Titles and abstracts of the talks and workshops will follow shortly!

Friday, May 4th 2018

01.30 p.m.




02.30 p.m.



Official opening & welcome with Mag. Susanne Pointner and Univ. Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c.mult. Alfred Plitz with flashes

from the World Congress for Psychotherapy 2017 "Life and Love in the 21st Century"


03.00 p.m.


Greeting of our cooperation partners


03.15 p.m.




03.30 p.m.














Title: The challenge of an increasing speed of human development for couple relationships

Presenter: Mag. Peter Stippl, PhD


The speed at which western civilization is developing in various spheres of life poses an extreme challenge

for individuals and – to an even greater extent – couples. An apt maxim in this context is “speed kills”.

Challenges arise on a biological, a psychological and a social level, which is why the biopsychosocial model

proves suitable for their analysis.


By raising awareness of challenges and identifying their roots and effects, the burden resulting from them can

better be acknowledged and potential reactions to the said challenges can be assessed as normal and healthy.


A first step in overcoming challenges as a couple is to appreciate mutually the effort it takes to deal with any given

issue. In my talk, I will present concrete examples from various areas of life which show additional elements that

are perceived as helpful and can support the overcoming of challenges.


04.30 p.m.


Coffee break


05.00 p.m.
















Title: How we will love – future-oriented thinker Matthias Horx on the world of relationships of today and tomorrow

Presenter: Matthias Horx


How is today’s couple and family culture changing?

Is love dying because selfishness, narcissism and hedonism have vanquished it and because we do not want to or cannot

connect anymore? Or, is our society – under conditions of accelerated progress, individualization and globalization – actually

learning a richer, more diverse art of love? Are we beyond a time where family served reproductive purposes, or are we covertly

returning to traditional concepts of family, marriage and role? What will couple relationships look like in a mobile, individualized



Based on new insights from psychologists, neurologists and social scientists, I will demonstrate how much power love holds over

us and exactly what happens when two people fall in love. I will also examine: why online dating services are not re-inventing the

age-old cycle of seeking and finding, in which social structures we feel comfortable, where Facebook meets hunter-gatherer

communities, and which new forms of living together are currently taking shape.


06.30 p.m. Tributes of the newly certified and new Imago Austria members.

07.00 p.m.

Champagne reception. You can find more information here

Saturday, May 5th 2018

09.00 a.m











 Title: Self-love as a foundation for relational competence

Presenter: Prim. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Michael Lehofer, PhD


Can relationships fail due to a lack of self-love? Unfortunately, yes. In cases where self-love is lacking, we tend to overload our

partners with unrealistically high expectations. We expect our partner to compensate for our lack of connection with ourselves.

However, these expectations are based on an infantile neediness. Of course, mutual needs can and should be met in a relationship,

but there is a distinct difference between being needy and having needs.


The needy part of us will always be frustrated and distressed. Unrealistic expectations generate a very destructive force in

relationships. Only an honest devotion to ourselves builds the foundation that allows us to really start working on our relationships.


10.30 a.m.


Coffee break



11.00 a.m.













Title: Does grass grow if you pull it? About the (im-)possibility of treating couples

Presenters: Sabine Bösel, PhD, and Roland Bösel


Does couple therapy actually exist? Should we rather call it “accompanying couples”? Our presentation will explore

the question of what exactly we, as psychotherapists, do. Would calling our work accompanying couples be underselling

what we do? Maybe we should call ourselves climate experts, as it is such a core part of our work to strive for a good

atmosphere, so our couples can immerse themselves in a developmental process.


Additional points:

Between abstinence and role modelling: How much of our own relationship should we make visible to the couple?

Stumbling block identification: How can we succeed in finding a neutral position when identifying ourselves with one of

the partners? Our presentation will also discuss the most important parameters, ingredients and prerequisites for a

successful couple relationship… well, let’s call it development.

12.30 p.m.


Lunch break




















Choose between 4 parallel Workshops

02.30 p.m. - 04.30 p.m.


Workshop A:

Title: Couples‘ Three Invisible Connectors and the way in which they shape relationships

Workshop leaders: Ute Giffey-Koschka and Hans Giffey

Workshop language: German


Following on from our Imago Days presentation in 2017, in this workshop we will delve deeper into the theory behind and

practical work with the concept of the Three Invisible Connectors. Explaining what they are and the way in which they can

affect relationships, we will present what we have learned through working with couples and during Hedy Schleifer’s three-year

Master Class that we took in Washington DC.

