IMAGO RELATIONSHIP COUNSELLING: FAQ’s
These workshops are designed for couples who are in an intimate, committed partnership. Marriage is not a pre-requistie. However, if you wish to attend and you are single, you would need to attend with a friend, colleague or family member with whom you feel comfortable with. We would prefer that this person not be in a long term relationship themselves, as we would like couples to experience this together.
If you are presently separated but wishing to explore the possibility of either reconciliation or communicating better as you move on with your lives, then the workshop would certainly be of assistance.
We see that the Workshop plus counselling is a particularly helpful combination. However, for some couples the workshop in itself gives them 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.
We can’t say that the workshop will save your relationship. However, many if not most couples do experience significant changes which result in better communication and a more fulfilling relationship. When conflict is long standing couples frequently need to have follow-on counselling in order to integrate the work from the workshop, and to receive further direction and guidance to stay in the process. However, the workshop provides an important and often essential foundation on which to build the platform for counselling, and for your future relationship. In those circumstances where couples do decide to separate following the workshop, they report increased understanding, a more amicable separation, and the ability to work well together in their co-parenting relationship.
The workshop is set up so that you do not have to talk publicly at any time, either in small groups or in the large group. We do ask for couples to assist us in demonstrating the processes we are teaching, and couples who feel comfortable with this elect to do so. No pressure is placed on anyone to share or reveal personal concerns or issues. The workshop is mostly an educational experience. You practice new skills alone with your partner and your issues are completely private.
Yes you can still benefit. The connections between our current frustrations and conflict, and our childhood experience, is not clear to many people. Imago theory does suggest that we unconsciously connect the two. However, this is simply a theory or idea which assists in making sense of the current situation, and Imago processes will work when used consistently, with or without a belief in the link between adult relationship issues and childhood.
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 find that the workshop is useful for those who are working with therapists using different modalities. 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.
We invest in our cars to ensure that they keep working; but somehow believe that investing financially in our relationship is unnecessary. Relationship breakdown has huge financial cost, and healthy relationships require time, energy and an understanding of relationship dynamics, along with the skills to relate well with one another. Yet we are not taught how to resolve relationship issues and often believe we should be able to work through these issues ourselves. We will let the excerpt below speak to this.
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.”
If you need to do the workshop and can not afford it, then please contact us. We are hoping to make scholarships available shortly, and in the meantime are open to finding ways to make it work for you.
Though each provides a different experience, we generally recommend attending a workshop as soon as possible because it provides an overview and some practice of all the Imago ideas and skills. If you are not sure that this is the right approach for you, then please speak to one of us about this. It is our experience that the workshop 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 within relationship therapy. 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.