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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 describes how we learn, take in and process information. The theory provides a framework for therapeutic work that is naturally integrative and responsive.

While in its early days, Gestalt was associated with two chair work, challenge and confrontation, contemporary Gestalt practitioners are relational and welcome authentic encounter. In my view a good therapist has an attitude based on kindness and a Gestalt therapist combines this with the ability to be direct and immediate, creatively responding to the individual(s) they are with rather than from a rule book.

The aim of this two-day workshop is for participants to have a practical introduction to Gestalt and gain a sense of its historical contribution to therapeutic practice and human potential and an introduction to its theory. I will introduce key aspects of Gestalt theory with experiential exercises and discussion and there will be Gestalt group experience and demonstration of individual work, as well as opportunities to explore and practice. Participants will be supported to pay attention to their emotional and physical feelings throughout and be supported in focusing on what is taking place relationally, in the present. They will learn more about Gestalt practice and theory, and gain deeper insight into their own relational processes.

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.


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