FAQs about Imago Couples Workshops

What can I expect?

The workshop for couples is based on Imago Relationship Therapy, developed by Harville Hendrix, PhD of Imago Relationships International. This workshop is currently offered in more than 20 countries and over 100,000 couples have attended. Harville Hendrix is Oprah's favorite therapist and she publicizes his work regularly. Some of the basic elements of Imago Relationship Therapy have been described in a popularized version in a few of their bestselling books:  'Getting the Love You Want',  Keeping the Love You Find', Making Marriage Simple', 'Receiving Love' 

The Getting the Love You Want, couples begin to profoundly understand what brought them together, why they are where they are in their relationship and how to begin to chart the course they both want for the future.

The couples workshop focuses your relationship with your partner. Except for a brief introduction, couples work either alone or with their partner and are not expected to share anything with the larger group unless they choose to do so during feedback times.

Rather than passively absorbing lecture materials, participants will initiate a deeper understanding of their partner and a rediscovery of their relationship. At times they write about their needs and frustrations in the relationship and then are given a format which allows them to share that information with their partner in a way that encourages understanding rather than defensiveness and blame. The couples workshop always builds on a positive and compassionate framework, thus allowing each person in the relationship to truly feel heard and understood. 

What is the format of the Getting the Love You Want Couples Workshop?

The format includes short lectures, live demonstrations, written exercises, personal reflections, plus plenty of time to practice with your partner, the skills you will learn throughout the weekend retreat.

What is the schedule for the couples workshop?

We begin Saturday morning at 8am and finish at 7pm. On Sunday morning, we begin at 8am and finish at 6pm. You will have one and a quarter hours for lunch and a few breaks during the day.

Please plan to attend for the entire weekend retreat. Each piece of the couples workshop builds on the one before it, so arriving on time and being present for each piece is essential. Also, it's important not to allow family or business matters to interrupt once you begin the workshop.

Dress is casual and comfortable. Please dress in layers as room temperatures vary. Bring pillows or whatever else you need for your comfort.

Will we have to speak in front of the group?

No, your privacy is important. We encourage you to participate to your comfort level but you are not required to speak in front of the group.

While couples are invited to participate and to build a supportive group atmosphere, they are not pressured into un-welcomed self-disclosure. The couples workshop emphasizes partners sharing with each other. You will not need to share with the larger group unless you so choose.

The focus of the retreat is to work with your partner to establish a loving connection. While you are invited to share your insights and experiences within the larger group, all such sharing is optional. You will be asked to share and communicate with your partner in structured ways designed to enhance understanding and empathy. While it is impossible to guarantee confidentiality in a group setting, every attempt is made to respect it and to encourage all participants to respect it. Name tags will have first name only. Any other information given at registration is kept confidential by our office.

THIS COUPLES WORKSHOP IS NOT GROUP THERAPY. You and your partner will spend most of the workshop practicing the skills you are learning in private. The Imago weekend couples workshops are intensive, powerful and extremely positive. Yet, it is not a quick fix. It gives you an understanding of what is really going on in your relationships, a road map of the journey, and the tools needed to achieve a deep and lasting partnership. Everything you will learn is practical. An added bonus is that you will easily take what you learn home and utilize this knowledge in all aspects your daily life – with friends, family, children and colleagues.

Who should attend?

  • Couples who want to make a "good" relationship even richer and more fulfilling
  • Couples who feel "stuck" or stagnant in their relationship and want to renew the intimacy with their partner
  • Couples undecided about staying together
  • Couples who may be moving toward separation or who are separated and want to know if it is worth putting energy into saving the relationship
  • Couples who may be in early stages of a relationship and are looking at the possibility of a deeper commitment to their relationship
  • Couples preparing for marriage, or for persons who have been married before and don't want to make the same mistakes in their current relationship
  • Therapists (with their significant other) who want to know about the workshop for their own information or because they have clients who may benefit from the workshop

Does it matter what stage our relationship is in?

Couples come to our couples workshops at all different stages of a relationship: some are at the beginning of their relationship; some have just made commitments to each other; some are newly married; some have been together for many years; some are considering a separation/divorce, and some are already separated. Some couples are longing for a miracle; and some want to take an already good and stable relationship to a deeper level.

By the end of the couples workshop retreat, both you and your partner will have a clear and real sense of what's going on with each other. You will have learned how to connect in a powerful way with each other. You will understand your partner in a new way and they will understand you in the way you have always wanted. With a clear picture of your partner's world and knowledge of your couple "dance", you can then move forward in a way that works for both of you.

My relationship is falling apart and I don't even know if I want to stay in it. What will I learn in the couples workshop?

If you are currently in a committed relationship and you feel like giving up, we recommend that both of you come to this couples workshop. Many couples find new hope and optimism as a result of what they learn at the couples workshop. For the most part, couples leave the workshop with new energy, tools, and hope for the road ahead. Even if your relationship is at a point that seems extremely challenging or hopeless, this couples workshop will help you decide what to do next. It will give both of you a better idea of what is possible and help you make the necessary decisions in a more conscious way, rather than from a place of hurt and reaction.

Even if you decide to end the relationship, Imago 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. Regardless of having children or not, it is important to understand how to co-created your current relationship. For the most part, couples leave the couples workshop with new energy for the road ahead.

