Workshop Details

Keynote Presentation by Dr. Belinda Harris

‘From Surviving to Thriving in a Time of Austerity’

Belinda is a Gestalt Psychotherapist, Supervisor and Professional Certified Gestalt Coach. She is Assistant Editor of the British Gestalt Journal and an external examiner for Metanoia Institute and the University of Cambridge.

Her belief in applying Gestalt in the world led to her involvement with the Gestalt International Study Center (GISC) as a Professional Associate, and it is evident in her daily work at Nottingham University as Associate Professor of Therapy and Education, and as Director of Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught Courses in the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Belinda’s passion lies in the interface between therapy and education, and how Gestalt can really support vulnerable young people and their families. She is the author of articles published in the BGJ and the book ‘Supporting the Emotional Work of School Leaders’.

Belinda promise to offer a thought-provoking and stimulating opening to our conference, and will then facilitate the afternoon discussion, where invited panelists will be able to share their responses to her presentation.


Panel Discussion in response to the keynote presentation, facilitated by Belinda Harris, with Billy Desmond, Di Hodgson, Gianni Francesetti, Malcolm Parlett and Beatrix Wimmer.




1) Jan Roubal – Do our interventions help our clients or do they help us?

Therapeutic interventions we use, for example an empathic question, experiment suggestion, or frustrating silent pause, are directed to our clients and aimed to support their healing and development. At the same time, however, these interventions serve us, therapists, to cope with our own experiences in the therapy session. They dissolve our anxiety, drag us out from helplessness, release our frustration.

Examples of such functions of interventions will be presented from the work with depressive clients. A simple tool to recognise these functions and work with them will be offered to participants and they will have a possibility to see their own clinical work case from this offered perspective.

Jan Roubal, M.D. is a therapist, psychiatrist, supervisor and psychotherapy trainer. He teaches psychotherapy and psychiatry at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. He has been working in a psychiatric hospital, mainly with depressive patients. Currently he works in a private practice.  He is a member of the European Association of  Psychotherapy, European Association for Gestalt Therapy (chairing the Research Committee), Society for Psychotherapy Research and Society for Exploration of Psychotherapy Integration. He publishes texts mostly on psychotherapy in clinical practice and has co-edited two books: a Czech publication „Current Psychotherapy“ (Portal, 2010) and „Gestalt Therapy in Clinical Practice. From Psychopathology to the Aesthetics of Contact“ (FrancoAngeli, 2013). Contact: , [email protected]


2) Judy Graham and Jenny Colls – Hidden Facets How do you challenge or collude with society’s expectations of you as a woman?

The cultural and social field is often rich with projections about how a woman “should” be, act and look. They can easily be introjected.  Such interruptions of contacting may create fixed Gestalts restricting the possibilities of a more authentic sense of being.

This didactic and experiential workshop will create an environment for women to value their journeys and discover something unique here and now.  We will be supporting each other with various exercises to raise awareness and find some new facet of ourselves both as individuals and together.

Judy Graham, B.A, MSc, LCSW is a gestalt psychotherapist and supervisor with a private practice in North London. She previously worked as a primary care counsellor developing expertise in brief therapy and published her research findings. In 1979 she became the first female director of Alcohol Recovery Project and established the first women’s alcohol service.  Judy has served on the board of UK Gestalt organizations, and the Association of Humanistic Psychology Practitioners, and she was UK regional rep for AAGT for 10 years.  She has authored articles for the British Gestalt Journal, Therapy Today, a chapter in Humanistic Approaches to Psychotherapy and a chapter, Women and Aggression in Continuity and Change: Gestalt Therapy Now.  She offers workshops on ageing/midlife crises, assertiveness, empowerment of women and finding your voice. Her special interests include addictions, eating disorders, body work and cultural displacement. She is currently studying Native American Medicine Wheel teachings. Contact:  [email protected],

Jenny Colls MA is a UKCP Registered Gestalt psychotherapist and supervisor with a private practice near Totnes in Devon. She is also a coach and supervises coaches, and has trained in Family Constellations work.  She is an external supervisor at Leeds Metropolitan University and an external coach for senior staff at the Institute of Education, London University.  In the late 1990s she pioneered a psychotherapy service in primary care to which GPs referred directly, and over the last twenty years she has been running therapy, supervision and personal growth groups both here and in Iceland.  She has a special interest in Field Phenomena and her long term focus and study is on our capacity for presence and that which supports it.  To this end she is currently learning with the Ridhwan School.  Contact:   [email protected]


