The following Community-led Workshops will take place on Sunday 28th at 9am. Sign-up will take place at the conference.

Vitality Outdoors

Melinda Best and Hilary Holford

Our energy, interest and vitality are stimulated and increased when we encounter the novel.“ Dave Mann

An outdoor workshop exploring vitality by way of experiential exercises, including group discussion and time for processing.

We will look at the impact of the environment around us – experience ourselves in a different setting to the usual four walls of the therapy room. How do we experience vitality in ourselves and in the other? By being present and experiencing our surroundings we become aware of the existence of different levels of vitality.

Conversation with a Tree

Rod London

I’d like to invite participants to use the grounds at the conference centre to meet and get to know some of its trees. Through the workshop, participants will deepen their knowledge of one tree, and its lifespace – and appreciate their own.By conducting a phenomenological inquiry, influenced by the early scientific ideas of Goethe, they will have the opportunity to explore the characteristics of a tree, their relationship with it, and learn how the inquirer’s vitality is influenced by their inquiry. The session will focus
on four central questions:

Who are you? (identification of the tree)
What are you? (what are its characteristics)
How are you? (imagined progression of the tree)
What do I take from you? (my lasting impression)

The guided session will include all the senses plus imagination and provide moments for drawing and private reflection/meditation. The workshop will proceed (in an amended form) even if it rains, so please bring a waterproof coat if this looks likely.

Each for each other – the gold dust of gestalt relational research

Liz Mellor and Ana Miller

This workshop offers a follow up our year’s work (June 2018-2019) exploring the relationship between gestalt and research. We are offering a workshop which sets out the overarching shape of this research experiment and some of the tensions and surprises along the way. The UKAGP is timely, and we would welcome your participation in a short workshop activity, one which emerged as part of the research process. Our hope is that this is opens curiosity and brings a closer connection between what might be perceived as a ‘split’ between therapy and research, in training, in practice and in the field.

The workshop will initially be to work in triads to explore each other’s deep attitudes and felt experience of research – what is our experience of and relationship towards ‘research’ in this moment? What sensations and emotions does the concept of research evoke? What ideas for research excite or frighten you and so on. The first part of the workshop will be to explore this through rotating therapy dyads, each with an observer.

The second question we are interested in exploring is whether there is a way of presenting/writing research in a way that is able to incorporate these attitudes as well as the differences between us? How can you present your collective exploration of research in a way that creatively foregrounds your different attitudes, styles and experiences of research? How to bring together and do justice to the difference in your research voices in
a way that is able to communicate these to the group.

Cultivating certainty: Exploring the value and place of certainty and its links to visibility in the theory and practice of gestalt Therapy

Chris O’Malley

The workshop is an exploration of how the polarity of certainty, or “knowing” may have become marginalised in Gestalt Therapy. The consequences of this for our clients, ourselves and the status and profile of Gestalt Therapy will be considered. Clarifying where “facts” lie and how certainty can be located and inhabited when “cultivated uncertainty”; has been advocated and adopted (Staemmler 1997) as the sine qua non of Gestalt Therapy will be explored.

The pseudo-certainty residing in the holding and expressing of opinion is rightly treated with caution in GT, but confidence in the polarity “knowing” or certainty, is lacking. Is there a basis in Gestalt for speaking with certainty? A basis for confidently knowing while maintaining “unknowing”? Can we recognise and communicate certainty through our phenomenology? What if we invest hypotheses with the gravitas of knowing and not just not-knowing? How does our field-theroretical paradigm support or undermine confidence in knowing and how might the profile of Gestalt Therapy be affected by our knowing/not knowing confusion?

We will explore truth in its many manifestations and entertain how identifying and communicating certainties with confidence might influence the course of a therapeutic relationship. Participants will be invited to explore their access to and recognition of, certainty, and to explore the communication of knowing and not-knowing with the confidence of certainty. There will be chance for small group or pairs work, group discussion and theoretical debate.

A moment of Clarity

Hugh Pidgeon

Based on a work in progress: the early stages of a companion to Hugh’s original film ‘Negotiating with Gravity’, shown in plenary at the 2015 Nottingham.

That film featured the work of Martin Buber. ‘A moment of clarity’, in a planned collaboration with the sculptor Andy Goldsworthy, explores the perspective brought to dialogue by David Bohm.

Buber’s reference is relation with a tree, Bohm’s with water – one of Andy Goldsworthy’s own most absorbing subjects. And as ice will even be the source of the music. That’s the plan anyway! An opportunity to bring this fresh new perspective to our own work as therapists – and to contribute to the design and development of the emerging film!

Conference theme: the dialogic understanding of integrity as appreciating that nothing is of itself, that there will always be a context to any encounter – the undivided whole. Key words: Bohm, fragmentation, change, flux, becoming.

Developing a research proposal on using clay as a therapeutic assistant in Gestalt Psychotherapy

Christine Stevens

I am interested in the potential that a material like clay has as a therapeutic assistant. Gestalt is a process-based therapy focused not on interpretation but on the phenomenological, embodied experience of the present encounter between therapist and client. However, this can easily become an aesthetic formulation that we talk about rather than the felt experience itself. When we are unaware of something, we are not available for contact in this area. We do not have the language available to support this process. However, in my clinical practice I have observed that using clay in a free, undirected way, can give the client access through touch to awareness of sensations they could not previously verbalize.

This presentation draws on clinical material from individual therapy, group supervision, and community arts-based experiential workshops with groups of refugees and asylum-seekers. I am “feeling” my way towards a methodology investigating touch using clay at the self-other, self-environment interface. There is, I believe, something going on that is different from metaphor or projection.

I will present possible research designs to explore this, including Heuristic Process and Dan Fishman’s Pragmatic Case Study design and invite the participants to critically evaluate this attempt to develop a viable practitioner-research project. We will be using visual images, slides and clay to help with this inquiry.