Gestalt Therapy International

A community of dialogue

Programs around the world

Facilitating authentic living & working

10 Professional Workshops Available

#1 Personal Growth & Spiritual Growth (summary) (full description)

#2 The Unvirtues: A non-shaming exploration of self-interest (summary) (full description)

#3 Shame and Belonging (summary) (full description)

#4 Leadership and Power (summary) (full description)

#5 Family Constellations (summary) (full description)

#6 Authentic Dialogue (summary) (full description)

#7 Gestalt process model with couples and families (summary) (full description)

#8 Phenomenology and the therapeutic use of awareness (summary) (full description)

#9 Field Theory (summary) (full description)

#10 Gestalt therapy (summary) (full description)

#1 Personal Growth & Spiritual Growth

A workshop exploring differences and similarities

Do you want a fuller integration of spirituality in your personal and professional life?

  • What is spirituality?
  • How does it relate practically and theoretically to psychotherapy?
  • Where are the choice points between each approach?
  • How does spirituality help the practice of therapy
  • How does therapy help the practice of spirituality?

These topics will be explored through 3 lenses

  • Principles
  • Practices
  • Experiences

...using an experiential group format.

We will also explore the topic of Religious wounding, and demonstrate how to work with issues using a Gestalt approach.

Participants will take away:

  • A useful & elegant model for examining spirituality & therapy
  • An increased insight into the place of spirituality in your personal and work life
  • Greater clarity about your own belief systems
  • Support for your own understanding of spiritual experience
  • Inspiration and practical means to ground your spirituality in action
  • A variety of ways that therapy can incorporate the spiritual
  • An increased understanding of the differences and similarities between therapy and spirituality
  • Healing of your own emotional blocks to spiritual growth

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#2 The Unvirtues

A non-shaming exploration of self-interest in relationship

In this workshop participants will be introduced to the concept of the ‘unvirtues’. The relationship between ethics and self-interest will be explored, with the task of taking an open minded approach to revealing unacceptable aspects of self.

We will look at the contrast between our goodwill and good intentions, and the more utilitarian ‘I-it’ aspects of relationship. We aim to bring a deeper level of awareness and ownership to aspects of self which are generally deemed unacceptable.

A key question is how do we situate our unvirtuous self in a non-destructive interpersonal or professional ethic? We will explore a re-worked approach to authenticity which can deepen relationship and therapeutic work.

This is achieved through creating a non-shaming atmosphere, where it becomes possible to laugh at one’s foibles rather than hide them.

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#3 Shame and Belonging

Shame is the feeling of not belonging, and of being not worthy of being wanted. Related feelings are a sense of inadequacy, being flawed and in danger of being humiliated.

If you--rather than your actions--were consistently labeled as bad, wrong, not deserving by your parents or caregivers, you probably grew up in a shame-based family. Its easy to think of yourself as different from others and not unacceptable.

The consequences of shame for an adult are often toxic and debilitating, so its hard to recognise or acknowledge. Related experiences are disconnection, depression, pretending you feel OK; or a never ending attempt to prove yourself as good as others.

The wounds of shame can be healed. You are not condemned to stay stuck. By uncovering and facing the shame feelings, and finding ways to experience connection you can gain a different kind of experience.

In this workshop you will have opportunity to...

  • Access and recognise your shame experiences
  • Discover the debilitating effects of shame on your relationships
  • Distinguish between guilt and shame and between healthy shame and toxic shame
  • Experience processes for undoing shame that you can incorporate into your life

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#4 Leadership and Power

A successful leader is skilful in managing relationships

In this training seminar we explore the two major dimensions of relationship: vertical and horizontal.

The horizontal aspect involves collegiality and mutual influence; it is accompanied by connection and openness. The vertical component requires the use of power. This involves many strategic skills including making hard decisions, maintaining control, exerting influence and keeping a goal focus.

The way that power differentials are navigated determines whether leadership is effective on both horizontal and vertical levels. If people feel respected, they are more likely to follow directions. But insufficient decisiveness can result in a reduction of output and efficiency.

This seminar will examine the ingredients required for the competent use of power, relating the formal and informal aspects of organisational leadership in a coherent framework. The latest theories and research findings which help us understand power dynamics will be introduced, and we will look at how these can be applied to the challenges which leaders face.

In exploring the complexities of the use of power, we will address issues such as power styles, contextual influences and formative experiences of power, and the relevance of shame in understanding leadership effectiveness. The ethics of power will also be addressed, and the concept of the ‘Unvirtues’ - the underbelly of good intentions - will be introduced as a powerful tool to assist in transparency in leadership.

All aspects of the workshop will be applied to participants, leading them through reflective and experiential processes in order to gain insight and integrated understanding.

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#5 Family Constellations

Systemic Constellations are a method for revealing and re-aligning hidden loyalties in family, business, or other kinds of tightly bonded groups. People have taken on, often without being aware of it, “assignments” to function in a certain way in the groups they belong to—especially in the family. Yet often these assignments are in conflict with their personal health or fulfilment. They serve as anchors — unseen sticking points — that prevent positive change. Constellations make these anchors visible. 

The work is done in a group setting, using participants as representatives of family members. It is a gentle, respectful and healing process which results in deep insights.

The effect of participating in and witnessing this type of work is very powerful. With a minimum of dialogue, significant transformations can occur, and these can be long lasting.

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#6 Authentic Dialogue

‘All living is meeting’ (Martin Buber)

In the Gestalt approach, we explore the nature of that meeting. How do we see the other as an end in themselves rather than a means to an end; this is the core idea of the I-thou encounter.