3) Peri Mackintosh – Freeforming – Contact Meditation

Living in our thoughts can feel stale, stuck and out of touch. Escape the mind trap. Explore the expanded awareness we enjoy when we connect. Tuning to each other, thoughts fall away.  Sensing our bodies at an energetic level brings us alive. We feel, move, sound out. Finding deeper connection, our confidence grows. We discover we can trust, let go and surrender to what is happening now. Habits and tensions dissolve. The present moment opens afresh. We liberate a playful freedom. We call this Freeforming. Both a recreational activity and a training in attunement the practice has proved a beneficial group intervention with people with severe mental illness.

Freeforming was developed by Peri Mackintosh drawing from Zen, Aikido, Gestalt and the improvisatory arts. Be prepared to move, sound and touch.

Peri Mackintosh is a psychotherapist, supervisor and trainer at the Bethlem Royal Hospital and has over 30 years experience working with people with severe mental disorders. He pioneered mindfulness based groups in residential psychiatric units in the 1980’s. He originated Freeforming Contact Meditation and is an examiner for the Metanoia Institute Gestalt Program in London. He began studying vipassana and Zen meditation in 1973 and trained at London School of Contemporary Dance and Laban Centre for Movement Studies. He is a black belt in Aikido.

He has performed, choreographed, and composed for stage and television.

4) Tomaz Flajs – Working with Metaphors

I (metaphorically) understand metaphors as a ‘bridge’: a bridge between figure and ground, and a bridge between the referential frame of the client and the referential frame of the therapist. As such, they can be a tool of contact (and they can sometimes be also a way of deflecting). Gestalt therapy, with its phenomenological and experimental attitude, offers rich possibilities for working with metaphors. The workshop is a mixture of theoretical input, where I present my understanding of metaphors as the ground for different uses of metaphors, and experiential exercises aimed at getting more acquainted with metaphors in practice.

Tomaz Flajs: B.A., dipl. GPTI, holder of the GATLA certificate of proficiency and ECP, and a full member of the EAGT. I am President of the Slovene Association for Gestalt therapy SLOGES, Vice-President of the Slovene Umbrella Organization for Psychotherapy, and co-founder of GITA Institute for Gestalt Therapy, Ljubljana, where I work as gestalt psychotherapist, trainer and supervisor. I train also abroad, in Croatia, Austria, Russia, Georgia and Germany. I have written a few articles on Gestalt therapy in Slovene language, among them ‘Men and Shame’ and ‘Use of Metaphors in Gestalt Therapy’, published in the Slovene Review for psychotherapy Kairos.



1) Dieter Bongers, Guus Klaren, Nurith Levi – Yes we care! Gestalt therapy is more than a psychotherapeutic concept

The Human Rights and Social Responsibility Committee (HR&SRc) of EAGT offers a workshop with a mini lecture included about the social political dimension of Gestalt therapy. Gestalt therapy, like all psychotherapy modalities, is always rooted in a social and political field. From this point of view we can state that all our interventions have a political impact.

In this workshop we especially focus on the question ‘how does your Gestalt identity appear in your life and engagement outside the therapy room?’

We will link our personal experiences with the Gestalt theory rooted in Paul Goodman’s legacy.

Dr. Bongers is a Psychologist, Dr. phil. and Gestalt Psychotherapist.  He runs the training in Gestalt therapy at IGG in Berlin, and in Gestalt OE at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland (GIC); also a training in Couples and Family therapy at the  “Center for Intimate Studies” (Mass).  Since 1984 he has worked as a Psychotherapist and Consultant with addicted people. From 1991 – 2001 Dr. Bongers worked as the Therapeutic Director of an Institution for Correction with young male offenders. Presently he works in private practice in Liestal, Switzerland.  He has represented the NOGT of Switzerland branch of EAGT since 2008.

2) Helen Rowlands – Filming Empathy

This workshop starts by screening ”My Mother” by Welsh director Jay Bedwani. Jay’s film won the prize for best U.K. short in the 2013 IRIS Film Festival and is not currently on general release. This will be followed by an exploration of the themes of attachment, transformation, body image and empathy. Jay will be joining the group for part or all of the time so that an exploration of process and perspective from the director’s & viewers’ positions can take place.

