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
Conference Organiser – Vicky Eugenio
Coming from a medical background in my country of origin, Argentina, I emigrated to UK when I was 30. Soon afterwards I started training, first as an Integrative Counsellor and later at the London Gestalt Centre as a Gestalt Psychotherapist. Nowadays, I run a full time private practice in West Sussex (where I live) and in London. I work as a counsellor, psychotherapist and supervisor. Since 2015 I have been a Supervisor and Skills Tutor for the Counselling Diploma at the Gestalt Centre in London.
I joined the UKAGP committee at Nottingham Conference in 2015, without really knowing what I could offer. I felt I lacked specific skills- but wanted to increase my level of participation within the Gestalt community. Since then my role has grown and become clearer as I engaged first in organising the Student Community Day event in 2016, and secondly, when as part of the Reading 2017 Conference Organising Group I took on responsibility for the Social Event. To my surprise and delight I have enjoyed participating more actively and visibly, both in the preparation for and in the running of the Conference. I am now taking on the role of Conference Organiser and look forward to meeting whatever challenges the planning of the next Conference Day will bring.
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 – Piotr Mierkowski
I am a psychologist, counsellor, psychotherapist, and supervisor with thirty years of clinical experience in the NHS, voluntary sector and private practice in London. I am a graduate of the Gestalt Centre London, where I am now a visiting trainer. I also train gestalt therapy and run groups abroad, mostly in Poland, where I was born and grew up. Both migration and rootedness is my background.
What brought me to gestalt therapy in the early 1980’s, when still an undergraduate student of psychology and neuroscience in Warsaw, was its holistic and relational theory, and the belief that change is inevitable. I also welcomed its insistence on phenomenological enquiry – going beyond any label – and being more in touch with our individual experience of living in the world.
This idea of the ever-present process of change, the on-going gestalt formation and destruction resonated with me – and I found myself intrigued by the notion that such change occurs at the contact-boundary, where experience is constructed. The cherry tree in front of my practice window reminds me that nothing ever stays the same – as I witness its constant change – from being full of glorious white blossom and buzzing bees in May, to naked, dark-grey and gnarled in winter, and again, to being roused, as if from a sleep by early spring, when all of a sudden multiple light-pink buds emerge.
I have been a member of UKAGP since its very inception in 2009 – when, during the memorable, stormy meeting at Friends House in London, the old rifts healed and new dialogues begun developing. I joined the Organising Committee in 2019 as Publicity Officer. A large part of my role is to prepare and edit the UKAGP Newsletter, a quarterly online publication, which aims to act as a platform for connection and exchange between gestalt practitioners throughout the UK as well as from abroad.
It is my heartfelt wish, that our newsletter reflects the spirit of Gestalt in its integrative and highly positive approach to life and therapeutic practice. With this in mind my aim is for it to contain a great variety of offerings, from articles and news to research papers, poetry and artwork – indeed any material which might be of interest to our readers and which can enhance our awareness of ourselves, the world we construct and in which we live. If you are reading this, it is my earnest hope that I can encourage you to contribute. You can contact me via email: [email protected].
Secretary – Hugh Pidgeon
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.
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, coach and continuing psychotherapy training at Metanoia. 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 law firm marketing 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.