Pre-Conference Advanced Imago Courses

taught by Imago Clinical Faculty Instructors

3-5 October

Wednesday 9-6, Thursday 9-6, Friday 9-4

Giving and Receiving Love: Living Wholeheartedly

Held in Sassafras on 2nd Floor

Marcia Ferstenfeld, MA, CIRT, CI (Southfield, Michigan, US) is known for her deep grasp of the heart of Imago Theory and Practice. She has been a moving force in Imago Michigan and globally since 1993 and has been actively involved in the Peace Project the Imago Summit and Communologue since 2003. Marcia brings warmth, humor, clarity, knowledge and intuition to her teaching which facilitates learning for all learning styles. She has a talent for creating a safe environment within which those present can stretch into their potential and do the work of growth and healing both personally and professionally.

Carol Kramer Slepian, LCSW, (New York City, NY, US) is an Advanced Imago Therapist, and has presented "Getting the Love You Want" and "Keeping the Love You Find" workshops for the past 13 years with her late husband, Steve Slepian. Carol is a Clinical Instructor on the Imago Faculty. She also trained in Focusing and EMDR. Carol practices in Manhattan and in the Bronx.


The fundamental dilemma of all human relationships is this: Why is it so hard to give and receive love, when it is part of our survival directive to be connected? To better understand this dilemma and the solution, we will explore the “software” that we are born with. The pulse of both giving and receiving is vital to the experience of connection. If we are blocked in either direction, we become isolated and lose the experience of connection. In this course, we will explore: Blocks to giving; blocks to receiving; the way our picture of relationships determine not only who we pick, but the way we play out the relational dance. We will explore how this manifests in the areas of emotion, spiritual connection, intellect, and our bodies. We will use video-tapes, demonstrations,practice and lecture. Physical movement and discussion as well as written exercises will be used to explore our own blocks around giving and receiving, and concrete ways to work with our couples to resolve this dilemma.

Learning Objectives for Giving and Receiving Love:

1. Describe the difficulty to receive and to give with couples.
2. Assess and explain the unconscious collusion.
3. Demonstrate all the Imago processes in the perspective of enhancing giving and receiving.

The Attuned Therapist:

Working with Reactivity and Resistance

Held in Camden I on 2nd Floor

John Hjarsø Mortensen, cand. psych. Certifceret Imagoterapeut (København, Denmark) is a psychologist with a private practice in Copenhagen, Denmark. He is a lektor at University of Copenhagen and at the Institute of Psychology where he teaches Relational Psychology and the therapeutic dialogue. He is also a lektor at the University College of Sealand where he delivers lectures on personal leadership, organizational learning, strategic leadership, and executive coaching. John is himself a coach and organizational counselor with years of experience in narrative and constructivistic traditions. He is a Certified Imago Therapist, a Certified Workshop Presenter and a Certified Imago Consultant. John and his wife Pia have been married since 1989 and together they have a son Jakob (23 years old) and two adult daughters (Anna and Line) from former marriages.

Kobus Van der Merwe (Pretoria, South Africa) is a Certified Imago Therapist, Imago Workshop Presenter, Advanced Clinician, and Imago Clinical Instructor. He was the first Imago Workshop Presenter and Clinical Instructor in South Africa. Before being involved with Imago, he was ordained as minister in the Dutch Reformed Church.

As therapists we expect a little chaos. However, there are couples who just seem to challenge us every step of the way. Using a growing understanding of the relational paradigm, we will explore how to use our centered, embodied and attuned presence to assist clients in making sense of the anxiety which motivates them into reactivity. We will explore interventions to assist them to move toward each other, co-regulating affect and moving into safety and joy. Using safety, pacing and understanding of the dynamic cycle underlying the core struggles between maximizer and minimizer, we will use an attachment and developmental lens to understand the needs and emotions driving the power struggle and the defended self. We will explore how to work with the negative cycles using dialogue, the relationship vision and the Imago workup. Even when resistance and reactivity centre on the dialogue itself, we can track energy with skill, empathy and compassion, moving couples toward connection, replacing negativity with positivity and affirmation. Through the use of video clips, role plays, demonstrations and didactic material we will create an interactive, fun and dynamic space to focus on our own inner attunement and ability to connect, thereby deepening our work.

