair is over.

In their first Imago therapy session, they were guided in using Imago Dialogue, just slowing down the discussion so that each person is really heard and mirrored. George shared how he hadn't felt noticed for a long time at home, but that suddenly in this session he felt really seen and heard, particularly about his fears of being able to provide for the family through the college years, something that had been really depressing him. Joan was touched to learn that underneath George's icyness he was hiding a deep concern for their children.

A couple of weeks into the therapy, Joan and George attended an Imago Weekend Workshop for couples. The two-days felt like two-years of therapy! George was initially quite opposed to the idea that part of the work was to explore their childhood together. 'I had a great childhood - with the best parents ever. Why would that have anything to do with my relationship today?" he asked. But fairly soon he began to realize there were things he learned to value in childhood that were important for him, like the way his father would really take care of the family and provide everything they needed, and that this made him very uncomfortable if he felt that his children weren't going to be completely cared for. He had married Joan because she seemed to bring a lot of fun into their life, balancing his serious and cautious outlook. But now he found her frivolous and irresponsible at a time when he needed to save hard for the children, and this had driven them apart.

Joan continued to be touched by the underlying warmth with which George revealed his caring, and it reminded her of how much she valued her parents warmth as a child. She had missed that side of George, but at the same time wanted to fight him every inch of the way to make sure they didn't miss out on having some fun - vacations, nights out etc: She realized that her parent's had always provided a fun filled life at home, and she missed this now, with George's tight and anxious moods about money and saving.

The best part of the weekend was using the Imago dialogue, so they could each share their story with the other partner, in a way that felt so positive and affirming. That first night, they even slipped off for a romantic meal, and giggled like teenagers with the feeling of relief.

Of course there was still plenty of work to do after the workshop. People don't change overnight. But they had each learned enough about it each other to be more understanding when they found themselves clashing, or moving apart. They could fall back on the dialogue they had learned at the workshop to talk through difficult issues, and week by week move back into a place where their relationship was richer and more rewarding than they could ever remember.

The story of Harville and Helen - Imago Founders


Harville Hendrix PhD and Helen LaKelly Hunt, PhD founded Imago, and it has since spread around the world. But one of the relationships it has most strongly influenced is their own.more

Much of the background theory of Imago comes from major psychological insights from Freud right through to the latest neuroscience, and much of the practical features were worked out in Harville's clinical practice. But together Harville and Helen also tell of how there were times when as they developed the principles they found that they were just what they needed.

For example, the Imago Dialogue is a process that sits at the heart of Imago, and the first step in dialogue is just to listen and mirror back. This fast-paced high-achieving couple found that this was just what they needed to build connection.

Harville often tells the story in public of when the couple decided to embrace another Imago concept - which was to eliminate shame, blame or crticism from the relationship. "We didn't have anything left to say to each other" declares Harville, to his audience. Now Imago has many ways to help couples through that critical process of building a positive connected relationship - far less brutal than the "cold turkey" process that Harville and Helen committed to when they banished all negativity from their discussions.

Like all real relationships, times can be great, and times can be more challenging. During one challenging time Harville and Helen finally made a tough decision - which was to attend one of the Imago Weekend Workshops as participants, and take their own medicine! It was a wonderful experience for them - going through a series of carefully constructed exercise which together build a romantic journey to restore the connection.

Tim Atkinson Articles