Lynne Jacobs Interview

In the first of a series of video interviews, we chat with therapist, author & conference speaker Lynne Jacobs about what excites and intrigues her about this year’s UKAGP ‘Celebrating our Community’ conference.

In conversation with Liz Beaucamp, Lynne shares her thoughts on the writing process, the awkwardness of conference small talk and her excitement about taking part in an event which is a unique gestalt experiment!

Visit our dedicated conference page for more details and to book your ticket.

Interview Transcript

Liz: Well first of all …welcome Lynne. Thank you so much for agreeing to join us.

Lynne: You’re welcome. I also want to thank you for having me be one of the people who’s gonna participate in this crazy idea of a conference!

Liz: I’m really glad you said that! One of my first thoughts was what on earth did Lynne think when this request came out a year or so ago?’ This crazy idea of we really want to celebrate the BGJ….UKAGP want to host that…and with a very different approach I think from the normal keynote type of thing that happens at a conference…

Lynne: What I thought was this is intriguing, I’m honoured. The intriguing part was for me was obviously this whole conference set up. When I was thinking originally about the conference, one of the things that really intrigued me was the idea that a paper that I submit could be a work in progress…and that the experience of the conference would flesh things out and I would get a second chance to write about what got triggered by the conference.

One of the things about writing is that I usually end up writing very close to the deadline… partly I can’t imagine the audience until I’m right up against the picture of the audience which is the deadline for me. Whenever I send in a paper, afterwards I realise the things that are problematic and I wish I had said differently, or wish I’d added or where I would have gone if had I had a chance to rewrite it. And now, I don’t have to sweat that…I sent it in. The chance to rewrite it will come later…with input from others…just by hearing the conversations.

Liz: There’s a number of stages through the conferences where I suppose there’s different ways for people to engage, or not, with the papers. One of the things we’ve got is the opening dialogues, which will be one of the best opportunities for that, and then we go into the idea of a world cafe, have you had any experience of a world cafe?

Lynne: Never! But I don’t want to say that the best opportunity for thinking about my paper with others is at that opening, because all the conversations that are gonna take place….somebody will have a titbit here about something that occurred to them in a conversation with somebody else over here…that will matter to me in my paper. So the flow of the whole weekend adds that for me.

One of the things about any kind of conference is, part of why we go is to feel a part of a larger world, connect with others that we generally only see at conferences lets say, but they’re part of our same world, the gestalt world.. But I never know what to say after I say hello how are you? But in this case, the kind of hallway talk will be these kind of informal discussion groups, people popping with ideas here and there, reactions…it doesn’t even have to be to my paper, it doesn’t matter, anytime I’m hearing stuff talked about, that stimulates my own thinking. So I just figure the whole conference is just like one huge hallway talk only we do know what to say after we say hello because we’re being stimulated by each other to talk to each other about what matters to us in gestalt therapy, what’s triggered by what’s been talked about before, what’s in the articles, it’s one big informal conversion with little bits and pieces all along. Sounds like heaven to me!

Liz: What I’m quite excited about is we’ve got quite a number of people still in training coming. I think when I was training I was at my most imaginative, my most creative, my most willing to take a risk, my most willing to ask the stupid question…

Lynne: The more we can support people to trust that their perspective has something to the conversation and to writing, the better. But when you’re talking about trainees …when you’re talking about the four articles we’re using I saw 2 different levels in the articles… On one level I saw Peter and Margherita tackling gestalt theory at a higher level of sophistication than the articles by Joe and Me. We seemed to be focused more on a “boots on the ground” level. The point for me is it means that no matter how thin your exposure to gestalt therapy is, or how advanced, there’s going to be something for you at this conference. And since you can kinda choose with whom you speak, it should be nourishing for everybody, nobody should have to be left in the dust. The way you guys have structured it, it seems to me that there’s groups for everybody, there’s conversations for everybody.

Liz: Is there anything you want to gain on a personal level?

Lynne: Can I be self-centred and say how much I always love coming to England and meeting the gestalt therapy world there? I love hanging around gestalt therapists, period. I live in these two worlds, the psychoanalytic and the gestalt. Increasingly the gestalt therapy world is very intellectually challenging. It used to be more what I looked to the analytic world for. But being around gestalt therapy people is the most….it’s a tired word….but it’s the most authentic kind of hanging around I can have.

Liz: Is there anything else you want to add?

Lynne: I think you guys are brave to take this on! It’s really in the spirit of the founders of gestalt therapy because it’s more anarchic than academically structured. You know, good stuff is going to come from these conversations!

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