By means of practical examples, workshop participants will be able to learn about the effects the Three Invisible Connectors have

on our methodological procedure and our way of working with couples. The examples will demonstrate and bring to life how our

role as couples’ companions is redefined by this concept and how it complements, enhances and – ultimately – also focuses our

work rooted in IMAGO couple therapy.


Workshop B:

Title: Vision and visualization

Workshop leader: Mag.a Maria Richter-Zima

Workshop language: German


What happens to the desires and dreams that couples have at the beginning of their relationships? Where do they go? We

can encourage couples to wake up from their daily routines and take control of their lives again.


Early on in life, everybody develops certain desires and dreams. Often, as a result of our socialization, they seem to get lost

or we cease to think of them as important. Partners, however, still carry these desires deep down and can only be truly content

when they make their desires a reality. Working with a combination of vision and visualization can help couples succeed at this task.


In my workshop, participants will

- learn the difference between desires, dreams, goals and visions

- become aware of why visions are so important for a relationship

- do a self-experience exercise in visualization in order to understand how desires can be rediscovered step by step in a relationship

or when seeking a partner



Workshop C:

Title: Helping couples create a co-regulating system: Inside the office and out

Workshop leader: Maya Kollman, MA

Workshop language: English


“A co-regulated system” is the new buzzword among neuropsychologists. Initially it is about how the parent and child

co-regulate each other.  When that works well, children grow up with a healthy sense of connection.  They have learned

life’s most important lesson. When in distress, go toward relationship. The old adage of a sorrow is half and a joy is doubled

when shared with an important other is exactly right.  Life is tough enough, but it is made less so when we are able to let

ourselves be known and to know another person. 


Unfortunately most of the people we work with, did not experience relationships as making life easier and more joyful. 

Instead, they experienced relationships as dangerous.  As human beings, our survival depends on being able to connect and

co-operate with others.  For those who experienced relationship as dangerous when they were children, this creates a difficult

dilemma.  They need relationship to survive, and yet they experience relationships as life threatening. They often have the

mistaken idea that it is their partner’s fault that they have painful feelings.


Imago’s main focus is on the in between and that is indeed very important.  But managing the inside of oneself is equally

important.  In this workshop, I will talk about ways to help each person in a couple take responsibility for their own inner

safety, to help them become a safe object for their partner.  In this workshop, I will introduce you to techniques to use to

help people discover how to self soothe as well as soothe each other.  I will help us know how to help clients unearth resources

that are already inside them so they can use these resources to manage difficult situations.  Finally, through the use of enactments,

I will demonstrate how to help clients practice in the office what they need to do back home and explore ways they can partner

to keep things safe for themselves and each other.



Workshop D:

The body as a resource in Imago couple therapy

Workshop leaders: Sigrid und Dr. Georg Wögerbauer

Workshop language: German


An important resource that we have – that we were gifted with – is our body. We need this body’s unification with the soul in

order to actively live our relationships.Relationships are a second important resource, shaped through our primary relationships.

They are vital and can give us strength. If relationships are undefined, however, they drain our energy. Our body needs relationships

to be able to develop.


Take, as a symbol for our own bodies, a Stradivari violin – precious and finely tuned by the violinist – resounding as part of an

orchestra. It becomes more than just a violin; its value increases manifold, it becomes unique, inimitable, beyond price. The same

is true for our own body when it connects successfully.In our workshop, we will discuss how our “Stradivari bodies” want to be tuned

and what it takes in order for a therapist to be well-connected with him- or herself and his or her body – a prerequisite for connecting

with and supporting couples. Additionally, we will touch upon non-verbal interaction that takes place between couples, body reading

and bodywork-based interaction and intervention in couple therapy.


04.30 p.m



Coffee break




Choose between 3 parallel Workshops

05.00 p.m. - 07.00 p.m.


Workshop E:

Title: Adventure as an inspiration for couple relationships

Workshop leaders: Elisabeth Gatt-Iro and Stefan Gatt

Workshop language: German


In the course of their relationships, many couples tend to avoid conflicts in favor of harmony by agreeing on the lowest

common denominators. In doing so, both partners sacrifice liveliness and settle for a tamer version of themselves. Boredom

enters the relationship, and everyday life becomes stuck in habitual patterns; curiosity, openness, joy and lively sexuality are

lost. Instead of working against the vicious cycle, partners try to prevent each other from expressing passion.