Learning Objectives for the Attuned Therapist:

1. Recognize those couples who present a personal ‘challenge’ and how to use inner attunement and embodied presence, to stay present and available when challenged.
2. Teach clients to explore and develop an awareness of negative attachment and developmental cycles through the use of Imago work-up/core scene with couples.
3. Establish a safe and empathic structure when couples are evidencing reactivity and resistance.
4. Identify where clients are developmentally and respond appropriately in response to what may be surfacing with regard to unmet needs.
5. Understand emotion from the perspective of connection and disconnection, and the polarities of joy and anxiety.

Sex, Sensuality, and Imago

Held in Camden II on 2nd Floor

Ljiljana Bastaić, MD (Zagreb, Croatia) is psychiatrist and a psychotherapist certified both in Gestalt therapy and in Imago Relationship Therapy. She is a clinical trainer for Wurzburg Gestalt Institute and a Couples Workshop Presenter for Imago Relationships International. She lives in Zagreb, Croatia and teaches internationally.

Sophie Slade, Ph.D. (Montreal, Canada; London, UK) Sophie’s motto is “Have Imago, Will Travel!”  As an Imago Therapist, Workshop Presenter and Clinical Instructor, she has a passion for bringing Imago to public and professional audiences around the world. She also loves collaborating with colleagues to create new Imago courses, such as the Sexuality, Sensuality and Imago training. Sophie is known for creating a safe, non-judmental and fun learning environment, for her bawdy poetry and for her writings on Imago. She works out of Montreal, Canada and London, England.

Orli Wahrman, MSW (Reut, Israel) is an Imago therapist, Workshop Presenter, Consultant, Faculty member, and the Israeli Representative for IRI. Additionally, she is a qualified Somatic Experiencing (SE) and Trauma therapist, and Family and Couples therapist. Just after 9/11 Orli started THE IMAGO PEACE PROJECT, which led to the development of Communologue, a way to safe communication in groups. Combining Imago work and Communologue, she created the Palestinian-Israeli Imago Project, which brings together couples from both peoples.

A journey into the mystery of sexuality and sensuality within the Imago relational paradigm.  

Day 1 focuses on what every Imago therapist needs to know about how to relate to the sexual issues our couples grapple with to determine what is appropriate for our office and what situations indicate the need to refer to a certified specialist in the field of sexuality.  We look at an Integrated model of sexuality and the medical, psychological and relational causes of sexual challenges in couple relationships. We focus also on the stages of arousal and the challenges associated with each stage. We practice doing a sexual assessment interview using three case studies in order to make an informed decision.

Day 2 looks at the sexual relationship through the lens of Imago theory of the Psychological Journey - the unmet needs and adaptive strategies at each developmental stage.  We explore how these adaptations play out in the bedroom in positive as well as conflictual ways. It provides therapists with a perspective for understanding what might be underneath the specific presenting issues and how we can use and adapt our Imago structure to support healing and growth in this sensitive area, going beyond verbal forms of dialogue into more tactile ways of connecting. We role-play couples challenged in their sexual relationship at the different developmental levels and how to work effectively with them. We will also examine our own blocks and barriers in dealing with the topics of sex and sensuality in the office.

Day 3 looks at the Journey of Socialization and how the repressive social messages we receive can impact our sexuality.  We practice Lost and Denied -self Dialogues to explore and grow back into these aspects of the Missing Self. We also explore a variety of Imago based practices and processes to enhance a couple’s sexual enjoyment and design the sexual relationship they both want to experience.

Learning Objectives for Sex, Sensuality, and Imago:

1. Conduct a sexual evaluation interview to identify where in the sexual arousal cycle the issue occurs and have a clear basis for decisions about whether to treat the couple and when to refer for medical treatment or sex therapy.
2. Describe the immediate and deeper causes of sexual challenges in couple relationships.
3. Apply Imago theory regarding the Psychological and Social Journeys to working with sexual conflicts in couple relationships.
4. Adapt and apply specific Imago tools to support the reintegration of the Missing Sexual Self.

All pre-conference Advanced Imago courses are eligible for 22 CEs which can be purchased for $15 during registration.

Your purchase of CEs during registration will cover both pre-conference and conference CEs.

Refunds will be issued for cancellations of Advance Course registrations on or before September 15, 2018. After September 15, no refunds will be given for cancellations.

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