Isn't the fact that we are having so much difficulty a sign that we are not "right for each other"?

Actually, Imago theory believes that the difficulties we experience in a relationship arise from our lack of awareness about what we're doing in our relationships, not from our choice of partners. If we are in a committed relationship, we are usually with the "right partner".

We work hard at our relationship but nothing ever changes for the better.

Working harder but doing the same thing over and over while expecting something different to happen, won't work. To get a different result, you have to do something different. All of us usually need to be taught concrete relationship skills, tools and practical strategies. That is exactly what a Getting the Love You Want Couples Workshop is designed to do.

Does Imago Therapy apply to different "types" of couples?

Imago Therapy applies to all couples, regardless of sexual orientation, ethnic or racial background, religion, personal history, or level of education.

Is this couples workshop appropriate for same sex partners?

Yes, absolutely. Gay and lesbian couples are most welcome to attend our regularly scheduled workshops. We strive to create a safe environment that includes diversity in both sexual orientation and cultures. Gay and Lesbian couples face all the issues that other couples do, plus have to deal with issues unique to them. Occasionally, upon request, we will facilitate a Getting the Love You Want couples workshop for gay and lesbian couples only.

Is the couples workshop religious?

No. Care is taken to respect each individual's personal and religious values without judgment or attempts to change them. Hopefully, those with a religious background will learn to draw on that as a valuable resource in co-creating a successful marriage or relationship. We encourage people attending the workshop to use whatever images and language they are comfortable with in incorporating the concepts of relationship.

I want to attend your couples workshop but my partner is not that interested. Is that a problem?

Many couples who attend the Getting the Love You Want workshop come with one person who is very interested and the other very much less so. This is completely normal. Quite often, the "dragged-along" partner becomes even more enthusiastic and excited about what he or she is learning because they realize their needs might actually get met. Believe it or not you will learn not only why this is possible but also essential for both people in the relationship.

Generally 60 to 70 per cent of men are "dragged-along" to our couples workshops under threat of divorce/separation. They frequently become excited as they grasp that we are teaching tools that work. As one man told us at the end of the workshop, "I'm sad to realize how much damage and pain could have been avoided if I had known about and used these skills years earlier."

» Click here too read "A Man's Perspective on going to the Workshop"

Can just one partner from the relationship attend the couples workshop?

No. The very nature of the workshop promotes interaction and deeper understanding between the two partners. Both partners must attend and should plan to commit to staying for the entire couples workshop from start to finish.

Do I have to have read Harville Hendrix's books in order to take a workshop? And do I have to be in therapy?

People attend this workshop at various stages in their relationship journey. Some have done a lot of reading, therapy and personal growth; others not as much. There are no prerequisites for attending the workshop, but if you are currently in therapy it would be wise to discuss your attendance with your therapist. They will be in the best place to assist you after the couples workshop for any follow-up. We are available to consult with your therapist about the processes taught at the couples workshop if you and they desire.

If you are currently seeing a therapist, we encourage you to make a timely appointment afterwards in order to consolidate the gains made from the workshop.

Which is better, attending a workshop or going to weekly therapy? And if I want to attend a workshop, which should I do first?

Each provides a different and unique experience. We recommend going to a workshop as soon as you and your partner can arrange it. It provides concrete skills that you and your partner can integrate immediately into your lives. However, some people like to become a little more familiar with the material, and have the therapist familiar with them, before attending. We'd be happy to discuss your particular situation with you individually. The couple's workshop has been designed for couples who have never been to therapy and do not plan on going as well as couples who have been in therapy for some time.

What if we have to cancel?

Our cancellation policy is as follows:

If you cancel 14 or more days prior to the workshop, you will be refunded your payment less $150. Cancellation of 13 days or less will result in the loss of 50% of fee. In situations where you need to cancel due to unforeseen circumstances, we offer a one time opportunity to transfer your deposit to one of our future workshops within one year. Your registration is nonrefundable if you do not attend or do not complete the workshop. The presenters are not responsible for prepaid, nonrefundable travel arrangements. If the presenters cancel the workshop, a full refund will be made.

What is the cost?

The fee for the weekend is $750 per couple. The fee includes:

  • Tuition
  • Each person will also receive a Getting the Love You Want couples workshop manual written by Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt, the co-founders of Imago Relationship therapy

A discount is available for therapists who attend with their partners and couples who wish to attend the workshop again.

Please complete the registration form and send it in with payment of $750.

Is the fee covered by extended health benefits?

Some benefit plans will reimburse couples for therapy sessions and intensive sessions. Check your policy for details. The Getting the Love You Want couples workshop is typically not covered.

I have already attended a Getting the Love You Want couples workshop. Can I attend again?

Yes, couples are welcome to attend our couples workshop again. Some couples who repeat the workshop find that because they are at a different place in their relationship, they hear new things and receive a broader understanding of what they heard previously. Some couples attend numerous times because they find the couples workshop so helpful. In addition, couples who return receive a tuition discount.

What kind of follow up is available after the workshop?

We offer many options for follow up as many couples find it useful to have some additional coaching in order to fully integrate the Imago material into their lives.

  1. 90 minute therapy sessions for couples on an ongoing basis.
  2. Half-day, one-day or two-day intensive sessions for couples. These intensive sessions are instrumental in helping couples who either live out of town or find themselves stuck in a struggle requiring more in-depth work.