Monthly Archives: March 2017

Diary of a COG Chair #2


It’s been a busy few weeks since my last report as Conference Organising Group (COG) Chair and I’m delighted that so many of you have been inspired to book your places.

The COG visited the venue for the first time as a group and had the opportunity to look at the bedrooms, meeting rooms and general facilities. Their response was very positive and added to the general excitement about this very special event.

Take up has been far greater so far than we’ve ever experienced and I would encourage you to book your place as soon as you’ve decided to come rather than leaving it too late!

We were really pleased when the Association for the Advancement of Gestalt Therapy (AAGT) asked us if they could tag their AGM onto our conference. AAGT represent a truly international community of Gestaltists and its exciting that we’ll be welcoming their board and other members of their organisation into our community. If you’re a member of AAGT or think you might be interested in learning more about the organisation please take a look at the special page we’ve created on the website and consider staying on for the extra night to join in with their AGM. The event is being
heavily subsidised by AAGT to encourage member participation. You can book for the AAGT AGM via our dedicated booking page.

Finally I hope you’ve taken a few moments to view the fascinating interview with Lynne Jacobs – she openly talks about what she’s excited about regarding this conference and we hope it encourages those of you who may be wondering about whether to come or not to sign up.

Belinda Harris, Vice Chair of UKAGP, has carried out an interview with Peter Phillipson in which he talks about the importance of putting theory into practice and his hopes for us all to engage practically as well as theoretically at the conference. We plan to publish this in the next couple of weeks – so keep an eye out!

Once again if you have any queries and want to get in touch directly with the COG please email me at [email protected].

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EAGT – To Join or Not to Join?


A brief overview of the UKAGP Organising Committee’s stance on UKAGP members joining the European Association for Gestalt Therapists (EAGT)

Whenever the UKAGP Organising Committee (OC) meets, we take some time to reconnect with and reconsider the values underpinning gestalt, the community and the organisation. As an accredited National Organisation for Gestalt Therapy (NOGT) member of the EAGT. We have been debating our role as facilitators of individual membership of EAGT, in the light of  recent political events, nationally and internationally. This short opinion piece clarifies our current position and we would welcome feedback from the wider community.

Our Gestalt tradition includes: questioning both ourselves and also what is happening in the wider environment, being open to constructive dialogue,  supporting people in times of stress, building systems that enable, and finding alternatives to stereotyping, which we view as an interruption to and inhibitor of contact. We want to support our community as a network of people who are capable of rising to the immense challenges associated with social change in a fast-moving world. We want to achieve this from a place of groundedness. This fits with our long tradition in education, which  is oriented to widening people’s horizons towards new possibilities, rather than forcing them into and through a pre-determined outcome.

Gestalt practitioners already have established international networks,  as recently demonstrated by attendance at the joint conference in Sicily. However, compared with our neighbours, the British Gestalt Community is relatively small.  Given the current political trend towards nationalism and tribalism, UKAGP is committed to ensure that we remain connected to our colleagues on the continent and beyond, and that we do not slide into behaving like an insular, isolated island,  seduced into thinking we have all the answers here, and that little of merit is happening elsewhere.

Regardless of the individual political differences that might be held regarding the European Union, we believe that there has been a shared sense of shock at many aspects of the referendum campaign, including the ‘othering’ of refugees and immigrants, and at the social repercussions of that, which we are now witnessing. Choosing to connect to colleagues beyond the UK, is one practical way in which we can do something to counter a nationalistic perspective, and hold true to an international and whole-world view. Our aim is to consolidate and extend our networks of support within and beyond Europe, and to be a key member of an organisation that will survive Brexit.

Some European institutes are particularly influential and have their own journals, traditions and conferences. Many UK Gestaltists already practice as supervisors and trainers in mainland Europe,  and those with language skills are particularly well situated in this respect.  EAGT membership supports and enables such international opportunities for professional development and exchange within and beyond EU countries, including for example,  Norway, Israel, Macedonia and Russia.

Being a member of the EAGT strengthens connections between institutes and organisations and individuals beyond the UK , engaging  with a wide range of different Gestalt traditions and thinkers..  The UKAGP OC sees it as a healthy choice to remain open to diverse ideas, and to take up opportunities for stimulating new thinking. This feels crucial given the current political situation in the USA, and is one way we can work together given recent collaboration between EAGT and AAGT.

The issue of political values is becoming an increasingly strong and clear figure, and Gestalt theory stands in opposition to the values of the far right. We support radical thinking about society that emphasise people’s well-being, and we are committed to staying energised, connected and mutually supportive. Colleagues attending international meetings, conferences and  workshops beyond their own borders often report feeling strengthened, enlivened and grounded in our Gestalt heritage and approach. This is why we want to encourage you to consider joining EAGT as an individual member (either Full or Associate).

To this end  the UKAGP OC is currently involved in a process to clarify and simplify access to individual EAGT membership for our members by negotiating a Joint Membership option. It would be helpful for us to have an idea of how many members might like to take up this offer; please register your interest by emailing Jen at [email protected] by the end of April 2017.

We hope to have more details in the next newsletter.

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2 Year Advanced (Post-Qualifying) Diploma in Gestalt Adolescent Psychotherapy


Blackfort Adolescent Gestalt Institute

Programme Director: Bronagh Starrs
Guest Faculty: Mark McConville

Dates: September 2017 – June 2019 (8 weekends per year)

Venue: Dublin, Ireland

The aim of this two-year in-depth training programme is to understand and appreciate the complexity of adolescent process and to support counsellors/therapists in developing deeper levels of competency in their work with adolescents who are experiencing psychological and developmental difficulties. The training will address adolescent development and psychotherapy from a relational Gestalt perspective.

Full training information & application forms can be downloaded from our website

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Playing: possibility, transformation and the unexpected


Kirsteen Greenholm

Location: EGI
Date: 26th -27th August 2017
Time: 9.30-5
Cost: £235, including a non-refundable deposit of £100

‘You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.’ Plato

 The capacity to move into play is central to the practice of creative experiment in gestalt psychotherapy, and implicit in the flowing creativity of the gestalt approach…. yet many therapists experience fear, shame, anxiety, frozenness, a sense of limitation and/or a desire for more range when moving towards experiments or playfulness.

In this mainly experiential workshop we will build a supportive environment for exploring and extending our abilities to play. This will include exploring our relational and developmental histories around play, working/playing with a wide range of creative approaches and materials, and developing supports for yielding and mobilising into playfulness with adult clients.

You are welcome whatever your capacity to play.

This workshop will benefit trainee and qualified psychotherapists from any modality.

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