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ALL PRESENTATIONS ARE WITHOUT CHARGE.
The simplicity and beauty of gestalt therapy continues to inspire me. I love how it engages us in the creative process of shifting from inhibiting to inhabiting our bodies, and then, to a cohabitating which leads us into a collaborating. It is here that we bring a refreshed and refined emphasis on field theory and a deepening of our understanding of the intricate interweaving of all things.
We begin by stepping into the simplicity of slowing down, and perhaps, even pausing. We rest here in the bodily experience of the present moment, opening to our sensual wisdom. A plethora of sensations may lead us to a land of discovery as we awaken new ways of being.
We learn to stay faithful to the practice of attuning and attending to our moment-to-moment experiencing, and trusting what is so. We experiment with simple activities such as breathing, walking, sitting, etc. The eloquence of simplicity offers the potential to ignite our interest, and requests our presence in the lingering with the experience long enough to inhabit it more fully. Slowly, step by breath, simply and boldly, we grow more deeply into ourselves.
A co-emergent, collaborative spirit invites us to shift into an embodied, relational mindfulness. The simple activity becomes a relational practice. We bring an intentional awareness to developing a partnership with everything – allowing deep respect for the sacred presence of air we breathe, the earth we walk on, the chair we sit on and so on. We explore the sumptuous dance of giving and taking, of offering and receiving while deepening into its extraordinary complexity as well as its simplicity. Our openness to otherness blossoms into an alive meeting. In this mutually engaged process, we cultivate the potential for residing in the world and all our moments in a deeply intimate way. Here we are offered the creative possibility of waking up to a sense of mutual belonging and our common humanity.
We arrive at living our lives deeply rooted, from moment-to-moment and from day-to-day, as if our lives really mattered-as if we really matter. We show up intentionally, fulfilling the calling forth of a sensually alive and embodied presence.
The nature of this basic, simple work – utterly familiar yet strangely new at the same time – continues to transform into advanced and profound depths of possibility.
Gail Feinstein, LCSW is proud to be a member of the New York Institute for Gestalt Therapy for over 37 years. She is honored and privileged to have been mentored by Laura Perls and Richard Kitzler. She trains internationally and currently practices in New York City and the Catskill Mountains where she supervises, leads groups and retreats. Gail is immediate past president of the Association for the Advancement of Gestalt Therapy – An International Community. She is committed to grounding her work in a co-creative, collaborative process, coming fresh to each moment and weaving the values of deep relatedness into the world.
Colleagues often speak to me about the ways cellphones are having an impact on our work as therapists. How do we work with the beeps, buzzes and flashing screens that our clients’, and our own, cellphones emit during sessions? How do clients express their attachment to their cellphones? How are communications between therapist and client shaped by use of cellphones? Outside of session, how do cellphones promote or interrupt contact in clients’ relationships? How do we and our clients interact in our communities?
In this workshop we will explore these and other questions through the lens of Gestalt therapy theory and practice. Relevant neuroscience and attachment theory will also be included.
This workshop takes up the emergent need to acknowledge and understand cellular phone presence in gestalt therapy sessions and in our clients’ lives. We will heighten awareness of cellphones in the phenomenological field and seek to clarify how we are encountering the novel in this paradigm shift in our professional lives and society. A short presentation on the topic will be followed by interactive and experiential small group activity, with whole group processing as well.
New therapists, who naturally integrate cell phones as part of their work, as well as seasoned therapists whose habits of working and communicating have not heretofore included cellphones are welcome at this workshop.
Participants are encouraged to bring their cellphones with them to this workshop.
Adam Weitz, LCSW is a graduate of NYU Silver School of Social Work. He is an associate member of The New York Institute for Gestalt Therapy and The Association for the Advancement of Gestalt Therapy.
Adam presented You, Me and Our Cellphones at the AAGT Northeast Regional Conference in June, 2015, and as guest faculty at The Gestalt Center in New York City in 2014. He presented on Early Infant Relational Development at Empire State College in 2005. After 5 years working as a staff therapist at The Blanton Peale Institute and Counseling Center, Adam began working exclusively in private practice in 2013. Adam is a supervising therapist at Identity House, a New York City based, non-profit organization serving LGBTQ community mental health needs on a volunteer basis.
This workshop is inspired by his realization through observation and conversations with colleagues that technology is altering our social landscape in ways that need to be explored.
OCD is one of the most complicated constellations to treat. Every approach (CBT, psychodynamic psychotherapy, attachment theory) offers bits of wisdom in understanding this “disorder”, but clients remain deeply distressed and none have looked at the OCD experience through a phenomenological, somatic and relational lens.
In this didactic and experiential workshop, we will deepen our understanding and feel for the developmental and symbolic nature of the OCD experience, its connection to separation anxiety and how a somatic relational approach adds a critical missing piece to these other treatment models and sometimes reconfigures them.
