FAQ's for Imago Couples Therapy

Click on the question to read the answer

Where are these weekend relationships workshops held?
How many couples attend the workshop?
I Want to Register...What are the Steps?
What is the cost of the Weekend?
What is OHIP-Eligibility? How Is It Determined?
Tell Me More About The Pre-interview
What If We Are Not OHIP-Eligible?
What if We Can't Afford the Cost of the Weekend?

What is the Payment policy?
What is the Cancellation policy?
What is the Schedule of the weekend?
What about food?
What is the format of the weekend?
How much will we be expected to reveal about ourselves?
Will I have to speak in front of the group?

How do you teach the skills?What sorts of couples should attend?
Is the workshop Gay friendly?
Can I attend without a partner / spouse? 
What if my partner is not enthused about coming?
Do we have to be married?
Does it help to read Harville’s book (Getting the Love You Want) before attending?  It this a workshop based in Religion?
Why is it called “IMAGO” therapy?
Does it work?
Are these skills relevant outside my relationship?
What if a couple needs more help after the workshop? 
Are the Facilitators in a committed relationship?
How long have you been doing these workshops? Why do you do them?


Where are these weekend workshops held?

The majority of our workshops, about 10 per year, are presented in our home in Hamilton Ontario. About twice a year, we run Advanced/Intensive weekends for our graduates, also in Hamilton.  

TORONTO --  There will be a basic workshop held in the west end of Toronto each spring and fall.

How many couples attend the workshop?

We enrol a maximum of 6 couples at our Hamilton workshops.  The Toronto workshops may enrol as many as 9 couples.

I Want to Register...What are the Steps?

-send Susan your registration page by fax (905 525 3164) or email, and call your credit card information to 905 528-0257

-only your deposit holds your spot in the workshop...it's first come, first serve (we are increasingly filling our workshops)

-after your deposit is in:

  1. We will mail you a confirmation letter with location / accommodation information and a receipt.

  2. We will contact you for a pre-interview to determine OHIP eligibility (see the FAQ two down from here)

- the pre-interview is the final step before the weekend

What is the Cost of the Weekend?

The standard cost of the weekend is $800 per couple - this applies to non OHIP-eligible couples.  However, in Ontario, if you are OHIP-eligible, the cost is $250 a couple.

What is OHIP-Eligibility? How Is It Determined?

Because Mark is a physician, OHIP may cover a large part of the cost of the weekend ... if you are eligible. To be eligible for OHIP coverage, a couple must have valid Ontario health cards and must merit a diagnosis of "Marital (or relationship) Conflict". This is determined in a pre-interview with couples in conflict. Couples who are hoping to improve their relationship but are not in significant conflict are not eligible for OHIP coverage.

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Tell Me More About The Pre-interview

This is a session of about 60-90 minutes to explore the relationship issues a couple is dealing with. We will arrange this interview with you after you have registered and paid your deposit for the weekend. It is a time for you to meet us and for us to get to know you and your issues better. It allows us to determine whether you are OHIP-eligible.

What If We Are Not OHIP-Eligible?

If it is determined that the couple is not OHIP eligible, you will have two choices: you can pay the standard price of $800 and attend the workshop or you can have a full refund of your deposit.

What if We Can't Afford the Cost of the Weekend?

There are some limited scholarship arrangements that are sometimes possible. Please be in touch with us for details.

What Is the Payment Policy?

To hold a place at a workshop you will need to complete a registration form and send us a deposit of $125. The remaining cost of $125 is due on arrival at the workshop.

Payment Methods ... We accept Visa and Mastercard.

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What is the Cancellation Policy?

If you cancel at least 10 days prior to the workshop you have registered for, we will refund your deposit, less a $60 administrative fee. If you cancel 9 days or fewer preceding your workshop, you will forfeit your deposit or we would be pleased to transfer your deposit to another workshop date within one year of the original registration date. If you do not attend the workshop, or if you leave early, your registration is non-refundable. If the presenters were to cancel a workshop all monies will be refunded.

What is the Schedule of the weekend?

The workshop runs Friday evening (6:30-9:00), Saturday (8:30-6:00) and Sunday(8:30-6:00)

On Saturday and Sunday there will be a 90 minute lunch break and several short breaks during the day.

What about Food?

We provide a light breakfast, all beverages and snacks throughout the day.
We will try to accommodate any food allergies if you inform us ahead of time. You will be on your own for lunch and supper.

What is the Format of the weekend?

Over the 20 hours you will spend time in various ways:
- short lectures will help you understand the journey that has brought you to this point in your life ... how your past helps determine the life-partner that you choose and the kinds of problems you eventually (and inevitably) encounter in that relationship.
- a couple of ‘guided imageries’ where, with some guidance, you will ‘go inside’ and gather information from your earlier years
- work in your Imago Manual, a workbook that helps you make use of the information you have gathered and synthesize old material into new learning
- learning, in the group setting, the Imago Dialogue, an amazingly powerful tool to help you safely communicate with your partner in a manner that will guarantee that you both will feel heard, respected and understood.
- practicing these new skills with your partner in private break-out areas with Susan and Mark available to coach you through any difficulty.

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How much will we be expected to reveal about ourselves? Will I have to speak in front of the group?

