Consultative Group Update – June 2016

The Consultative Group (CG) of the UKAGP – An Overview of the meeting on Saturday 4th June 2016 at Tulip House, London Bridge

By Jacqui Lichtenstern, UKAGP Chair

Meeting Overview

Whilst we missed the presence of those who could not make it, the seven of us who were able to attend very much appreciated the contact and dialogue with both familiar and new faces. A desire to make best use of our limited time together resulted in focused discussions, with less time for slower emergent contact.

We began with Liz reporting back from the EAGT General Board meeting in Rotterdam in March, which she had attended in my place. Liz was able to raise issues there that we had discussed in our last CG meeting, and she reported back her experience and findings in this meeting (please read her attached summary for content details). This led to a rich and lively meeting, covering a lot of ground in just over two hours.

Liz articulated that it is clear that UKAGP, as an Ordinary NOGT Member of EAGT, is able to sign the application forms for individual membership to EAGT, as confirmation that the applicant meets the EAGT membership requirements, and it has been confirmed that it is up to us how we check that these requirements are met. In order to fulfil this role, UKAGP needs to create and implement a clear procedure, which needs further work as there is some mismatch with the current membership requirements as stated in our constitution. Liz reported that the Membership working group has started to discuss this and has already drafted some proposals for creating a new category of membership. Julia Martin kindly offered her support by joining this working group.

As we discussed the issues around membership, it became clear how valuable and important it was to have delegates present who have been involved in the Gestalt community for a long time, and are able to share their historical knowledge of discussions and events that are not known to others. For example, it was highlighted that at the very creation of UKAGP, there was tension between those who wanted to create an accrediting organisation, and those who wanted something which was open to all. Whilst we discussed the need for a proper membership procedure to be implemented, it was suggested that had that been the case at the formation, UKAGP may well have not been formed.

Whilst noting the challenges involved in achieving a good attendance rate at both these meetings and the AGM, it was reflected that the intensity of personal relating and informal nourishment from dialogue and contact that are valued amongst most Gestaltists, does not necessarily translate into a commitment and engagement with the formal structures of committees and working groups, and even that “It ain’t in the DNA of Gestalt!” In the early days of Gestalt therapy there was tension between having a centralised body versus everyone going around doing their own thing. The difference between the original New York Institute apprenticeship trainings and university validated Masters are vast.

Amongst those of us present there was agreement about the importance of holding on to the original inclusive intention that UKAGP should be remain as an accessible ‘Home’ for all Gestalt practitioners (in therapy, education, coaching, organisations, etc.) whilst at the same time to support the membership working group in creating an additional category which could meet the requirements for EAGT membership and through that to the European Certificate of Psychotherapy (ECP) for those for whom that may well be a priority, and indeed an incentive to join UKAGP.

Some key points were made and new ideas voiced:

  • The CG is the first nationwide ongoing forum for meeting, dialogue and collaboration between all the various Gestalt organisations in the UK – and we all shared some satisfaction in being a part of this, and recognise our responsibilities to actively support it.
  • We believe that it is important to remember that it is our shared appreciation of a Gestalt ethos (notwithstanding the difference and diversity within that) that brings us together, and which we have as our shared ground.
  • We shared energy for feeding the interconnectedness between us, and it was suggested that the organisations the delegates represent could become Affiliated Organisations of UKAGP. Details to be proposed.
  • We recognised that increasing the membership of UKAGP is in all our interests – to increase the visibility of Gestalt in the UK, to enhance the interconnectedness between the various branches, and to reach outwards connecting with other organisations and the wider public too.
  • In recognition that the inclusion of a journal subscription is a pull to become a member of a professional organisation, a suggestion was made to explore what possibilities there might be for UKAGP and the BGJ to come together in some way.
  • Another suggestion was that a request is made to Gestalt Publications (BGJ) that they consider keeping a place open or reserved on the Board of Directors for the Chair of UKAGP
  • UKAGP’s next residential conference (30 June – 2 July 2017) aims to be Celebrating Our Community and marking the 25th anniversary of the BGJ, as a truly National and International event. The CG delegates have an opportunity to enthuse their members to get involved and make it a truly collaborative conference.
  • We will try to organise an informal gathering of CG members in Sicily for those of us attending the AAGT/EAGT Taormina Conference.


Gestalt Centre Wales: Anne Pettit (Delegate and GCW Directory)

Marianne Fry Lectures: Malcolm Parlett (Delegate and Organising Group member)

Metanoia Institute: Ruth Nightingale (Reserve delegate and Metanoia Tutor)

UKAGP: Jacqui Lichtenstern (Chair) and Liz Beauchamp (Vice Chair)

Welsh Psychotherapy Partnership: Mel Ovens (Delegate and WPP Founder)and Julia Martin (Reserve delegate and WPP Tutor)

Delegate Apologies:

Albany Centre: Jon Wilson (Delegate & AC Director) and Sarah Paul (Reserve delegate & AC Tutor)

Birmingham Counselling & Psychotherapy Centre: Bob Smith (Delegate & BCPC Director)

British Gestalt Journal: Christine Stevens (Delegate & BGJ Editor)

Edinburgh Gestalt Centre: Mary Turner (Delegate &  EGI tutor) and Laurence Hegan (Reserve delegate and EGI tutor)

Gestalt Centre: Toni Gilligan (Delegate & GC Director) and Danny Boyle (Reserve delegate and GC tutor)

GPTI: Rob Tyson (Delegate and GPTI Chair)

Manchester Gestalt Centre: Alessandra Merizzi (Delegate and MGC tutor)

Relational Change: Martin Capps (Delegate)

Other Apologies:

Hugh Pidgeon (UKAGP member as facilitator)

Adam Smith (UKAGP Secretary as note taker)

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