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A Taste of Gestalt Therapy: Awareness, Creativity and Contact in the Here and Now

Gestalt is a German word meaning ‘whole’ in the sense of the whole being a sum of its parts. It has a robust theory drawn from many strands including Kurt Lewin’s field theory, Existentialism, Phenomenology and Psychodrama. Contact and boundaries are important in Gestalt theory which as a theory of how we learn, take in and process information, naturally lends itself to integrating knowledge from other modalities.

Gestalt practice involves exploration that stretches the boundary of what is familiar into new territory and brings to awareness what is happening relationally in the here and now. While in its early days it was associated with two chair work, challenge and confrontation, contemporary Gestalt practitioners are relational; known for being direct and welcoming authentic encounter.    

The aim of this workshop is for participants to have a practical introduction to Gestalt and to gain a sense of its contribution to therapeutic practice and human potential. We will explore key aspects of Gestalt through presentation experiential exercises and discussion. Participants will be supported to pay attention to their emotional and physical feelings throughout the day and to engage in dialogue that focuses on what is taking place in the present.

Claire Asherson Bartram DPsych: I am a therapist, group facilitator and supervisor in private practice and at the Minster Centre. I qualified with a diploma in Gestalt Therapy in 1991 and have a degree in music and a doctorate in Psychotherapy through Metanoia Institute (2009). I have been through my own years of therapy and find that learning about myself and others never stops. Key points of my life’s journey include being a hippy in the late sixties, a busker, meditation, administrator for Brent MIND, a single parent, a stepmother and now a grandparent. What I have always loved about Gestalt is its immediacy, liveliness and the depths of exploration and contact that can arise through its practice.