Definition volunteer: A person who works for an organization without being paid
For various logistical reasons, I did not write an August newsletter so what you’re reading now, is a combined newsletter for August and September. Through the gift and magic of synchronicity, two seemingly unrelated topics, share a common thread. This is a long read, and I ask you to #not turn away……
In August 2018, I dedicated our newsletter to men – click here to read.
We explicitly and unequivocally condemn violence, in all its manifestations. Because of the paradigm from which we work, which is deeply rooted in attachment theory and pschyo-neurobiology we understand we are not born violent, we are socially and culturally initiated into violence. This is why we support the strong and important call for us, as a society, as parents, as a body of professionals to dismantle the privileges, behaviors, rituals and messages of patriarchy and to parent and partner consciously.
It was a conscious choice, this year, to not write about the scourge of violence perpetrated by men against women and children. Because NOTHING HAS CHANGED, another piece of writing about it, seemed quite pointless and superfluous.
And then on 07 September my friend, and fellow board member, Mapule Ratshefola and I did a piece of voluntary/pro-bono work and facilitated a conversation at Constitution Hill in response to a call from the convener, a young, intelligent lawyer who needed a space for her pain and her fear and her burning questions; “What contribution can I make to ease the pain of this and what do I do with my pain, my horror, my despair”
It is clear to many of us, that the marches, minutes of silence, the campaigns, the wearing of special colours are token symbols of activism. They serve to register our protest and they serve to keep the spotlight on issues, until we feel dissuaded by the futility of our efforts, the frustration of our ignored voices and the heaviness of our pain and fear, OR, until something else draws public attention.
Indeed, how does one protect and nourish one’s soul and spirit when day after day, without fail, we see evidence of our darkness, of our ability to hurt each other in unimaginable ways. How do we feel hope, how do we keep rising strong, how do we keep doing the work? Why should we? And what does it mean to make a difference?
I have my answer, what is yours?
I will share a few pieces of inspiration with you, which carries me through. What has been the impact of recent events on you; of the undeniable misogyny, of the relentless violence perpetrated by men against women and children, of the acute vulnerability of children in the grasp of dysfunctional, powerful parents? We would love to hear from you.
Please let us know whether you need a place to sit, in community, in dialogue, in safety, to process what is happening around you and how we can support you. Click here for E-mail link.
When I heard the title of South African businessman and leader, Bonang Mohale’s book, Lift as you Rise, I was already moved, without even having read it. Four simple words, when put together, that captures something so incredibly powerful. It calls on us to feel a responsibility to and solidarity with other human beings; that as you strive and work and grow and rise, do so with a conscious intention of lifting others around you.
On 5th August 2019 Toni Morrison, the legendary African-American novelist, social activist and teacher passed away. Through her work and her words, she left an indelible footprint. In an interview with Oprah she is quoted as saying I tell my students, ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else,” she said in a November 2003 O, The Oprah Magazine interview.
“Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously headed for early success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed. The more unpromising the situation in which we demonstrate hope, the deeper that hope is. Hope is not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out. In short, I think that the deepest and most important form of hope, the only one that can keep us above water and urge us to good works, and the only true source of the breathtaking dimension of the human spirit and its efforts, is something we get, as it were, from ‘elsewhere.’ It is also this hope, above all, that gives us the strength to live and continually to try new things, even in conditions that seem as hopeless as ours do, here and now.”
It is against this backdrop and with this spirit that we call on you to heed the national call #Don’t turn away. Volunteer, respond thoughtfully, give your time, your money, your care. Give a damn!
And it is against this backdrop and with this spirit, that I introduce the Imago Africa 2019 Board to you. I am so grateful for Imago and I reflect that had it not been for the efforts of a handful of volunteers, who literally and figuratively, freely gave up time and effort and energy, Imago would not have reached our shores and we would all be the poorer for it, as would our clients. It was only after I joined the board, that I realized what sacrifices had been made by people before me, those who had volunteered in order to create a professional community and to keep it alive.
Hold this in mind, as each board member introduces themselves to you, and shares a little of themselves and their journey.
