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Advanced Clinical Trainings

From Despair to Repair:

Helping Couples Heal and Grow Through Crisis

In the face of a couple’s crisis, there are three different perspectives for the therapist to consider. The first perspective works for, and from, the ‘between’ of the relationship – the focus is on the interpersonal; the second, uses relational neuroscience as a map for inner attunement; and the third, helps the therapist with his/her own counter-transference and use of “self.” The end-point of all three perspectives is to provide the therapist with skills for helping couples move from Despair and Rupture to Repair and Connection. Using the principles of interpersonal attunement and intrapersonal attunement will provide a map of the terrain that needs to be covered when working with couples in crisis. Having a clear navigational system that includes exploring counter-transference reactions will ultimately enable us to effectively help couples heal and grow through crisis.

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe the Imago-based model of interpersonal and inner attunement for working with couples in crisis.

  • Explain the therapist’s role in establishing a safe and empathic structure when couples are polarized and in crisis.

  • Utilize Imago processes to promote secure attachment and emotion regulation in an insecure, dys-regulated couple system.

  •  Describe and clinically use a relational neuroscience metaphor of the mind, The Wheel of Awareness, to expand Imago’s relational paradigm.

  • Assess the therapist’s counter-transference and potential for vicarious traumatization when working with crisis couples.

Advanced Clinical Skills 1:

Brilliant At the Basics


This course is designed to review, deepen and expand the theory and clinical skills taught in the Imago Clinical Training. You will learn to move beyond the mechanics of facilitation, and learn the artful and creative use of sentence stems, doubling, and focusing. You will also learn to integrate the four “meta theories” of Imago with these deepening tools, making the theory practical in everyday use with couples. This also gives the therapist a lens to make interventions based on the couples’ level of differentiation, safety, and developmental stage.

Video clips will be used to show the dynamic of a couple before an intervention, the intervention, and how the dynamic of the couple changes after the intervention. Through lecture, video-tape, live demonstration and practice, you will deepen your understanding and ability to effectively move couples into vulnerability, connection and repair. Our goal is that you leave this training with an expanded understanding of how and why to use different interventions at different times, and to support you in being creative within the structure of the dialogue process.

Learning Objectives:

  • Deepen the dialogue process through advanced use of sentence stems, doubling, and focusing.

  • Apply integration of the four “meta theories” of Imago with the deepening tools.

  • Utilize the Parent-Child Dialogue and BCR processes.

  • Observe how, when, and why to best use each of the Imago processes.

The Attuned Therapist:

Working with Reactivity and Resistance

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:

  • Recognize those couples who present a personal ‘challenge’ and how to use inner attunement and embodied presence, to stay present and available when challenged.

  • 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

  • Establish a safe and empathic structure when couples are evidencing reactivity and resistance.

  • Identify where clients are developmentally and respond appropriately in response to what may be surfacing with regard to unmet needs.

  • Understand emotion from the perspective of connection and disconnection, and the polarities of joy and anxiety

Giving and Receiving Love

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:

  • Describe the difficulty to receive and to give with couples

  • Assess and explain the unconscious collusion

  • Demonstrate all the Imago processes in the perspective of enhancing giving and receiving

Characterological Growth:

The Three Day Experience

This course is designed to go deeply into the ways your defenses and your character structure affects others.  Another purpose is to grow your container so you can be big enough to hold all that life hands you and to help you rock between the joy and the sorrow of life.  As Geneen Roth says, “The purpose of being alive is not to be forever happy.  That is impossible.  The purpose is to rock between the pain of the past and the promise of the present and be in the present more and more of the time and to be able to share all that is inside us with those around us.”

Learning Objectives:

  • Gain tools and insights to work with reactive patterns as they show up in clients and in ones own behavior.

  • Participate in the experience of personal growth by way of linking defenses to developmental stages.

  • Strengthen your personal skills for being more in the present more of the time.

  • Learn and practice exercises that clarify self-defeating patterns and create new neural pathways, for clinical and personal application.

  • Celebrate vibrant aliveness as you practice shifting more and more into self-aware consciousness.

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