Helen Rowlands: UKCP Integrative Psychotherapist and Director of The Welsh Psychotherapy Partnership.

3) James Bailey & Simon Jacobs – Room For The Digital Void: How Do Practitioners And Our Client’s Engage with Social Media  

The use of social media in the therapeutic setting is daunting. Practitioners have the choice to engage actively, lightly or never; but what’s best. Clients have an equally varied set of choices and increasingly bring that confusion and the impact of social media engagement to sessions.

Our workshop will firstly define the social media landscape and lead into discussing issues presented in the therapy room.

The uncertainty about how to engage on-line with ‘digital’ media is prevalent across society. How do we manage those issues ourselves as practitioners, and work with our clients to help them exist in such a technical communicative world.

James Bailey is a Gestalt therapist and runs a small private practice in London and Sevenoaks/Tunbridge Wells. James also works for a international news broadcaster and is responsible for defining and implementing commercial strategy across their digital media platforms; social media and digital engagement being a key driver for their current and longer term development.

Simon Jacobs is a Gestalt therapist running a private practice in London’s West End and working part-time at the Priory Hospital, where he sees individual clients and runs therapy and psycho-educational groups for adults and adolescents on issues such as self-esteem, assertiveness and depression. Simon also provide psychological support and guidance to the clients of The Genius Trader, a professional trading consultancy.

4) Janice Scott – Trauma and the Integration of Emotional Freedom Technique in Gestalt Practice and Everyday Life

We are continually made aware of the impact of trauma, war and suffering through the media, through our practice with clients and perhaps through personal experience. It is essential, that we develop effective strategies to manage and contain the significant detrimental effects of trauma. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a technique from the school of Energy Psychology and is a research based method used in the reduction of the effects of trauma and abuse.

The workshop will provide the opportunity to learn and practice EFT to a level where participants will be able to use it in their everyday lives and with their friends and colleagues. There will also be space to explore how EFT can be integrated into Gestalt psychotherapy practice.

Janice Scott – I began my career as a nurse, later qualifying as a Gestalt psychotherapist over 20 years ago. My area of special interest is the field of trauma; I run my own private practice as well as working in recent years for the London Underground Counselling and Trauma Service, as the Trauma Support Group Manager (trains) and trauma psychotherapist.

At present I work as a volunteer for ‘Respond’, the charity which provides psychotherapy to children and adults with learning disabilities, who have experienced abuse and sexual violence. I am also a visiting lecturer to RASASC (Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre).

Last year I became the International Representative (England) for the ‘Association of Comprehensive Energy Psychotherapy’ (ACEP)

5) Jon Blend – More Musical Innovations: Putting the Hum back into Being Human!

This fun, hands-on workshop draws inspiration jointly from the music-making approach of Gestalt therapist Dr. Violet Oaklander and the Lifemusic approach of Jungian/ Community music therapist Dr. Rod Paton. Both inclusive methods aid the development of contact; they promote health and well being and help foster the self-support required for further expression for children and adults across the lifecycle.

Using simple ‘instant access’ instruments that require no prior learning or skill to play we will focus on awareness, exploring emergent sound-making, unconstrained by adherence to melody or rhythm. As we explore our music-making the group may wish to reflect briefly on processes arising e.g. of attunement, confluence,  introjection, co-regulation, power/control and communitas.

Used within a trusting dialogic relationship these  ways of making music may appeal to and help engage many who find difficulty with verbalising their concerns. The approaches can be applied to a variety of individual, group, family and community contexts.

All participants are welcome – no musical skills are needed or assumed!

Jon Blend MA CQSW is of European descent, an Adult, Child & Adolescent UKCP Registered Psychotherapist, Supervisor, trainer* and  a Community Musician. He  performs  with Playback South Theatre Company ( His chapter – “Am I Bovvered? ” (In Harris and Lee (eds.) Relational Child, Relational Brain, (2011), Gestalt Press,  Taylor & Francis) describes psychotherapy undertaken in a UK NHS Child and Family Mental Health Service that helped a selectively mute adolescent find self-support through music-making. Jon also works as a Lifemusician in various settings  exploring musical improvisation for therapeutic purposes and for well being. He recently presented this workshop at the 2nd Violet Oaklander Foundation Conference (, Malibu, California.   Correspondance: [email protected]/ *see short courses link: