The Organising Committee
Chair – Belinda Harris
I am proud to be Chair of UKAGP and to represent our members on the General Board of the European Association for Gestalt Therapy (EAGT). I am a UKCP registered gestalt psychotherapist, ICF accredited gestalt coach and fellow of the Higher Education Academy. In the 1980s I was a secondary school teacher and senior leader working in a multiracial inner city school. This work took me into counselling training and membership of the BACP’s Race and Culture in Education (RACE) committee. Experience taught me the power of human relationships to mobilise energy for engagement and learning, and I decided to train in Gestalt Psychotherapy to support my role as a teacher, community and staff development officer. I was struck by the difference it made on many levels and started to write about my experiences in essays for an experiential Masters in Education (Human Relations), heavily underpinned by Gestalt approaches to practice.
In 1991 I took up an academic post at the University of Nottingham, where my teaching, research and publications have focused on the application of humanistic and gestalt theories in counsellor training, teacher development and educational change, particularly school leadership. In 2007 I finally found my voice as a Gestalt researcher and educator when writing Supporting the Emotional Work of School Leaders.
During the past year I have worked with colleagues in the USA, South Korea and Ghana (Carey, J., Harris, B., Lee S.M. & Mushaandja) to produce an edited book for Springer Press (2017) International Handbook for Policy Research in School-based Counselling. I am currently engaged in a multi-national research project on school-based counselling, and also deputy chair of the steering group for an ESRC funded Randomised Controlled Trial of School Counselling in England.
As a Professional Associate of the Gestalt International Study Center, Cape Cod, Massachussetts, I worked with Edwin Nevis and other colleagues to establish an Education Initiative. Together, we introduced gestalt theory and practice to teachers across New England (Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maine). I currently teach one of GISC’s core programs, Leadership for the 21st Century, which is designed for executives and senior level leaders in business and industry. I love running workshops at Gestalt conferences and was privileged to give the Marianne Fry lecture in 2016.
in 2016 I relinquished my senior leadership role at the University, and two other roles I had held for several years, namely Assistant Editor of the British Gestalt Journal and external examiner at Metanoia. I am now focussing on projects dear to my heart. These include personal loves, such as quality contact with family and friends, yoga practice, reading, singing and movement medicine, and professional passions, such as supporting my doctoral students to complete their theses, training therapists, teachers and social workers and international student advisors, and working as a therapist, coach, supervisor and consultant. I continue to serve the gestalt community through the Training Standards and as Chair of UKAGP. I am very privileged to work with such a talented and committed team of professionals.
Vice Chair – Ruth Nightingale
Ruth began her career in Hospitality & Catering Management culminating in running her own business. During this time she trained and mentored staff and management trainees to become professional and effective business people. Subsequently, whilst working for a government funded organisation supporting business owners, she decided to train as a psychotherapist.
Since qualifying as a Gestalt Psychotherapist in 2011 she has successfully combined her business and life skills alongside her psychotherapeutic learning to work as a psychotherapist and supervisor in private practice in London and Academic Lecturer at Metanoia.
Secretary – Hugh Pidgeon
Conference Organiser – Nika Jelendorf
I’m a Psychologist and Gestalt Psychotherapeutic Counsellor, currently finishing my MSc at Metanoia Institute. I was born and raised in Zagreb, where I spent most of my childhood, with occasional interludes in Germany. In my 20s, I was teaching public speaking and organising events internationally. Since 2017, my two cats have been teaching me how to enjoy a more predictable lifestyle and we’ve been living in London, where I started my Gestalt education. I have my own private practice in central London and do freelance educational work with charities. In my free time, I enjoy dancing, lifting heavy things and playing video games.
I’ve joined UKAGP at the end of 2020 to work with Vicky Eugenio organising our first post-lockdown in person conference. I enjoyed integrating Gestalt and my previous work experience through UKAGP and am looking forward to doing more of that!