The workshop is not an ‘encounter group’ ... no one is expected to air their ‘dirty laundry’ in front of the group. The only talking you will be expected to do in front of the group will be simple introductory material such as how you met your partner as well as how you are experiencing the weekend as it progresses. That being said, each individual chooses how much they will share ... some couples share a lot about themselves, some share almost nothing .. either way is very acceptable.

How do you teach the skills?

We find that most effective way to teach couples a new skill is for the facilitator to teach the skill, in front of the group, to a volunteer couple, while the other couples observe. The couple that volunteers is treated very gently, works with non-threatening material, and is highly appreciated by the group. Incidentally, as well, they seem to learn the skill particularly well.

What sorts of couples should attend?

The learning and skills of an Imago Weekend are surprisingly relevant no matter what stage of a relationship you are at. We have had couples from all stages, from lovebirds to those living apart and heading for divorce, and all find it useful, moving, relevant, and healing.

Attend the Imago Workshop:
- if you are in a brand new relationship that is going well and you want to keep it that way
- if you are in a second relationship and you want to avoid the mistakes of your first relationship
- if you are in a long term relationship that is going ok but you’d like it to be fantastic
- if your relationship is in some trouble, with conflict that is appearing as bickering or as avoiding each other, or both
- if your relationship is on the rocks and you want to give it one last chance, to see if things can be mended. Even if you do not save your marriage, you will gather import information about how you contributed to the marital breakdown and valuable skills to take into any future relationships.

Is the workshop Gay friendly?

We are fully welcoming of both gay and straight couples. Though there are clearly some differences between these couples, the essential issues they struggle with - the need for safety, understanding and effective communication - is no different.

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Can I attend without a partner?

The ‘Getting The Love You Want’ workshop is designed for people in long term committed relationships. There are Imago Workshops titled “Keeping the Love You Find” that are designed for individuals. These are excellent workshops that we recommend for individuals whether they are single or in relationship. Currently we are running these "Keeping" workshops for individuals, about twice a year. You can see when they are scheduled on the "Upcoming Workshops" page of the Imago portion of this website.

What if my partner is not enthused about coming?

We have learned to expect that, in most couples, one person is much more likely to be enthused about coming, while the other may be reluctant, sometimes very reluctant. To our surprise, this seems not to matter very much ... the reluctant partner seems to leave the weekend very pleased that he/she was dragged to the event. The crucial point is not about enthusiasm, it is about willingness to come despite reluctance.

Do we have to be married?

No. The only criterion is that it be 2 individuals who are in a long term committed relationship.

Does it help to read Harville’s book (Getting the Love You Want) before attending?

The majority of people seeking marital counselling at our workshops have not read the book “Getting the Love You Want” by Imago founder Harville Hendrix. This does not seem to interfere with their experience in any way. Those who have read the book do, however, have some advantage in that the material may be more familiar and therefore may be easier to take in.

Is this a workshop based in Religion?

No, this workshop is based on a psychological understanding of how human beings develop and how they bring themselves into relationship. There is nothing about the workshop that is incompatible with most mainstream religious beliefs.

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Why is it called “IMAGO” therapy?

This is explained in detail in the workshop.
Briefly, ‘Imago’ is the Latin word for ‘image’. Imago theory tells us that, from a rather young age, we are forming an ‘image’ in our unconscious mind of the sort of partner that we are looking for to have a long term committed relationship with. When we meet someone who is similar to that image, chemicals begin to flow in our brains that initiate the process of romantic love ... we “fall in love”.

Does it Work?

After our years of involvement with the Imago process, we have come to the conclusion that the crucial question is not “does it work?” .... because when a couple uses these skills regularly and properly it does work. The crucial question is actually ... “Will the couple commit to practicing the skills on a daily basis and make it part of their lives in the future?” Essentially, we have learned that “if you use it regularly and properly” it works.

Are these skills relevant outside my relationship?

The answer is a resounding “Yes!”. The communication skills can be used in friendship, in business, almost anywhere. One of the most special and rewarding places to use these new skills, however, is in parenting. Anyone with children can significantly improve their parenting using Imago skills.

What if a couple needs more help after the workshop?

Some couples seem to have the knack of using the Imago process without a lot of help ... they leave the workshop and make Imago part of their relationship life. Most couples need more help. The options for help include:
- finding an Imago therapist in or near your area
- use some of the online enrichment/help that is offered by Imago Relationships International
- attend a follow-up workshop.  Follow-up workshops include:   Advanced/Intensive Weekend Workshops;   Individual Weekend Workshops;  Ongoing Ten Week Couples Group. 

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Are the Facilitators in a committed relationship?

Yes, we have been a committed couple since 1995. This is a second relationship for both of us. We discovered Imago together, early in this relationship.

How long have you been doing these workshops?   Why do you do them?

We have been doing Imago Workshops since 2007 at a rate of about twelve workshops a year.

We first became acquainted with the Getting The Love You Want Workshop as a consumer couple and we were very impressed from the start. We find the Imago understanding of who we are in relationship makes so much sense and is of such practical help with day to day difficulties. It is pretty clear to both of us that, without Imago, our relationship, if it survived at all, would be much poorer and much more conflict ridden.

We find it an ongoing joy to deliver this learning to couples and a privilege to be witness to couples who are honestly and bravely struggling to get the love they want.

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