UKAGP Student Day
On June 4th, the UKAGP hosted their first ever Student Day, held on the day before the Community Day for the wider UKAGP community.
Both days took place at Colet House in London, and future student days are proposed for different parts of the country. The day was open to any Gestalt student in training and the theme for the day was “Who is in your tribe?” The invitation was for students from all the Gestalt training institutes in the UK to come together for an experiential day without a facilitator or speaker, in order to explore our experience of belonging and not belonging, and to see what would emerge.
Helen Thomas and I (Dawn Gwilt) organised the day, and we resisted the pull towards what felt like a safer option of working out a plan for the day. Instead we worked to prepare the ground, leaving the direction of the day to emerge from the group. A total of 15 students signed up, and on the day 8 of us turned up for this experiment.
What emerged was very rich and energised, including asking important questions, recognising the need for a gestalt student network, and some plans for how to proceed with this.
Some of the questions raised were:
- Why don’t we do more student–led gatherings?
- How can we support future events for students?
- Why is training so difficult, and does it need to be?
- How can we get more support for setting up in private practice?
- What support is there for being a gestaltist in an un-gestalt placement?
- How can we experience more after-care at the end of training?
- Where are the other voices? An interest in hearing from students at the training institutes not represented on this day.
Specific ideas that emerged were: to start a facebook group, a reading group, a forum for sharing and publishing student writing and having it peer reviewed, and a proposed research project to interview therapists about how they set up in private practice. There was excitement about using virtual community to promote inclusivity.
The participants agreed that what felt new and important about this day was that because we were free from any tie to a specific training institute, the day was free to emerge without the pressure of meeting a course requirement, or of being observed or marked by a tutor. As someone put it, “There is no need to look over one’s shoulder.” It was novel to be part of starting a community – a forum organised by an organic group and not an institution. There was excitement about starting small and growing outwards from there.