Experiencing an adventure together can provide a way out of the downward spiral.  Adventures help to strengthen the

connection between partners and let them (re-)discover and further develop their own unrealized potentials. Lovers find new

ways of perceiving each other and break old habitual patterns in order to replace them with new behaviors.


In our presentation, we will touch upon the following two core questions: How can we, as couple therapists and couple

counselors, use the therapeutic power of adventure when working on our own relationships and with our clients? What kinds

of adventures do couples need to feel lively and expand their potential? By means of short theoretical inputs as well as practical

examples, we will present possibilities and discuss necessary conditions for relationship adventure.



Workshop F:

Title: Ancestral baggage – Transgenerational aspects in couple relationships

Workshop leader: Cornelia Cubasch-König, MSc

Workshop language: German


We are all children of our time, as were our parents, great parents and great-great parents. They were influenced by what their

ancestors had experienced. Their having become influenced their children and their children’s children. We are part of a chain

of ancestors. How that affects us, and in particular our couple relationships, is often intangible and hidden in our unconscious



This workshop takes the participants on a journey, providing glimpses of the life and times of our ancestors, to give us insights

that we can use for ourselves and our relationships.



Workshop G:

Title: Resource-oriented work with Imago Appreciation Dialogues and dialogues for positive reinforcement

Workshop leader: Mag. Christoph Koder

Workshop language: German


Dialogues, like all other IMAGO practices, often focus on problems or traumata. The same is true of the understanding and

emphasizing, which often only focuses on the trauma at hand, and even in IMAGO workshops, resources are only treated as

a peripheral topic.


In this workshop, I will present some basic thoughts on resource-oriented work and on methods I use in my own sessions.

I will present dialogues and specific dialogue elements that deal with, amongst other things, original experiences of couple

relationships, intensification of positive experiences when living together, the development of shared visions, and appreciation

in both a deep and broad sense.



08.00 p.m.


Festive evening at Studio67


Sunday, May 6th 2018

09.00 a.m.













Title: My Imago Journey

Presenter: Maya Kollman, MA


In this 1 1\2 hour presentation, I will bring my grandmother wisdom to explore her Imago Journey that spans the last 28 years.

Through my own unique lens and learnings gleaned from working closely with Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt, my

students and my clients, I will illuminate how Imago has changed me personally and professionally. I will call on my long

history with this theory to show how it has evolved for me and where I see it moving.


I have always had a strong commitment to live this theory in all aspects of my life, be it leading this community as an early president

of AIRT, through teaching many students, workshop presenters and faculty and of course most importantly, in my relationship of 36

years with my  beloved Barbara.  Using humor and a deep awareness of my imperfect greatness, I will entertain and call you to your



10.30 a.m.




11.00 a.m






















Title: Ad rem, ad hominem, ad caritatem

Presenters: Mag.a Evelin Brehm and Mag. (FH) Klaus Brehm


A dialogic self-attempt in re-discovering truth through love.


The relationship of the future needs one thing first and foremost: courage. Specifically, the courage of both partners to admit that

their own opinions, perceptions or points of view are not truths, but rather expressions and, above all, emotional manifestations of

their own personal histories.


What started back in the Age of Enlightenment as an emancipation of the individual through law and the possibility for personal

responsibility became the foundation for democracy as a pioneering model of society, that we take for granted in its modern form

but has recently been twisted into a grotesque dictatorial regime of self-glorification through the reign of social media. As a

consequence, the monarchy of our own beliefs creates the illusion of a strong individuality and personality, which eventually, however,

culminates in a monophony of emotional isolation and loneliness.


We, that is Evelin and Klaus, would like to use our presentation to talk about our experiences during a year of using almost daily Imago

dialogues to rediscover the truths within us as well as the space between. Expanding Schopenhauer’s concept of eristic dialectics of

“ad rem, ad hominem, ad personam” with “ad caritatem,” we would like to rediscover love by letting go of our own truths and thereby

finding a reality that is different from anything any of us has ever experienced.


Will we manage to succeed? We, as well as the audience, will find out in this presentation.


12.00 a.m.


Coffee break


12.30 p.m.


Discussion round


01.30 p.m. Closing