IMAGO RELATIONSHIP COUNSELLING: FAQ’s

Of course.  Feel free to call or email any other questions that you might have.

We have been facilitating these workshops since 1999, and present at least seven workshops each year.

Partners in any committed relationship are appropriate for these workshops. Marriage is not a prerequisite. Though not singles may attend, if you do not have a partner it is possible to attend with a colleague, family member or friend, as long as that person is not in a long term relationship themselves. Please speak to us about this option.

Many participants have later told us of the benefits experienced when applying dialogical skills in friendship, business, with wider family groups and particularly with parenting. We ourselves have found that these processes are part of our everyday relating in all aspects of our lives, and it has been hugely beneficial in relating with our children.

For some couples the workshop in itself gives what they are looking for. For others, particularly for those who are in serious difficulty or contemplating separation, follow-up sessions are definitely recommended. If this is the case, the workshop gives a wonderful jumpstart, but will probably not be in itself enough over the long term. Many couples who attend the workshop pursue couples sessions.  The workshop provides deep exposure to the theory, philosophy and practice of Imago Therapy.  Integrating the process taught often requires further coaching and support.

Imago therapy applies to all couples, regardless of sexual orientation, ethnic or racial background, religion, personal history, or level of education. Gay and Lesbian couples face all the issues that other couples do, plus have to deal with issues unique to them. All couples are absolutely welcome to attend our workshop. Unfortunately we do not offer same sex couples workshops at present in New Zealand, though there are many in the United States. However, same sex couples who have attended our workshops say that it is a good experience for them and we certainly welcome you.

Not necessarily, but many couples do experience dramatic changes that result in better communication and a more fulfilling relationship.  When conflict is long standing couples frequently need further direction and guidance to stay in the process than can be learned over two days. However, the workshop provides an important and often essential foundation on which to build a future relationship.

Absolutely. It is common for one partner to be more reluctant than the other. We are often amazed at how enthusiastic both partners are at the end of a workshop. Attitudes can and do change over the weekend, and our reviews on completion of the workshop tend to be excellent, even from those who were reluctant and/or cynical at the beginning.

The workshop is set up so that you do not have to talk in front of the group. You are asked only to give a brief introduction of yourself at the beginning – your name, where you come from, where you heard about the workshop, and even then it is fine not to participate. The workshop is mostly an educational experience.  No pressure is placed on anyone to share or reveal personal concerns.  Demonstrations of communication process are done with couples that are comfortable in front of a group, but there is no requirement to participate. You practice new skills alone with your partner and your issues are completely private.

Yes.  The connections between our current frustrations and childhood hurts is not clear to many people.  Whether or not we believe it consciously, our unconscious mind connects the two.  Imago tools will work when used consistently, with or without a belief in the link between adult relationship issues and childhood.

We don’t think it’s ever too late to learn the real cause of your problems.  You will learn key concepts that replace the pain of a difficult relationship with knowledge, skill and hope.  Whether you ultimately decide to stay together to use your new tools to heal and grow or go your separate ways, what you learn in the weekend will alter the way you view your relationships.  And if you are parents, we believe the skills you learn in the workshop will be of a great benefit to your relating with your children.

Isn’t it only for couples who want to improve their relationship? The workshop has a good track record of helping couples experience their partners and their relationships more positively.  Many couples find hope for the future because they have experienced relating in a new, safer way during the weekend.  If you are currently in a committed relationship, even if it is very shaky, we do recommend that you come to the workshop.  The least that you can expect as a result of the workshop is clarity about what you and your partner should do.  Many couples find new hope and optimism as a result of what they learn at the workshop.  Occasionally they discover that there has been too much pain and they decide to end the relationship.  Even if that is your decision, Imago therapy provides a framework in which you can respectfully say good-bye.  This is especially important if you have children that you will be co-parenting.

It will also give you essential information about yourself to take into your next relationship, enabling understanding of how you co-created the current relationship, so that you can take that understanding with you rather than continue to create similarly painful experiences.  But for the most part, the majority of couples leave the workshop with new energy, tools and hope for the future.  Many couples who have been separated attend the workshop and find their way back into relationship.

Yes, we think the workshop would still be useful.  If you are currently in a coaching or therapeutic relationship, it would be wise to discuss your attendance with your practitioner.  They will be in the best place to assist you after the workshop for any follow-up.  We would also be available to consult with your therapist about the processes taught at the workshop if you and they would like that.

There are no prerequisites for attending the Workshop.  Some attendees have done a lot of reading, personal work and personal growth; others very little.  If you have time, we do recommend you read “Getting the Love You Want” either before the Workshop, or afterwards.

The Listener, Feb 12 – 18, 2005, had this to say on Page 17:

“If there is one point on which economists, financial brokers, budget advisers and sundry experts agree, it is on the single best investment to ensure sufficient savings, an investment better than NZX shares, unit trusts or equity funds, virtually money in the bank . . . . Relationship Counselling.  It sounds flippant, but it isn’t.

The biggest cause of financial impoverishment for the mid-lifers saving for retirement is divorce and separation, say the Listener experts . . . . . . . perhaps an investment in making a relationship work is the best saving any pre-retiree can make.”

Though each provides a different experience, we recommend attending a workshop as soon as possible because it provides an overview and some practice of all the Imago ideas and skills. This can save you time and money in the office, and give you a solid foundation for your individual couples work. The workshop experience has been demonstrated to achieve results comparable to 3-6months of weekly therapy. As such, it is extremely cost efficient. It provides a solid psycho-educational foundation to the personalised work that you and your partner then have an opportunity to integrate. We also find that a shift can occur within the framework of the workshop that is very difficult to achieve in individual couples work, which can mean that the work with an individual coach is then a lot more efficient and effective.

However, we also recommend that if a workshop is not scheduled soon or you are unable to make the next time, you begin ongoing sessions. Also, some couples want to try out a few sessions before committing to the Workshop, and that’s fine. We would be happy to discuss your particular situation with you individually to ensure optimum use of your time and resources.