The Organising Committee
Belinda Harris – Chair
I am proud to be Chair of UKAGP and to represent our members on the General Board of the European Association for Gestalt Therapy (EAGT). I am a UKCP registered gestalt psychotherapist, ICF accredited gestalt coach and fellow of the Higher Education Academy. In the 1980s I was a secondary school teacher and senior leader working in a multiracial inner city school. This work took me into counselling training and membership of the BACP’s Race and Culture in Education (RACE) committee. Experience taught me the power of human relationships to mobilise energy for engagement and learning, and I decided to train in Gestalt Psychotherapy to support my role as a teacher, community and staff development officer. I was struck by the difference it made on many levels and started to write about my experiences in essays for an experiential Masters in Education (Human Relations), heavily underpinned by Gestalt approaches to practice.
In 1991 I took up an academic post at the University of Nottingham, where my teaching, research and publications have focused on the application of humanistic and gestalt theories in counsellor training, teacher development and educational change, particularly school leadership. In 2007 I finally found my voice as a Gestalt researcher and educator when writing Supporting the Emotional Work of School Leaders.
During the past year I have worked with colleagues in the USA, South Korea and Ghana (Carey, J., Harris, B., Lee S.M. & Mushaandja) to produce an edited book for Springer Press (2017) International Handbook for Policy Research in School-based Counselling. I am currently engaged in a multi-national research project on school-based counselling, and also deputy chair of the steering group for an ESRC funded Randomised Controlled Trial of School Counselling in England.
As a Professional Associate of the Gestalt International Study Center, Cape Cod, Massachussetts, I worked with Edwin Nevis and other colleagues to establish an Education Initiative. Together, we introduced gestalt theory and practice to teachers across New England (Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maine). I currently teach one of GISC’s core programs, Leadership for the 21st Century, which is designed for executives and senior level leaders in business and industry. I love running workshops at Gestalt conferences and was privileged to give the Marianne Fry lecture in 2016.
in 2016 I relinquished my senior leadership role at the University, and two other roles I had held for several years, namely Assistant Editor of the British Gestalt Journal and external examiner at Metanoia. I am now focussing on projects dear to my heart. These include personal loves, such as quality contact with family and friends, yoga practice, reading, singing and movement medicine, and professional passions, such as supporting my doctoral students to complete their theses, training therapists, teachers and social workers and international student advisors, and working as a therapist, coach, supervisor and consultant. I continue to serve the gestalt community through the Training Standards Committee of GPTI, and as Chair of UKAGP. I am very privileged to work with such a talented and committed team of professionals.
Liz Beauchamp – Finance Officer
I graduated from Metanoia in 2011 and I work part time as a psychotherapist in private practice in East London.
Having completed an MBA in 2005 I became a self-employed business consultant working primarily with owner/managers helping them to achieve their goals. Whilst studying I realised how compatible my consultancy work was with Gestalt and so completed a Diploma in Organisational Gestalt. I’ve found this has complemented my consultancy work and enables me to use my passion for Gestalt in a much wider context – my business clients seem to find it quite useful too!
In my spare time, which I’m always trying to increase, I love to travel and enjoy trekking in far and distant lands where I’m never happier than when the phone has no signal, the only running water is in a nearby stream and the only decision to make is whether to wear an extra layer!
James Bailey – Marketing & Publicity Officer
I have spent my nearly 30 year business career working in UK and International media, primarily in advertising sales and commercial strategic/business development, and currently work at CNN, the international news broadcaster.
In 2003 I began my training as a Psychotherapist at the Gestalt Centre, graduating in 2013, and I now balance my working week between CNN, private practice and voluntary therapy work in London and Sevenoaks. My hope is to find exciting reasons for new members to join UKAGP.
Helen Thomas – Membership Officer
I began my Gestalt training in 2010 at Metanoia and am currently in the penultimate stage between dissertation and viva/qualification. As at December 2017, I am ending my placement work at a free counselling service in west London while establishing my small private practice. My background is in software development and management in both the private and public sectors. I now work at the Houses of Parliament part-time in a facilitative role for many departments, where my Gestalt approach to life is proving increasingly useful.
I have recently taken on the role of Membership Officer after 3 years as the trainee representative. Whilst there are still some administrative elements to membership that need attention, I am keen to contribute to UKAGP’s support of the different needs of members at various stages in their careers.