A Personal Story
My journey with Imago began a long time ago. It began way back even before I knew what I was going to be when I grow up. Years later I found myself living in America (1996-2005). It was in that time that I worked in the Memorial South West Hospital in Houston when I first heard the word “IMAGO”, yet not fully comprehending it.
Upon returning to my homeland with three girls in 2005, my life took a turn pushing me full throttle into the arms of IMAGO. My and Johan’s marriage was in trouble and lo and behold, it was an Imago Couples Workshop that turned the entire course of my life. In the first place I knew without a doubt that Imago work was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Regarding my marriage the greatest change was that we knew we loved one another regardless what came up, or what power struggle happened for us. In other words, I can say we have a pre-Imago marriage and a post-Imago marriage.
Not only did Imago save my marriage, but it also gave me a deep cellular understanding and vocabulary enabling me to express what was living inside of me all these years. What a relief! It was a transformational paradigm shift.
That was the beginning of my Love affair with Imago. Those who know me well, will agree that I am an Imago addict. I completed my clinical training in 2011 and haven’t looked back since.
As my involvement increased, so did my passion and total amazement of the impact of this work in my personal and professional life. Belonging to this community has enriched my life beyond measures. How so you ask? When I think of love, this community has lived it authentically, given it unconditionally and selflessly, inspiring me with contagious positive energy. I am honoured and proud to belong and serve alongside each and every one volunteering themselves and their time so selflessly.
The Board Story:
Needless to say, my affiliation with Imago Africa and my clinical certificate is more valuable than belonging to any other Professional organisation or degree. So, it was in 2015-2016 term that I joined the board as an executive member. In time I couldn’t help myself but move from silent observer to participate in whatever endeavour the Board dished up. Why do you ask? To me it is simple: I love the people, I love the work and I love the impact of the work. Accepting the shoes of my portfolio, although daunting, seemed like an opportunity to continue serving alongside an incredible team of people who also serve because of their love and passion. It can only be win-win, right?
For those who don’t know, Imago has undergone a radical change beginning July 2019. The international community is shifting to make this work accessible to more people. With this vision Imago Relationships International has become Imago Relationships Worldwide. This change leaves us with the reality that the Board of this term (2019-2020), is faced with new beginnings, new challenges, new possibilities and opportunity for greater national impact. (You will surely read more about this in future newsletters.)
The Vision Story:
If you would indulge me. My deepest desire looking to the horizon into the future, I see Imago Africa, fully alive, flowing-pulsating-healing energy and I see transformation on a national level. I see a supportive community supporting relationships, supporting the training of professionals and supporting Imago Africa. The vehicle for this dream is envisioned through these simple words: inspire, inflame, increase, and impact.
Inspire: To inspire Imago practitioners and others to live their dream and their own vision for this work, making their own positive contributions in whatever capacity.
Inflame: The Imago Blaze takes off like a wildfire, burning passion in the lives of all that it touches.
Increase: The Imago Community increases and there is a sense of belonging and inclusivity.
Impact: South African relationships of all kinds and all levels are transforming, life giving and fully alive.
….. and there is always more!
I look forward to the continuation of this story and living this dream with all of you.
I accepted this role, because the role of the vice chair is to support the chair, to take the overflow of the work, to listen, to soundboard new ideas from the Chair, to give input when asked for and to stay very close to the chair in order to strengthen her hands to lead the Community. Being a Vice Chair is almost like a woman’s bra: it gives support for the Lady to look her best and feel comfortable while doing her everyday job. That is
exactly what I’m good at and like doing. I’m also very proud of and loyal to the Imago brand and I want to add value to the bigger community. I want the whole of SA to benefit from this richly rewarding relationship way of life. What we benefit to serve as Board members, is the opportunity to stretch and grow and heal while we are doing the work. That is relationship “on the go”. It is therefore an absolute privilege and adventure to serve on the Board with my Imago – my husband Stefan Uys.
My vision for Imago Africa is to get the work accredited with a regulatory body, so that more people’s interest will be drawn to this very effective and different way of connecting and relating. I dreamt of Harville and Helen visiting SA since 2013 when I qualified for my Clinical Training and enrolled for the Professional Facilitator programme immediately thereafter. It seems like that dream is going to materialize in 2021 when Imago Africa is going to host the 1st ever International Imago Conference in SA in Cape Town.
Meaningful relationships is a deep routed value of mine and the Imago Community gives me a platform to practice this value in a safe space. It was recently that I was confronted with exactly this. I was on the team looking for potential venues for the Conference, when I fell seriously ill and were hospitalized in Cape Town and stayed 2 weeks longer than planned. It was during this difficult time far from home that I again experienced the love and care of the Imago community. Many of my Imago colleagues became friends over a period of time – deeply meaningful, connected, precious friends. I had the privilege to be visited by my fellow Imago friends in and around Cape Town while hospitalized. Grete and Theuns came to visit me in the Panorama Mediclinic and we had our planned meetings at my bedside in the hospital with a lovely view of Table Mountain in the background. There were also countless phone calls, SMS’ and WhatsApp’s to support me from a distance from the whole of the Imago Community. Thank you all for holding me in that very painful place and granting me the opportunity to serve this community.
With lots of love, growth and especially healing
I accepted the nomination as I felt that is where I felt comfortable to add value to the organization. I know that managing money properly is key in running a successful business and it would fit my personal profile well.
I volunteered my time to help the organization grow and to get the name and message that Imago stands for out into the world of relationships. Its all about growing.
My vision for Imago is to see it touch as many lives as possible. And to make a permanent impact. It is nice to see the “wow” moment in people’s eyes when they experience the work, but to hear from them a year or two later that they are still doing the work, that is very satisfying. That is growth and progress.
My vision for the portfolio is to see Imago grow into a fully-fledged NPO with all the bells and whistles. An organization to be taken seriously by the industry, thus making permanent change and growth possible.
I had to give up some of my time and effort on a continuous basis. I also had to stretch and grow in my personal life, even at times when I really did not want to. I also had to make some life choices to live the Imago values and to do the work myself. Sometimes that is hard!
What I get out is enormous love and support from the Imago community in difficult times in my life like recently when my wife fell ill. it’s all about genuine love and care and looking out for each other. Experiencing true friendship and deep connection with my fellow colleagues and friends is what it’s all about.
I serve Imago Africa as an International representative.
And my role internationally is as Steward of the Board of Imago Relationships Worldwide (IRW) and as the co-Facilitator of the ICCC.
Why do I serve?
I love this community. I love what Imago stands for. My life has been enriched beyond measure both privately and professionally as a result of my training and involvement with Imago Africa and now IRW. I have met and become friends with Imago practitioners all over the world from New York and England to Vienna and Australia.
I continue to serve because I want to give back, this organization to grow and because I believe Imago offers a profound understanding of relationships and the space between. For too long the discipline of Psychology and Psychotherapy has been dominated by the concept of the Self. I have always lived by the belief that serving humanity brings greater joy than serving myself. As I continue to offer whatever I can to IA and IRW I am convinced we can make a profound difference to the world, to families and to communities. I long for the day when the Imago Dialogue and other tools underpinned by the tenets of Imago are part of the curriculum in schools and universities. Our world needs to embrace the Relational paradigm and an understanding of the power of connectedness and Ubuntu.
I serve Imago because it has served me and because I have learnt what true communion and real love feel like. Being part of this community has become so much part of my life and I intend to stay connected for many years to come!
I certified as an Imago facilitator in 2013. My training was a critical turning point in my life as I was encouraged to face myself, to understand who I was, the events and experiences that shaped me and then, unlike before, to start making conscious choices about who I wanted to be.
I joined the board in 2016. In July 2018 I accepted the portfolio of newsletter writer. The story I make up, is that this was one way, to get me off the soap-box and communicate more thoughtfully. Not only do I have strong opinions, but I feel very obliged to share my views….
On a more serious note, it is an honor for me to have this role. When I write, I write to you, as if I am having a conversation with my readers. My vision is to build relationship with the community, and to attract people from the outside, into our community whether it is to train or to use our range of services.
When I write, it gives me an opportunity to deepen and clarify my own thinking and to find out about other perspectives and other ways of being. I write in the hope of provoking your thinking and your doing. I write to honour the work that we are doing.
My portfolio is training. I have the privilege to do this together with Michele Naude. This portfolio is responsible for the training of therapists and facilitators in South Africa. Also, for the ongoing training and supervision of therapists. This portfolio also needs to connect with the Imago International Training Institute and faculty. We need to attend one Zoom meeting a month and one to two face to face meetings a year. This ensure that we stay connected with the international community. Also, to make sure that training all over the world is of high standing quality and that we teach from the same relational paradigm.
My vision for our Imago community with training is to establish a well-connected clinical and professional community that is equipped to do excellent couples’ therapy and relationship facilitation. Imago Relationship Therapy must become the preferred couple’s therapy in the clinical community.
Another vision I have is to bring the training in a more affordable and practical way to therapists and facilitators through online training.
My Imago Journey started many years ago and gained impetus when I attended a GTLYW workshop in 2008. I “knew” that this was work I needed to embark on both personally and professionally. Four days later I began my ICT with Rebecca Sears and I have to say that this has been THE most exciting adventure of my life!
I feel honoured to be a Clinical Instructor for Imago. Imago Africa benefitted greatly from the wise and clear tuition from Kobus van der Merwe, world-esteemed Imago trainer. It is under his tutelage that I began this journey and my passion for training is matched only by my passion for facilitating healthy relating in couples, families and communities in our awesome country. It is such a joy and gift to contribute to the growing number of relational practitioners and trust that as a Team we can co-create transformation across diverse sectors.
I served as Imago Africa chair from 2011-2014 and continue to serve under the inspirational leadership of Sonia Kruger and the rest of the Board. I am so grateful to be able to have a diverse and creative community to share joint learnings, experiences and adventures and contribute what I can to the co-creation of relational health.
Thank you for your part in growing our community and I look forward to sharing many more connecting moments together.
As Margaret Wheatley challenges us.. “Who do you choose to be for this time? Are you willing to use whatever power and influence you have to create islands of sanity that evoke and rely on our best human qualities to create, relate, and persevere?”
Join us today and make a difference!!
I became part of the Imago Community after my qualification as an Imago Clinical Therapist in 2007. I was fortunate to attend various workshops and trainings with our own South African guru, Kobus vd Merwe and the world renowned Heidie Schleifer from the USA.
The wisdom and principles of Imago Therapy changed my life and my marriage for the good. It resonated with my passion for people and connection between people. The Imago Community became my new family whom I love and trust with all my vulnerabilities.
My Imago family mirrored me back into my essence and therefore I want to show my gratitude by being Sonia Kruger’s cheer leader (our wonderful and capable Chair) and also the cheerleader of our enthusiastic and formidable Imago Africa board. I’m also a huge fan and supporter of our loving Chapter’s head, Tildie de Villiers.
I have been representing the Namibian Chapter on the Imago Africa Board for a number of years. The members on the Imago Africa Board have become friends and chavrusa’s – the Hebrew word for a small group of students who form a learning partnership and arrives at new insights together.
My role as chapter head has been purely voluntary and fuelled by my own interest and curiosity to keep on learning and growing. The main focus for me over the years was to organize Advanced Imago trainings in Namibia. The trainings made it possible for Namibian therapists to benefit from the experience and knowledge of international Advanced Clinicians on home turf.
I am a practicing Imago Relationship Therapist for the past 20 years. I also present couples’ workshops, workshops for singles and parenting workshops. Lately I have also ventured into offering training for therapists interested in deepening their understanding of relational work. I am a member of the international community of Encounter-centred Couples Therapists founded by relationship therapist and teacher Hedy Schleifer from Washington DC.
My husband De Wet and I are married for more than 28 years. We share the joys and challenges of a relationship in which we have chosen to be best friends and partners for life. We are parents of two young adults who form part of our circle of chavrusa’s.
Portfolio: Marketing (Noisemaker)
The noisemaker portfolio is about making as much noise as possible about the great work we do, for individuals, for couples, and within the community. It should be a loud noise but also a beautiful noise (cue Neil Diamond 😉 to help grow our Imago family and add more diversity, richness and reach.
I volunteered because I love making noise about the stuff I really care for. This noise needs structure, depth and volume and that is why I am calling on anyone that’s part of our Imago family (or extended family) to stand up, shout out loud (or whisper powerfully ;)) and join the Marketing task group (we are noisy AND nice!) My vision for Imago Africa is an eclectic band made up of the most wonderful, unique and weird instruments and voices where everyone feels they belong and are valued. This is the spirit of the dance we want to invoke in every relationship.
My portfolio as GP Chapter Head entails arranging 4 get-together’s per year for Imago Clinicians and -Facilitators in the region; structuring the program for the specific meeting and inviting presenters from within or outside the Imago community to present a relevant topic. The focus of these meetings are always to connect, create shared learnings and encourage each other.
I volunteered my time because I’m passionate about connecting people and building the Imago community.
My vision for Imago and the work we do is to connect members within each region to support, encourage, uplift and help one another grow and thrive to be better equipped to help the couples and individuals that cross our paths.
Dear Imago Africans
I came home professionally, personally and relationally in 2004 when I did my clinical training in Imago Relationship Therapy.
Since then my Imago family has been an integral part of my being-in-the-world. The strong sense of belonging and safety that I experience when I’m with them is invaluable. This I have encountered both here in our beloved country and overseas with international Imago practitioners.
For those of you who don’t know, since June this year Imago Relationships International (IRI) focuses exclusively on research. Evidence-based support is increasingly important to keep our work relevant and draw couples to Imago.
Imago Relationships Worldwide (IRW) is the new organisation for all Imago practitioners. Unlike the old IRI it no longer is a membership-based organisation. Instead, it is fully reliant on donations and/or subscriptions for its continued existence. You may well have received the campaign email.
I’m a representative of IRW and I strongly encourage you to seriously consider supporting this umbrella body. It creates a forum for connection, communication (support and otherwise) and conferences, and helps us be an active part of a global community. Without IRW we will not have an international body to provide a structure to hold everyone across the world in a Circle of Belonging, Growth and Healing.
My vision for Imago Africa and Imago Relationships Worldwide is to continue connecting, supporting, growing and soaring so that we can truly say that we are changing the world one relationship at a time.
It is for these reasons, for my belief in this work, for the power of connection and belonging that I volunteer my time to contribute actively to sustaining this precious entity. Currently I attend IRW zoom meetings every week on Mondays, Tuesday and Thursdays. Even though it is time-consuming, I gladly dedicate this time as a volunteer. It is my way of giving back my gratitude for the blessing of being able to do this work and being a part of such an incredibly special community.
Please contact me for further details. We are always looking for additional volunteers. It also keeps you updated with the very latest developments and can be a source of inspiration.
I am a social worker in private practice since 1994 specialising in relationship counselling, and beforehand I worked at FAMSA (the Family and Marriage Society of South Africa ). I studied Family and Marriage Therapy in my Masters Degree and my masters thesis explored effect of self employment on marriage. I have been involved with Imago Africa for more than 20 years and find the experiential learning and connection with colleagues to be the main reason why I keep coming back. Recently I completed my PhD which examined contemporary isiZulu marriage and marriage counselling.
Most of us in the KZN chapter share the tasks of the Diggers (Durban Imago Group). We take it in turns to do a presentation or video for our monthly meetings which are CPD accredited by the HPCSA, and we also take it in turns to host the meetings at our various offices/homes, and take it in turns to bring some snacks for the meeting. So it is a very collaborative process. The monthly meetings last 3 hours each. We have been fortunate in Durban that Michele Naude and Carol Dixon have led the chapter very effectively and efficiently in the past, and continue to do so as supports in the background. I have been involved in the Diggers from the beginning, which is approximately 20 years now, and so when Carol left the country, I was asked to assist with the logistics of the Diggers which I am very happy to do. I have benefitted hugely from these meetings in the past. We take time to discuss issues regarding Imago Worldwide and Imago Africa; then there is the presentation which is often followed by an experiential exercise relating to the topic. As a result we are growing as therapists and in our relationships. The workshop presenters have their own meetings, and as Imago Relationship Therapists we are fortunate to be able to refer our couples to the GTLYW workshops which are held approximately every two months. Michele has also organised advanced training for us such as the Characterological Workshop, and the Brilliant at the Basics. We have an amazing community here in Durban and I encourage any new trainees to join a chapter, either face to face or online.
I accept my position on the Imago Board as representative of the Western Cape and facilitators.
As a facilitator myself, I see my role as one to contact the active and non-active group of Imago facilitators in South Africa. I am available to listen to their views and reasons why some of them are not active and it will be a privilege to be the ear (and voice) for them at Imago Africa where we can meet their needs to be more active.
I want to give input where there is a need for, and strengthen their hands to make a difference in their community.
Healthy relationships are important for me and I believe that it is the centre of healthy communities. Imago’s dynamic solutions provides effective resources for couples, therapists or individuals seeking to deepen relationships in their lives.
In my view the Imago Community is a family where I feel safe having the same values, I believe in. To practice these values, strengthen me to serve others and to add value to the bigger community of South Africa.
My vision for Imago is to be acknowledged by the larger community and for Imago Therapy to get accredited with a regulatory body for more people to be interested in the work of Imago and the effect thereof.
My dream for this portfolio is to explore the different possibilities to use Imago in Parenting education and family therapy. Included in the dream is to do research into Imago theory and practice as it relates to family therapy.
My Imago journey started when my husband and I attended a workshop before we go married. It transformed our relationship! I have since then wanted to become an Imago relationship therapist and got the opportunity to do the Clinical training in 2018.
I volunteer because I am invested in this community and would love to see it’s influence grow!
My name is Mapule Ratshefola. I have recently joined the IA Board, holding the Community Portfolio. My portfolio entails leading members of IA in all our community initiatives, forming partnerships with communities around us and help in facilitating and conducting Safe Conversations and Communologues in our Communities.
I accepted this portfolio as it directly addresses what we as a country desperately need. I see this work as an opportunity to bring what we do to communities which would ordinarily not be able to afford our services. Through Safe Conversations we would be able to bridge the gap via dialogues; be it with couples, who because of economic reasons are unable to access an Imago workshop, or between two parties who may be alienated from one another.
Communologues are a great opportunity for IA to build bridges between communities that would not, under ordinary circumstances, communicate effectively.
My vision for this portfolio is to see IA bravely facilitate dialogues and Communologues that address issues that are at the heart of our problems in this country.
“Until we have met the monsters in ourselves, we keep trying to slay them in the outer world. And we find that we cannot. For all darkness in the world stems from darkness in the heart. And it is there that we must do our work”. Marianne Williamson Everyday Grace
You have received this newsletter because you are a friend of Imago Africa.
Should you wish to continue to advertise your Imago workshop, or practice. Take action now and renew your membership at R950. Click HERE or contact El’Marie on firstname.lastname@example.org to renew your membership.
Wishing you connection and love.
Your Imago Africa Board
Copyright © 2019 Imago Africa, All rights reserved.
EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBERS
Chair: Sonia Kruger || Vice Chair: Mariaan Uys
Secretary: El’Marie Grove || Treasurer: Stefan Uys
Training: Kobus van der Merwe, Michele Naude
Marketing: Fred de Villiers
Facilitators: Theuns Stofberg
Media Presence & Networking: Pieter Le Roux || Newsletters: Savanthika Pillay
Families: Yolandi Kok || International Liaison: Johanri Engelbrecht & Carol Dixon
Chapter Heads: Theuns Stofberg, Hilze Strauss, Cathy Hasselau, Tildie de Villiers, Marlene Flett