Stacey Klein, LCSW is a psychotherapist in private practice in Manhattan. She specializes in treating anxiety, phobias, panic and ocd in children and adults offering a holistic integration of gestalt, developmental somatic, cognitive behavioral, and psychodynamic therapies that she synthesizes with eastern and western spiritual traditions. Stacey previously worked at Mount Sinai Medical Center for 11 years, most recently in the OCD and Related Disorders programs where she was trained in cognitive behavioral therapy. She has presented at Barnard College, The Gestalt Associates for Psychotherapy, The Trichotillomania Learning Center, The Psychotherapy and Spirituality Institute and most recently at the AAGT conference in Asilomar 2014 on new approaches to treating OCD. She runs workshops for clinicians, yoga practitioners, private schools and the public on embodied living.
This workshop will help to demystify the borderline diagnosis, and help the therapists to normalize their concerns, and to engage clients effectively with the tools that they already have in their toolbox. Participants will also be able to identify the wound that the client has, and work from that place. Particular attention will be paid to how grounding can help to center, and chair-work can help to externalize the traumas. A mixture of didactic and experiential work will help to ground the participants in the work. Workshop participants are encouraged to bring case examples to discuss their struggles.
Michael Brennan-Cotayo, LCSW-R is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who received a Master’s in Social Work from New York University in 2000 and is a graduate of the Gestalt Center. The majority of his post-master’s career has been spent working within the HIV/AIDS community as a social worker, advocate, community organizer, counselor and administrator. Through his work with this population he has learned to hone his skills in working with Axis II disorders, learning to normalize their experience, working from a very centered and grounded place.
Boal’s RoD is a social theater methodology designed to replay conflict situations that we have in our everyday lives in order to seek awareness and reconciliation. The process involves group work at different levels of involvement. RoD can be used for (clinical) supervision of cases as well.
The workshop starts with some warming up and a subsequent process of collective generation of personal situations of confusion or conflict. Later the conflict is performed. Participants can act out different roles including those of the emotions. This process becomes like an emotional X-ray of the conflict that helps reach awareness. In some cases, resonances or cathartic sensations can appear.
Emotions that prevent us from acting toward our true goals become the so called “cop in the head” according to Boal.
I was told by a Mayan horoscope reader that my aim in life is to do whatever I wanted. I took this seriously, but my jobs and activities did not always lead to meaningful paths.
My studies and first work placements were exciting. They entailed travelling and doing different jobs in both the private sector and with NGOs. In a summer camp near the Catskills I learned skills to lead teams of youngsters. Later, I experienced Indonesia with its culture of respect and the importance of the “other” as a mirror. There, I also played Dostoyevky’s Idiot at the Russian Cultural Center, which led to a major pivotal change in my path.
Studies and trainings
Back in Spain I took drama training and began to attend humanistic therapy groups as I sensed that I needed a more stable ground and move towards a meaningful resonant stage. While my social involvement increased, drama allowed me to laugh at myself and remove some of the emotional weight I carried. I learned about Gestalt Therapy while I was studying an MA in Emotional Intelligence and it contributed to my search for my inner truths while shedding light on some of my shadows
I am currently involved in counseling, peace work and emotional education training, including RoD’s workshop in Mexico and in Senegal. Since 2013, within the EAGT, I have coordinated a project to support peace activists. As a founding member of an NGO we use creative art as a means of personal and social positive transformation. The path of meditation has inspired my life too.
Gestalt Therapy’s Embodied Styles is a workshop which is both participatory and didactic. It is drawn from my article of the same name which appeared in 2015 in the British Gestalt Journal, and simultaneously in German in the journal GESTATTHERAPIE. In the workshop we will look at five ways of attending to body experience as an integrated aspect of Gestalt therapy theory and practice. Gestalt therapy practitioners have devised dozens of ways of including attention to body experience in their practices. These ways are both overlapping and descriptively individual. How do they differ’ How do we choose which approach to utilize in session’ How may we Gestalt therapists train to use these practices in our work and in our lives’ These are some of the questions we will address in the workshop.
Susan Gregory has been a Gestalt therapist in private practice in New York City for twenty-five years. She has published four book chapters and more than twenty peer reviewed articles. She was president of NYIGT in 2007-2009. Susan offers supervision in person and via Skype. She has been guest faculty at institutes in England, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Brazil. In November, 2015 Susan and fellow NYIGT member Peter Philippson co-taught the British Gestalt Journal’s annual Seminar Day in London, attended by over 100 therapists and trainees. You may contact Susan at GestaltSing@aol.com.
The perception of pain serves an obvious purpose but, what can we do when pain is not something we really need to be aware of and it functions only as an nuisance or perhaps even something akin to torture? What can we do to alter the experience in order to nullify its noxious and unneeded effects or perhaps, even better, to adapt to the experience towards something positive such as, relaxation?
This presentation will attempt to show you just how to do this. The key here is to make music a preferred sensation!