Finance Officer -Terri Windsor
I began my Gestalt training at Metanoia in 2012, having been inspired to study further, and have yet to Viva/qualify. Already a qualified and accredited counsellor with BACP, this was more difficult than I had imagined, having integrated other approaches within my practice! I now only work in private practice, but have worked as a counsellor in primary care for ten years, the last five being within an IAPT service.
My background is mixed; working as a pharmaceutical laboratory technician; raising my two children; studying psychology as a mature student and working within the voluntary sector in the area of family support and early intervention. As the manager I gained Big Lottery funding for the service, having previously devised a tool to support its evaluation.
I hope that my skills will be useful as a member of the committee focussing on finance. I also look forward to developing new relationships within the wider Gestalt community.
Publicity Officer – Hannah Turner
Hi, I’m Hannah. I’m a Gestalt Psychotherapeutic Counsellor, Coach, HR Consultant and Trainee Psychotherapist with Metanoia Institute.
During a successful career in HR over the last 20 years, I honed my passion for supporting the development of individuals and teams. Throughout this time I found the most impactful development experiences I’ve encountered all had one thing in common – Gestalt. My curiosity was sparked, I started studying a MSc in Gestalt Psychotherapy with Metanoia Institute in 2018, and have thoroughly enjoyed the richness of community, development, support and challenge that has ensued. I’ve found great joy through experiencing Gestalt and its applicability throughout my life and professional practices.
Having enjoyed being part of the Gestalt community over the last 3.5 years, it feels important to me to be an active part of ensuring our community continues to connect, having opportunity to learn, share, develop, challenge and support each other. This is a figural part of my choice to undertake the Publicity role working with our Editorial Team and I look forward to connecting with more of you across our community.
Outside of my professional activities I find great joy in spending time with family across the UK, learning how to play tennis, and finding new country walks with my dog, Scarlett.
Trainee Officer – Liz Smears
Hello, Liz Smears here writing as the Trainee Officer for UKAGP.
This role is an adjunct to my Gestalt Psychotherapy training which I am undertaking through GPTI and based out of the Manchester Gestalt Centre. Uncertain times as they are, I hope to complete in the next year or so.
Professionally, I have been an educator and creative practitioner during my working life, and I have benefitted from bridging the divide between teaching and learning in Higher Education and working in practice within the third sector. I have recently moved from Liverpool John Moores University to take up a post at Warwick University teaching on their suite of programmes in Counselling and Psychotherapy.
It’s an ongoing quest to get the balance between engaging in my professional and personal worlds. Ideally, I would be on my bike more, in the garden more, listening to live music more, and connecting more with dear friends who are dispersed around the country. As the youngsters in my family take their own place in the world, I can see this creative space emerging again – thankfully.
Training Officer – Adam Kincel
Treasurer – Liz Beauchamp
I graduated from Metanoia in 2011 and I work part time as a psychotherapist in private practice in East London.
Having completed an MBA in 2005 I became a self-employed business consultant working primarily with owner/managers helping them to achieve their goals. Whilst studying I realised how compatible my consultancy work was with Gestalt and so completed a Diploma in Organisational Gestalt. I’ve found this has complemented my consultancy work and enables me to use my passion for Gestalt in a much wider context – my business clients seem to find it quite useful too!
In my spare time, which I’m always trying to increase, I love to travel and enjoy trekking in far and distant lands where I’m never happier than when the phone has no signal, the only running water is in a nearby stream and the only decision to make is whether to wear an extra layer!
Administrator – Alec Parsons-Smith
I am a Gestalt counsellor and coach. I am passionate about Gestalt and delighted to have this opportunity to work with the Gestalt community, and contribute to the excellent work of UKAGP.
My background is in marketing, mostly in law, and over the past 15 years I have managed a wide variety of communications, events and business development projects. I am now looking forward to bringing my skills and experience to the continuing development of UKAGP.