Conference Feedback

UKAGP Online Conference

‘Speaking Out – 31st October, 2020

Response rate: 43% (28 participants)

1. main reasons participants chose to attend were:

  • To feel connected to the wider community (25/28 or 92.6%)
  • The theme of Speaking Out resonated with them (11/28 or 40.7%) 
  • The reputation of the facilitators (11/28 or 40.7%)
  • To find out what was going on for others in the community (10/28 or 37%).

2. Respondents identified the most valuable aspect of the day for them as (in order of frequency mentioned):

  • Small group opportunities to make more personal contact with new people and/or old friends;
  • A sense of connectedness and belonging to the wider community; 
  • The facilitation of experiential exercises;
  • The opportunity to engage in self-recognition;
  • The community meeting.

3. Overall, most respondents indicated that the day had been 

  • Very well organised;
  • Excellently well-balanced mix of activities.

Some respondents would have liked more:

  • Break out/small group sessions;
  • Input from the workshop facilitators;
  • Opportunities to explore the themes emerging during the day;
  • Small group sessions for pairs to connect.

Two unusual requests from participants were:

  • A more traditional conference format with academic presentation and discussion of ideas, perhaps with a panel.
  • Three-word reactions from everyone present following small group activities and turn-taking to give space for considered deliberations.

4. Participants wanted the conference organising committee to know the following about their experience of the day:

  • Very welcoming
  • Enjoyable
  • Satisfying
  • Excellent theme
  • Intelligent use of experiential exercises
  • Space was well held
  • Excellent facilitation
  • Facilitator inputs were excellent
  • A nourishing way to connect with the community
  • Appreciative of the organising group

Some quotations

From a new trainee:

‘Finding my voice is something I would like to do more of but somehow the afternoon didn’t give me that opportunity’.  

Several trainees echoed this comment. They found it challenging to contribute to the community meeting, citing for example, a sense of hierarchy and insiderness in the conversations being held. 

From a newcomer: 

‘As a first-time attendee and trainee I felt quiet disconnected from the afternoon debate. I felt there were underlying issues going on to which I was not a party.’

‘Participants seemed very much majority white – would be lovely if the community were more diverse’. 

From an elder:

‘I unexpectedly announced my impending retirement and was met by some very moving responses’

5. All things being equal and provided meeting face to face as a community is a possibility next year, the majority (21/28 or 77.8%) of respondents would be interested in attending, with a further few (5/28 or 18.5%) indicating that as a possibility. 

6. The following ideas were offered re a potential theme for the 2021 conference:

Power dynamics

  • Power
  • Voice
  • Dialogue across differences.
  • Cultural diversity
  • Existential sexuality
  • Working with children and young people
  • Reconnecting after a rupture

Social responsibility

  • Post Covid – how to re-climatise and support others to reclimatise? 
  • What now? Putting it all together: pandemic, climate change, black lives matter, etc.
  • Holding space for others: support and self-care
  • Reaching out!
  • In service of the client: Face to Face vs Online Therapy?

Gestalt theory in practice

  • The essence of Gestalt Therapy
  • Where we are and where we are going as Gestalt therapists and trainees
  • How to present the bedrock of Gestalt Therapy (e.g. identity; paradoxical theory of change) to others
  • Integrity in Gestalt therapy practice
  • Psychosomatic approaches to Gestalt Therapy
  • Neuroscience and Gestalt
  • Gestalt practice with children and young people
  • Face to Face vs Online Gestalt Therapy – 

Training

  • Process of becoming vs being a gestalt psychotherapist.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete the survey. The Organising Committee will take all this feedback forward and consult with members of the community to determine the theme of this year’s conference. 

Belinda Harris 
[email protected] 


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