Faculty member of Imago Relationship International. Award winner of the "Harville Hendrix Award for clinical Excelence" 2016
Kobus grew up in a family where they always thought about and worked with relationships. As a minister his father, Freek, was very much involved in community work while his mother, Cornel, a psychiatrist, was involged in therapy. During his studies in theology he realised the importance of relationships as a way of understanding reality. It was especially the theology of Karl Barth to understand God as 'gans andere' ('the total Other'), instead of trying to make God accessible by making Him like me, that influenced his thoughts about relationships. His studies in psychology, especially systems theory and family therapy, contributed to his views pertaining to the relational paradigm.
In 1992 he was ordained as minister in the Dutch Reformed Church (Hervormde Kerk). He holds a BA honours degree in Hebrew and Greek and psychology and also a BD degree in theology. He was minister in a congregation on the East Rand, South Africa, for five years. During this period he became involved in a psychiatry practice working 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.
It was during this time that his wife Anita convinced him to attend an Imago Getting the love you want workshop for couples. Inspired by his first teachers in Imago Relationship theory, Hedy and Yumi Schleifer, he started his Basic Clinical Training in 1996. He 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 assisted some 2 800 couples in improving their relationships. He also works with individuals in groups.
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 unconditionality of love, while his three beautiful children – Freek, Hendrien and Cornelia - constantly teach him about the sensitivity and fullness of being alive.
In 2010 he become the first Imago Clinical instructor in South Africa, a programme he was invited to join by Maureen Brine of 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.
Name: Jacobus Frederick van der Merwe
Age: born 1968
School Matric 1986 Goudrif High school Germiston
University BA 1989 University of Pretoria
BA (Hons – Semetic/Grc) 1991 University of Pretoria
BD (Theology) 1992 University of Pretoria
BA (Hons – Psychology) 2000 University of South Africa
Imago Clinical Therapist 1999 Institute of Relationship Therapy (USA)
Hypnotherapy 2000 Wellness Institute (USA)
Charactogorical Growth 2000 Institute of Relationship Therapy (USA)
Individuals in Groups 2001 Institute of Relationship Therapy (USA)
Imago Couples Workshop Presenters Training 2002 Institute of Relationship Therapy (Denmark)
EMDR 2002 EMDR Institute, INC (USA)
Relational Networking in Organizations 2003 Institute of Relationship Therapy (USA)
Clinical Instructor Imago Relationship Therapy 2011 Institute of Relationship Therapy (USA)