I first discovered Imago whilst writing my doctoral dissertation on couple relationships, through an article, “The State of the Union in the 90s,” in a little Homemaker magazine that came through my door. It mentioned the book “Getting the Love You Want” which I bought and read. It changed my life. I attended a 3 day pre-conference workshop in San Antonio, Texas, and signed my husband and myself up for the “Getting…” workshop. I actually gave it to him for his birthday present because I thought he needed it! It was a big awakening for both of us and we have been on the journey together ever since. It hasn’t always been easy but one or other of us has always had the wisdom to eventually say “Let’s Dialogue about this”, which invariably brings us back into connection with each other, and reminds us of the love which underlies all of our passionate struggles. We now offer the workshops together on-line and around the world and I offer training in English and French.
Sophie has a passion for bringing Imago to public and professional audiences around the world. Sophie is an Imago Therapist, Workshop Presenter and Senior Clinical Instructor who loves collaborating with colleagues to create new Imago courses. She has been actively involved in Imago for over 30 years. Sophie is known for developing a non-judgmental, safe and fun learning environment for participants from all backgrounds with diverse learning styles, for her bawdy poetry and for her writings on Imago. She works out of Montreal, Canada and London, England. MY STORY: I grew up in London, England, lived in Marseilles, France, for a year and emigrated to Canada on my own at age 19. I worked as a secretary but in my 20s, after my first 2 children were born, I started studying to become a psychologist. My Imago journey began in 1991 when “Homemaker” magazine came through my door containing an article on relationships “The State of the Union in the 90s” mentioning “Getting the Love You Want” by Harville Hendrix. I was just completing my doctoral dissertation on couple relationships so my curiosity was tweaked. I bought the book and wished I’d written it! I attended a 3-day pre-conference given by Harville at the American Group Psychotherapy Association conference in San Antonio, Texas. It was a pivotal experience for me and I knew immediately that I wanted to train in Imago. I gave the “Getting the Love You Want” workshop to my husband, David, for his birthday that year because I thought he needed it! I believed I knew all about couple relationships having studied them for 10 years for my doctorate. The workshop was a humbling experience as I realized that I was contributing as much as my husband to the challenges in our relationship and I knew as little as he did about how to create a good relationship. We were both on our second marriages and not in a good place. After we got home we gradually started using the new skills we had learned. When we did we got to a deeper level of loving understanding. When we didn’t we got further apart. I trained in Imago in New York from January to June 1992 with an amazing group of therapists and dedicated group of faculty. Master Trainer, Maya Kollman, made a particularly strong impression on me when she presented on working with diversity. My training group seemed to bond so deeply using the Imago tools and a group of 8 of us met every two months or so for a couple of years. Our partners were included in that so we could work on our own relationships. I also joined a group of 7 couples that we called Couples Camp with the same end – we have met for one week a year for over 20 years to work and play together. The more I used Imago in my relationship with David the more it made sense to me and the more it helped to transform our relationship. These personal experiences enriched my work with couples and highlighted the benefits and challenges. I find it very satisfying offering the skills and theory to couples in my office and to see many of them transform their relationships. Over the years I have continued to attend advanced Imago trainings including more about working with singles in this model which I found very helpful in my work with couples as well as individual clients. The ‘Keeping the Love You Find” workshop material really helped me look much more at my own contribution to the challenges in our relationship rather than scrutinizing what David was doing wrong – an old pattern of mine. I facilitated a 6-week group for Baptist Ministers and their wives and decided I wanted to become a workshop presenter so I could give the “Getting the Love You Want” workshop to groups of couples. Around this time faculty member Gene Shelly came to Ottawa to present a workshop I organized and I was so taken with how he integrated my 6 month old granddaughter into the presentation. He encouraged me a great deal. I went back to New York to take this training and started offering the workshops in 1995. Giving these workshops has been one of the great joys of my life – perhaps I’m a bit of a ham at heart but I love presenting this material, which makes so much sense and is so useful to so many couples. I love seeing them benefit from being in a group with others who are also struggling with their relationships, just as David and I have. I love presenting the workshops around the world with David, who took the Educator Track of the Imago Clinical Training in 1995. He has been with me on this journey every step of the way, sometimes a little behind me, sometimes a little ahead but I am so grateful he has always been willing to do the work with me even when it hasn’t been easy. I’d criticize in some way, he’d get reactive and storm out, but he always came back and we’d try again until we were able to be kinder and gentler with each other. The changes in our relationship have certainly impacted our children – with all the complexities of a “blended” family and I see my son and daughters’ relationships benefit from Imago. When I became a faculty member my passion for Imago continued to grow. I develop a fondness for and commitment to each of my trainees as they embrace and struggle to integrate the Imago theory and skills into their lives and their work. I love to watch them blossom in their confidence and competence, each in their own way at their own pace, from their first day to their certification and beyond. I work to create a really safe, fun environment, within which each trainee can do their own personal work as well as learn professionally. I also love creating new courses, at times working with other faculty, such as the Relational Self, The Journey of Change, Imago through the Developmental Lens, Growing into Competence in Imago and others. David and I have recently developed a “Satisfying Sex for Committed Couples” workshop and I am writing a book to elaborate on the workshop and offer additional material and Dialogues. Imago has completely transformed my life personally and professionally. I get to experience the joys of a wonderful, and very occasionally still challenging, relationship with David, through which we continue to grow. I get to travel the world doing work that I love and that feels meaningful to me. David and I are working on a book together of weekly assignments with ideas and stories. I hope to be able to find more time in the future to write, based on all I have learnt about relationships from my clients, my colleagues and of course David.
TRAININGS BY (Sophie)
Imago through a Developmental Lens Advanced CourseDATE:STARTS May 30, 2024