This is who we are
Kobus van der Merwe Therapist
El'Marie Grove Practice manager
Award Los Angeles
Kobus van der Merwe
- Imago Faculty, Certified Imago Clinical Therapist and Workshop Presenter
338 Spitskop Rd, Die Wilgers, Pretoria, 0083, South Africa
- 082 331 4704
Kobus grew up in a family where they always thought about and worked with relationships. His minister-father, Freek, was very much involved in community work while his mother, Cornel, a psychiatrist, was involved in therapy. During his studies in theology, Kobus understood that the importance of relationships would influence a person’s perception and understanding of reality. The theology of Karl Barth who explained God as the 'gans andere' (‘the total Other'), especially influenced Kobus. He found freedom and love by understanding that God is not like humans. His studies in psychology, especially systems theory and family therapy, contributed to his views pertaining to the relational paradigm.
Kobus holds a BA honours degree in Hebrew and Greek and psychology and also a BD degree in theology. In 1992 Kobus was ordained as minister in the Dutch Reformed Church (Hervormde Kerk), and he was a minister to a congregation on the East Rand, South Africa, for five years. During this period he became involved in a psychiatry practice, where he worked with people and their relationship with God. He also has six years’ experience of family, couples and group therapy in a psychiatry hospital where he worked with a team of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and occupational therapists.
When Kobus’ wife, Anita, saw the passion he had for helping people achieve and maintain better relationships, she suggested that he attend an Imago GETTING THE LOVE YOU WANT workshop for couples. Inspired by his first teachers in Imago Relationship theory, Hedy and Yumi Schleifer, Kobus started his Basic Clinical Training in 1996. He has subsequently also completed his advanced training with Maya Kohlman in Denmark to become the first Imago workshop presenter in South Africa.
Over the past 18 years, Kobus has presented workshops for couples all over Southern Africa and in the process, he has assisted some 2 800 couples in improving their relationships. In cooperation with Imago Africa and Imago Relationships International, Kobus regularly organises training courses for both therapists and workshop presenters, thus ensuring an ever-expanding network of trained Imago professionals in most parts of Southern Africa.
Kobus married his childhood sweetheart Anita in 1992. He regards her as his best teacher about the warmth and unconditional nature of love, while his three beautiful children—Freek, Hendrien and Cornelia—constantly teach him about the sensitivity and fullness of being alive.
Kobus is the first Imago Clinical Instructor in South Africa, a programme he was invited to join by Maureen Brine, from Canada. He completed the first year of training with master Imago trainer Jette Simon from Denmark and the second year with the Dean of the Imago faculty, Bruce Crapuchettes, in Pasadena, California. Kobus serves on the board of Imago Africa and is also a member of the faculty of Imago Relationships International.