Approaches and Therapies

Relationship Therapy

Imago Relationship Therapy

Congratulations on your courage and curiosity in exploring relationship counselling. Conflict is an invitation to grow! I provide relationship counselling across Motueka, Nelson and surrounding areas, with the aim of helping couples resolve their conflicts and better understand each other.

Conflict is an invitation to grow!

As a Certified Imago Relationship Therapist I specialize in Couples Work.  My method of relationship therapy is significantly guided by Imago. I also draw upon the modalities of my work with individual clients such as Psychodynamic Therapy, Transactional Analysis, Hakomi Somatic Psychotherapy and Somatic Experiencing®.  It is essential for me to acknowledge each of you as an individual and separate human being while working with you to create the relationship of your vision.

Imago Relationship Therapy developed by Dr. Harville Hendrix is a powerful process allowing couples to transform their relationship.   Imago believes that growth and healing is done in the context of a committed relationship and that conflict is growth wanting to happen.The main focus of Imago is to restore and maintain conscious and committed connection.  Partners learn listening to each other with curiosity and interest and replace the basic patterns of “right” and “wrong” with an understanding of each other’s individuality. Imago provides a space for safe and respectful communication.

When working with me and Imago you can expect to develop communication skills that enable each of you to truly hear and understand your partner.  Such a safe way of resolving frustrations and conflict can help you develop a more genuine, connected, loving and passionate relationship.

For more information on Imago Relationship Therapy in New Zealand go to
You may also enjoy this article from Psychology Today.
Some good interviews with Harville Hendrix, the founder of Imago, can be found here.

Relationship therapy can help couples to:

  • understand the dynamics of their relationship
  • learn practical and respectful communication and listening skills
  • respect each other’s point of view
  • dissolve the power struggle
  • meet each other’s needs
  • have romantic connection
  • improve their sexual relationship
  • deepen appreciation
  • expand their emotional, mental, spiritual and physical connection
  • understand the impact of childhood and other life experiences upon your relationship
  • rediscover the joy and passion of being together
  • break free from old destructive communication and behaviour patterns
  • develop deep compassion for each other
  • create a safe and nurturing environment for your children

Most of the counselling will involve couples meeting with me together, but there may also be separate sessions where I work with each of you individually. This can be particularly useful for personal issues that are holding you back within the relationship. Frequently these are old pains connected to childhood issues, developmental trauma or previous relationships.

The ways in which we were not loved during childhood can be directly read from our adult relationships - Paul Schellenbaum


Intimacy is probably one of the most misunderstood concepts in relationships.  At some time intimacy and sex became interchangeable words and now many people believe they are the same.  While intimacy may include or lead to a better sexual relationship, it involves much more.  Intimacy consists of an entire way of being, acting and thinking.  It is a place where both partners are willing to commit to each other, be vulnerable, and trust.  In an intimate relationship both partners understand each other while simultaneously feeling understood.

Many of us carry childhood or other wounds which hold us back from permitting ourselves to trust or be open with our partner.  While desiring a partnership in which we can be without fear or mistrust we often behave in a way which is guarded and shaped by old behaviour patterns of reacting. This closes the door to our partners and so creates a growing lack of intimacy, leading to feelings of being unwanted, anxious, lonely, inadequate, depressed, rejected, resentful and angry in one or both partners.  Sometimes we unconsciously relate to each as did our parents – even if this may not have been constructive.  Relationship therapy  can teach you how to better relate to each other and open the doors to true communication and intimacy.

How do we develop Intimacy?

To develop intimacy usually means to gain an understanding of our fears.  It involves vulnerability and trust – reaching into our core and allowing the other person in without walls of fear, mistrust or potential regret.  Given our individual scars of life this can be a very scary undertaking.  To develop true intimacy means a willingness of letting go of our fears wile seeing our partner with an understanding for their fears.  As both partners engage in this process simultaneously a new basis for true intimacy can develop and you can finally open the doors to a satisfying and intimate relationship. This healing process may involve some individual work with each partner as well as joined sessions.  I will be working with the  separate hurts of each partner but also with those that may have built up during your relationship together. I will do this within a space of safety and mutual respect.

Sexuality and Intimacy

While it is possible to have a satisfying sex life without intimacy this usually will not last endlessly without the existence or creation of intimacy.  As couples create their foundation for intimacy and emotional closeness this is often accompanied by a growing enjoyment of their sexuality.  As each person’s inner fears dissolve and a deep emotional bond is formed, sexuality can be explored on new levels and transcend from the mere physical to a deep spiritual connection.

Contact me :

Henriette Politano

Telephone 027 306 2386
Or contact me by email with the form:

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