This attitude allows us to move out of roles or mutual manipulation. We find out how to make horizontal meeting possible: two human beings, learning together. 

This is hard to teach, or prescribe. It is more the nature of a genuine gift, in the moment, and develops real intimacy.

It is through profound contact with another person that we can more fully know ourselves. We are interested in what helps develop this quality of contact in relationships, so that we can find the growing edge of discovery between togetherness and separateness.

In togetherness, sameness, and symbiosis, lies a sense of safety. But relationship is rarely like that for very long. 

So an integral part of deepening contact is the exploration of differences. As threatening as this can be, it provides a clear edge to the contact boundary, supporting definition of self - something many find challenging.

Authentic dialogue is a skill, a way of being, a set of values, and an experience. In this workshop we seek to bring all these elements together, for an experience which is both spontaneous and intentional.

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#7 Gestalt process oriented model of working with couples and families

This model, developed by Zinker and Nevis, is based on a Gestalt approach and incorporates systemic principles..

The model is elegant, effective, and relatively easy to learn. It can be applied immediately by professionals experienced in the field of couples and family work.

It involves five steps and three stages of interventions. It utilises a positive psychology approach, and orients in a way which is competency-based, and de-shaming of the couple/family system.

This approach requires a skilful mindset, and a willingness and ability to look for functionality in the midst of dysfunction.

The careful attention to boundaries of the couples/family system is reminiscent of the one-way mirror model, though this is achieved without a team/supervisor providing support for staying at the boundary of the system.

The interventions dove tail into each other in a way which adds power to the behavioural component of the process.

One of the components of working successfully with systems is the balance between strong intervention, and lack of therapist investment in the outcome. To be able to reject the role of change agent - although that is the premise of the couple or family - is an important attitude and skill which will be addressed.

Another capacity required is to see the system itself, rather than the individuals in it. This requires both a mindset and a particular type of therapeutic skill.

The seminar is oriented towards a skill based learning of the model, and participants can expect to come away with the ground to apply the model in their work.

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#8 Phenomenology and the therapeutic use of awareness

Before post-structuralism was post-modernism...and before that was existentialism...and before that was phenomenology.

This approach - known as the science of subjectivity - is just as relevant today, as the psychology industry takes shelter the legitimacy of objective science. Phenomenology offers not only an alternative narrative, through its applications in Gestalt therapy it becomes a therapeutic methodology that is startlingly effective.

This approach is contrasted with the interpretive therapies, which offer authoritative interventions based on codified knowledge.

In essence, this approach involves a kind of anthropological investigation into the clients experience, with the therapist carefully constructing meaning that stays true to the client’s world.

This spirit of enquiry is a potent force, allowing us to enter right into the heart of the client’s reality, and understand it from the inside.

Clients feel known and met in this process, yet it involves a remarkably simple approach. By staying with description and observation, the client themselves volunteers their deeper experiences and motivations.

A central tool in this process is the use of awareness, especially sensory and somatic, as these are not caught up in the complex web of explanations which clients often carry, and use to rationalise their problems.

The important endpoint is clinical application. These philosophical perspectives have immediate application to the work of therapy, and provide simple and effective tools for working with clients.

We cover methods of implementation, use exercises and experiential demonstration work in the group to provide examples of application of the principles.

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#9 Field Theory

Field theory stems from the original work of Kurt Lewin, father of group dynamics. It addresses the context of experience, embracing complexity, interested in whole-formations, also known as systems.

This approach involves an entirely different way of thinking to the linear search for answers to the question ‘why’. Instead, we explore influences, interconnectedness, and the input of forces that may be hidden when focusing on specific problems.

Field theory allows us to understand issues in a much broader way, one which yields creative and ‘out of the box’ solutions. It brings us to question many of the assumptions we have about life, relationship, family and society. By looking through many different lenses, we can find perspectives which release us from stuck positions and the circularity of repetition when it comes to finding ways out.

Field theory is radical, exciting and difficult to grasp with logical thinking. Yet it has its own principles, ethics and therapeutic techniques.

We will explore how the recognition of the interconnectedness of phenomena can bring us to a subtle yet very powerful interventions.

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#10 Contemporary Gestalt therapy

The Gestalt approach is

1. Existential, because

  • It is grounded in the here and now
  • It emphasises that each person is responsible for his or her own destiny 
  • The client feels contacted by the therapist in the immediacy of the session, resulting in the experience of being seen, recognised and affirmed

2. Phenomenological, because

  • It focuses on the client’s perception of reality 
  • Utilises and develops client awareness as a transformative tool
  • It is oriented towards experience rather than interpretation or abstract categorisation

3. Experiential, because

  • Clients come to grips with what and how they are thinking, feeling and doing through interaction with the therapist 
  • It helps the client make contact with their own personal experiences with vividness and embodiment, rather than just ‘talk about’ them
  • The client and therapist co-create new ways of addressing the world that allow the client to experiment with being different, and acting differently

4. Relational, because

  • It takes an “I/Thou” approach to the client/therapist relationship 
  • ‘Resistance’ is conceived in interactive terms, not as client pathology
  • It emphasises the interpersonal rather than intra-psychic, and thus is a systemic therapy

The workshop will explore a contemporary understanding of Gestalt therapy and its applications, both as an approach to living, as well as a therapeutic modality.

We will start with a theoretical overview, covering the 4 Pillars of Gestalt:

1. Phenomenology: the science of awareness

2. Dialogue: I-Thou relating

3. Field Theory: Holism

4. Experiment: risking the new



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