About Us 2022-12-20T01:33:36+00:00

About The Imago Institute for Relationships (NZ)

The Imago Institute for Relationships, established by Brenda Rawlings and Peter McMillan in 1999, offers:

We are dedicated to helping you rediscover the joy and potential of being together as a couple.

Brenda Rawlings and Peter McMillan

Brenda Rawlings passed over in February 2022, after a two and a half year journey with brain cancer.  Peter McMillan continues to offer the services of the Imago Institute for Relationships.  This page is currently being reviewed and updated.

We first discovered Imago work in 1993, when we read Harville Hendrix’ first book: “Getting the Love You Want – A Guide for Couples”.  It was at a time in our relationship when we were having serious difficulty. This book enabled us to make sense of what was happening between us and gave us hope that there could be a way forward.
We began training in Imago Relationship Therapy in 1996 and since then we have been learning and growing with this work. We have woven Imago into our relationships with each other, our children and our communities. Professionally, we now specialise in relationship counselling, have presented more than 100 weekend workshops for couples and provide training in Imago Therapy for other counsellors, psychotherapists and psychologists in Australia and New Zealand.
We are now increasingly able to share the information and vision of this approach with confidence, integrity and compassion. We are wanting to empower individuals to grow, heal and restore connections in their lives through conscious, committed relationships. We believe this is wonderful work, and we feel privileged to have been able to bring it into our own lives and to share it with others.  At the same time, we are continually updating with other theories and with current research in order that we are able to offer the very best service.

Brenda Rawlings – BSW(Hons) DipCouns MNZAC

Brenda trained originally as a Social Worker through Massey University in Palmerston North. After several years working in the Department of Social Welfare, she took time to travel overseas for several years before moving to Warkworth as a Community Health Social Worker. This particularly suited her interest in community development, in that she was involved in initiating and developing a number of social service agencies, including a Women’s Resource Centre, Family/Whanau Support Services and Stopping Violence Services, all of which continue to flourish after close to 20 years.

In 1989 Brenda retrained in Counselling, beginning in private practice in 1991. She has specialised in relationship counselling since 1998. She is a leader, both in New Zealand and internationally in the field of relationships. She is a past Dean of the Imago International Institute and in 2013 was the recipient of the Harville Hendrix Award for Clinical Excellence. She is a member of New Zealand Association of Counsellors and is approved by WINZ, ACC (for work with trauma), CYFS and the Family Court.

Brenda has extensive experience in working with abuse and domestic violence. She has been Women’s Programmes Coordinator and Counselling Coordinator of Rodney Stopping Violence Services. Brenda is known as a gifted therapist: wise, compassionate, intuitive and able to penetrate to the heart of an issue. Her gentle warmth and her ability to value and encourage each person, creates a place of safety where people feel empowered. Brenda has written a number of articles to help couples in their relationships. Click here to read one that was published in the New Zealand Herald.

Peter McMillan – BA MGuidCouns DipTchg MNZAC

After ten years as a Secondary School Teacher, Peter studied for a Masters Degree in Counselling at Massey University.   After four years of School Counselling, he went into Private Practice as a Counsellor in Warkworth.

Peter has been a Member of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors since 1989 and has specialised in relationships since 1996.

Peter has extensive experience in working with domestic violence, having facilitated men’s programmes for seven years. He has a particular interest in working with men and is currently on the council of the Essentially Men Educational Trust.

Peter is known as a dynamic and passionate presenter and an excellent teacher with a keen intellect and a warm, compassionate manner.

Peter and Brenda have been counselling individuals and couples, and facilitating groups since 1989. They now specialise in relationship work, and are Certified Imago Relationship Therapists and Workshop Presenters. They were the first Imago Therapists outside of the USA and Canada to be accepted onto the Faculty of the Imago International Institute, and have been instrumental in establishing Imago therapy in NZ. Each year they meet in the USA with Harville Hendrix and other faculty members from around the world, for supervision and to participate in the ongoing development of Imago Relationship Therapy. They currently present Couples Workshops and Imago Training in NZ and Australia.


Contact us for information about Counselling, the Getting the  Love You Want – Weekend Workshop for Couples or Imago Training.