I help couples and individuals develop safe, loving relationships.

I draw heavily on the theory and practice developed by Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. His theory explains intimate relationships and their inherent difficulties more accurately than any theory to date. This approach is called Imago relationship therapy. Originally, the theory focused on the dynamics and issues in a couple’s relationship; however, over the past 15 years, Imago theory has expanded in its scope to include singles, individuals, parents, and caregivers. Imago theory is also applicable in group therapy.

The goal of Imago relationship therapy is to free couples from the power struggle by changing their reactive, defensive behavior into a force for compassion, healing, and growth.

If you want to improve or save your relationship,
I can help you do the following...
  • untangle the power struggle in your relationship
  • develop communication skills which break destructive ways of relating
  • talk safely about difficult issues
  • learn to trust each other with sharing your inner
    hurts and problems
  • appreciate your own as well as your partner's childhood "wounds" (hurts, disappointments,etc.)& use this knowledge to strengthen your relationship
  • learn to express clear and specific ideas about how you would like love shown to you
  • have playful times together
  • create a mutually satisfying relationship

I give an intensive weekend workshop entitled “Discover a New Way to Love” based on Getting the Love You Want by Dr. Harville Hendrix. See Weekend Workshops and Workshop Schedule for more information.

I am also very interested in helping single people and individuals in relationship prepare for and create safe, loving relationships. I work with individuals as well as couples and give an intensive weekend workshop which I call “Opening Doors to Love”. This workshop is based on Keeping the Love You Find by Dr. Harville Hendrix. See Weekend Workshops and Workshop Schedule for more information.

Imago relationship therapy is also for singles
who want to...
  • understand past relationships
  • put old hurts to rest
  • break destructive patterns
  • prepare for healthy relating
  • create a loving relationship


Endorsements about Couples Therapy with Carole

Becky and I are now the proud parents of a beautiful baby girl. She is awe inspiring, funny, and incredible in the literal sense. When her pure soul looks into our eyes with her big eyes of blue, we cannot help but wonder if we pass muster. After the deterioration of our marriage, then learning how to make the middle space in our circle wider, stronger, safer and more loving, we really know we have. This whole experience was, and is, truly amazing grace. And in a very real sense, Carole, you have helped us to make it possible.
                                                                   — Paul and Becky

Having Imago couple sessions with Carole helped support me and my long-term partner in learning how to listen to each other's "story" while attempting to remain neutral instead of reactive. We learned to appreciate each other more, to share positive intents, and to increase our ability to truly love each other. It was transforming and one of the best investments we have made in our relationship.
                                                                                    — Ron

Seeing Carole for couple’s therapy was the best investment we have ever made. Her guidance helped us learn more about ourselves and be better partners for each other. She showed us how to practice a more respectful way of communicating with each other. It has been a very valuable asset that we continue to use everyday.
                                                                              — Sabrina

Carole did a wonderful job of helping us see each other’s issues in a way that restored our compassion for each others’ challenges. Couples therapy was a wonderful gift from her. I treasure what she has done for our relationship and would suggest that all couples can benefit from her services.
                                                                                  — Doug

Working with Carole in Imago couples therapy was the first step in understanding how my personal history has shaped my life.  I also gained critical insights into the history of my partner, which has helped me to forgive and heal. Like all personal growth, confronting these issues was not easy but the benefits of doing so are enormous.
                                                                                    — Bob

         I still remember the first therapy session with Carole Kirby nearly 16 years ago. I was 31 years old, very depressed and anxious to the point that I could barely function. Sitting in her office, I told her that I felt as though the wind had been taken out of my sails. Her reply was something to the effect of "Be glad for that." I now understand that by this Carole meant I could now face with consciousness the fears, worries and insecurities that had haunted me most of my life, ebbing and flowing, but never going away. Looking back, I am grateful for this dark period in my life. I think it's a misconception to believe that the purpose of therapy is to be "fixed." For me, it was more about accepting myself "flaws" and all. The irony was that when I finally did accept my dark sides, especially the anxiety, they went away.
         When I finally left therapy, my life wasn't perfect. No life is. I hadn't found the one thing that I wanted most...someone to share my life with. But I had a good life and was grateful for the growth I had made with Carole's coaching. Then when I was 38, I met Mark who is now my husband. Because both of us had fears of moving our relationship into the commitment of marriage, we saw Carole as a couple. We married when I was 40 and Mark 45, a first marriage for both of us. Then a few years later, I saw her individually when we were at a crossroads about children. After two failed IVFs, we wanted to adopt, but my old anxiety resurfaced. A few sessions with Carole put me back on the path of adoption that has led to one of the most fulfilling roles in my life... becoming a Mom at the ripe young age of 44.
          There is no doubt that if I hadn't done the work with Carole, I wouldn't be where I am today... a 47-year-old married woman and mother of a very active 3-year old. I am testament that it is never too late. Sadly, I have friends and family that never had the courage to face their darker sides square on. I can tell you, it's not easy. But in the long run, it's a lot easier than living life only halfway. Life was meant to be lived fully. With Carole's help, you can do that.
                                                                                    — Lori

If you are not in the Ann Arbor area and would like me to refer you to a therapist or a workshop presenter in your area, please feel free to contact me.

Here is a partial list of Imago therapists I admire.

www.hedyyumi.org - Hedy Schleifer
www.relationshipjourney.com - Dawn Lipthrott, LCSW

Ojai, California
www.life-and-relationship-coaches.com - Janis & David McCann

New Jersey
www.betsyandbruce.com - Betsy and Bruce Bergquist

Chicago, Skokie, & NE Suburbs, ILL
www.imagocounseling.com - Leo and Peggy Dhont
www.jillfeinbaker.com - Jill Fein Baker, MSW, LCSW, lmsw

N. Va., DC, Baltimore, Pittsburgh
www.metroimago.com - Michael Borash, M.H

Carmel, Yosemite, Fresno, CA
www.acenter4growth.com - Carol A. Anderson, LMFT

Atlanta, GA
www.relationshipcoaching.net - Wendy and Bob Patterson

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