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Louis and Elizma Venter

Hello. My name is Louis.

I say “my story,” but really, it’s our story: Elizma’s and mine.

I am one of the lucky ones; I got to marry my varsity sweetheart, you see. We’ve been married for thirteen years now. That’s her in the picture next to me, along with our kids. But there was a time when there was almost never kids. A time when Elizma and I almost didn’t make it.

Louis Venter and family

After our first two years of marriage, we’d started our professional careers, and somewhere along the way, we lost each other. Somehow, it felt like we had outgrown each other, and we lived in a perpetual state of disconnection and hurt. We couldn’t understand it, because we thought love was forever. But there we were – strangers in a marriage.

We knew we wanted to make it work; we knew we belonged with each other. But we didn’t know how to love each other in this new space. So we looked for help. It wasn’t easy. We felt vulnerable and didn’t know where to start. We also felt helpless, powerless on our own, and desperately wanted someone to help us understand what was going on, to reconnect.

It didn’t take us long to realise that there was very little help out there. Traditional counselling sessions were short and sporadic, many of them were happy to guide us toward divorce, and none of them were prepared to go to the depths we wanted.

And then one day, by sheer chance, we were invited to attend an Imago Therapy workshop. This was all new to us; and we were introduced to an amazing Imago therapist who journeyed with us to a new place of connection and intimacy. We had such a powerful experience, and it changed our lives forever.

It was then that I decided to give my life to couples counselling.

For the last fourteen years, I have been practicing as a marriage counselor and therapist, and it has been my greatest joy to see countless marriages and “impossible” situations restored to childlike wholeness.


Clinical Imago Therapist (Imago International)
Enneagram Therapist (Enneagram in the Narrative Tradition)
Spiritual Director (Centre for Spirituality; University of Pretoria)
MTh – Theology and Pastoral care (University of Pretoria)


Louis’ work is based on the “Encounter-Centered Transformation.”

Process Encounter-Centered Transformation is an integrative and interdisciplinary model for relationship building. It lies at the intersection of philosophy, clinical theory, organizational methodology; and relational neurobiology and based on four main pillars: the philosophy of Martin Buber, Imago Relationship Theory and Practice, Appreciative Inquiry, and the new frontier of Relational Neurobiology and Memory Reconsolidation. It is an approach that promotes transformational change, a visceral, cellular, and internal shift, one that is dependable and sustainable. As new empirical studies have shown, good and strong relationships help the brain change and develop in a way that promotes even better relationships.

Louis guides partners toward this kind of transformation through what is called the “Art of Connection,” teaching them how to turn their relationship into a living laboratory for the development of relational intelligence: how to fill their partnership with creativity, wisdom, and generosity of spirit. Relational intelligence puts partners on the path to relational maturity and is at the core of having successful relationships both personally and professionally.



Elizma and I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Michelle Lima on the Forever And Always show on GauTV. We were invited to share our marriage story; our challenges and journey to intimacy and connection.

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