Gestalt Therapy International

A community of dialogue

Programs around the world

Facilitating authentic living & working

10 Professional Workshops Available

#1 Personal Growth & Spiritual Growth

#2 The Unvirtues: A non-shaming exploration of self-interest in relationship

#3 Shame and Belonging

#4 Love and Power

#5 Family Constellations

#6 Authentic Dialogue

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

#8 Phenomenology and the therapeutic use of awareness

#9 Field Theory

#10 Gestalt therapy

#2 The Unvirtues

A non-shaming exploration of self-interest in relationship

Content of the activity and a detailed outline of the event

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? And how can we hold ourselves lightly enough so that it becomes possible to laugh at one’s foibles rather than hide them.

Whether its personal or professional ethics, a central principle is stepping beyond self-interest: acting in terms of what is good for our partner, friend, colleague or client.

But: do we help people because they need it, or to relieve our discomfort at their distress? Are we generous and patient because those are noble qualities, or because we have simply been socialised that way? Do we really choose the virtuous path, or do such actions merely constitute social habit?

This workshop is about exploring and owning that hidden and slippery part of self that Salamo Friedlander called the grotesque; the disowned aspect of our helpful aspirations and high moral ground.

Such explorations are often avoided, even amongst those interested in personal growth. Lip service is given to the shadow, but to bring this dimension of self into dialogue and relationship takes both courage and support.

Why grub around in this uncomfortable territory? Because identification as a caring person is only part of the story of self. By examining our depths, the fabric of both personal and professional relationship becomes richer and more meaningful. Life is filled out by ushering the unvirtuous parts of ourselves into dialogue.

The workshop invites participants to reach down and bring to light their contrary side. This requires support, and a non- shaming attitude towards our less savoury impulses and motivations. We explore these in a way which is not only safe but also humorous.

In striving for the love, care and intimacy, we can neglect the place of the utilitarian in relationship. Paradoxically, by owning our smaller-minded and self-oriented needs – our unvirtues - intimacy is augmented. This is the quintessential experience of vibrant authenticity in relationship.

Learning outcomes

By the conclusion of this seminar participants will be able to:

  • Understand the relationship of virtues to unvirtues
  • Recognise and acknowledge the the less noble side of noble intentions
  • Exercise self humour as an alternative to shame

Seminar schedule

  • Introductions in the group
  • The topic will be introduced with a set of self rating scales for participants to complete.
  • A theoretical overview will be presented, providing a context for the work.
  • Participants will be invited to identify their own virtues and will be assisted to deconstruct these to discover their unvirtues.
  • Group discussion will be used to explore these discoveries.
  • Discussion will also focus around the rating scales, and their ability to reveal levels of identification with virtues and unvirtues.
  • A demonstration of a ‘showing up’ dialogue will be conducted, and participants invited to practice this themselves.
  • Wrap up, checkout

How will participants benefit from attending this seminar?

  • Investigate the nature of the 'Unvirtues'
  • Recognise cultural influences which shape ideas of self, relationship, ethics and polarities.
  • Examine the connection between ethics, beliefs, avoidances, and creative adjustments.
  • Learn how to engage in a ‘showing up’ dialogue
  • Explore self interest as it exists in identified virtues
  • Discover and acknowledge the underbelly of self-identifications

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