Vicky Eugenio – Conference Organiser
Coming from a medical background in my country of origin, Argentina, I emigrated to UK when I was 30. Soon afterwards I started training, first as an Integrative Counsellor and later at the London Gestalt Centre as a Gestalt Psychotherapist. Nowadays, I run a full time private practice in West Sussex (where I live) and in London. I work as a counsellor, psychotherapist and supervisor. Since 2015 I have been a Supervisor and Skills Tutor for the Counselling Diploma at the Gestalt Centre in London.
I joined the UKAGP committee at Nottingham Conference in 2015, without really knowing what I could offer. I felt I lacked specific skills- but wanted to increase my level of participation within the Gestalt community. Since then my role has grown and become clearer as I engaged first in organising the Student Community Day event in 2016, and secondly, when as part of the Reading 2017 Conference Organising Group I took on responsibility for the Social Event. To my surprise and delight I have enjoyed participating more actively and visibly, both in the preparation for and in the running of the Conference. I am now taking on the role of Conference Organiser and look forward to meeting whatever challenges the planning of the next Conference Day will bring.
Julia Martin – Committee Member
After many years working in the voluntary sector in the area of domestic abuse, I began training in Integrative Counselling in 1996. This was swiftly followed by a PGCE and a role as a counsellor and trainer in HE.
My journey into Gestalt Psychotherapy began as a client many years ago, but training seemed inaccessible until the formation of the Welsh Psychotherapy Partnership (WPP) in Cardiff. It was here on home turf that I gained my qualification as a Gestalt Psychotherapist. I am currently in private practice in South Wales and a trainer at WPP.
My induction to the UKAGP committee was through volunteering on the conference organising group at Wokefield Park. It was lovely to be involved in and contribute to the wider Gestalt community and I am looking forward to my future involvement in the organisation.
My free time is spent mostly outdoors, messing around in mud, with my horse or on very wet days (now I am no longer studying) reading novels or making home brewed wine from fruits and berries.
Faisal Mahmood – Secretary
Faisal Mahmood is a UKCP registered individual and group gestalt psychotherapist and BACP Registered Accredited Counsellor. He works as a senior lecturer in counselling/ psychotherapy at Newman University (Birmingham) heading up two programmes: Foundation Degree in Integrative Counselling (BACP accredited) and MSc in Counselling and Psychotherapy (Sep 2019). He has over 20 years of clinical experience working with clients in a wide range of settings such GP surgeries, hospitals, voluntary sector and private practice.
Faisal has a small private practice based in Solihull where he offers individual, couples and group therapy as well as individual and group supervision. He also facilitates personal development groups and Gestalt therapy theory based CPD events.
Chris O’Malley – Committee Member
Proud Brummie, and proudly the first ex-UKAGP Committee member to return to the Committee (after a convalescence recovering from previously being miscast as excel-phobic Finance Officer) I hope 2nd time around to follow up my characteristic bursts of energy with some more sustained and slick campaigning in the name of Gestalt becoming the household word we all know it should be. I am enjoying the transgressive pleasure gained from my recent self- liberation from slave labour on behalf of unappreciative organisations and using the time gained to wonder how my various workshop and writing ideas might find a way to combine with my emergent role within UKAGP. I like working creatively toward wholeness and feel that this will be essential in undoing the fractures which have damaged gestalt’s reach in recent times.
When the burden of Gestalt-centredness allows, I like to play the piano and enjoy making music with friends. More music – and more friends – would be lovely.
I began my Gestalt training at Metanoia in 2012, having been inspired to study further, and have yet to Viva/qualify. Already a qualified and accredited counsellor with BACP, this was more difficult than I had imagined, having integrated other approaches within my practice! I now only work in private practice, but have worked as a counsellor in primary care for ten years, the last five being within an IAPT service.
My background is mixed; working as a pharmaceutical laboratory technician; raising my two children; studying psychology as a mature student and working within the voluntary sector in the area of family support and early intervention. As the manager I gained Big Lottery funding for the service, having previously devised a tool to support its evaluation.
I hope that my skills will be useful as a member of the committee focussing on finance. I also look forward to developing new relationships within the wider Gestalt community.
UKAGP Administrator: Alec Parsons-Smith
I am currently completing my Gestalt therapy training at Metanoia and working with clients in private practice. I am passionate about Gestalt and delighted to have this new opportunity to work with the Gestalt community and contribute to the excellent work of UKAGP.
My background is in law firm marketing and over the past 10 years I managed a wide variety of communications, events and business development projects. I am now looking forward to bringing my skills and experience to the administration and continued development of UKAGP.