- The appropriate selection of, and, active listening to music can then provide a ground for experimenting with new and preferred patterns of focusing on moment-to-moment incoming sensory stimulation.
- Pleasing and mentally engaging music can be employed to help mitigate unnecessary emotional and cognitive responses to strong sensations allowing for an increased sense of the body and the ability to simply relax in response to such strong somatic stimuli as they dissipate peacefully.
- Gestalt experiments can be employed to sort out the issues involved with making pain less figural by coming to terms with the role a particular pain has in one’s life and then dealing with it appropriately, as in treating it directly or relegating it to the background as we enjoy a piece of music, for instance.
Frank Bosco, MA, LCAT, LMT, BC-MT, RPP, SEP, is a body-oriented music psychotherapist and full member of the NYIGT. He began working with gestalt principles in music psychotherapy in the late 1970’s in various hospital settings while studying at NYU. At the same time he got a license in massage therapy and began exploring various approaches to body-oriented psychotherapy, e.g., Wilhelm Reich and neo-Reichians such as, Alexander Lowen (Bio-energetics) and later Stanley Keleman. Throughout the 1980’s he worked in private practice where he began incorporating and then later, teaching East/West philosophies and practices along with Ericsonian hypnosis in an eclectic therapy approach called, “Polarity Therapy”. This lead to the development of a unique combination of bodywork and music psychotherapy he calls: “Elemental Music Alignment”. This work was the subject of his Masters thesis and he has been offering sessions for it using a specially designed sound table at his Chelsea office in NYC.
In the mid ’90’s he began studying Peter Levine’s “Somatic Experiencing” approach to trauma in the first NY based training and was impressed by how much this new approach employed theories and practices consistent with that of gestalt therapy. With this in mind he began doing this brand of trauma work using hand percussion instruments as a means of communication and expression in gestalt experiments, an approach he calls: “Drum Dialoguing”.
Frank has been teaching and leading music therapy groups at NYU since 1990 and elsewhere since 1981. He has had a mind/body and music therapy center in NYC for the past 26 years. He currently offers classes and events at his current Sound Health Studio location in the East Village. He has a handful of chapters related to pain, trauma, and gestalt in music therapy, one of which has been republished in the book, “NYIGT in the 21st Century“.
For more information see: SoundHealthStudio.com website.
NOTE NEW VENUE: National Opera Center, 330 Seventh Avenue
Voice is the sound of breath vibrating. Without breath, there is no voice. Its flexibility and resonance reflect our state of being, both habitual and fleeting. As an integral part of our interactions with others, it is a constant in our clinical work. If we are not attuned to our clients’ voices, we can miss important cues. If we are not aware of our own voices as therapists, we can undermine our intentions.
In this presentation we will examine voice as a phenomenon – how it works acoustically, emotionally, and energetically to reveal what is hidden behind words and to open possibilities for experimentation. Through didactic and experiential exercises, we will explore the relationship of voice to creative adjustments, interruptions, fixed gestalts, and contact boundaries.
Naaz Hosseini is a NYS Licensed Psychoanalyst, Qualified Gestalt Therapist, Internal Family Systems Therapist, and Voice Empowerment Coach. She is faculty and supervisor at the Gestalt Center for Psychotherapy and Training with a private practice in Nyack, NY specializing in anxiety, creativity, voice empowerment, communication, and relationships. She offers PowerfulPresence® Coaching to help entrepreneurs, professionals, and every day humans own their voices and communicate with confidence, clarity, and ease. Naaz can be reached at (646) 504-3039 or email@example.com. Web: NaazH.com.
NOTE CHANGED DATE
Join us at 2pm for Socializing & Refreshments
Little has been written about Gestalt group therapy and even less about how to create and intervene as a leader in a way that honors Gestalt theory and values.
We are left with important questions about group, such as:
- What makes a Gestalt therapy group a Gestalt group and not some other kind of group therapy?
- What are the goals of Gestalt therapy group?
- What are the necessary conditions to nurture in order to make a Gestalt therapy group function well?
- Is a group that is structured by the group leader antithetical to Gestalt theory in which attending to emerging process is prized highly?
- How can structure be imposed by a group leader without giving undue authority to together at how to best intervene as group leader in a way that honors the multi-layered month leader and creating a hierarchically-organized field?
- What is emergent process and which emergence is honored and valued?
- What about group-as-a whole phenomena?
In this presentation, Patricia will discuss the tension between the polarities of attending to structure and attending to emergent process in Gestalt group therapy as we look at some of these questions together. She will present a model that leans towards the need for a clear and stable structural form in order to create a group that works to deepen authentic communication as it also allows the structure itself to become a subject of attention and inquiry.
We will look atrix of influences we come to recognize as possible avenues for group exploration. A small group-within-a-group demonstration will elucidate structural and emergent elements and further our discussion.
Patricia J. Tucker, LSCW, holds a BA from Bard College (’78), an MSW from Columbia University (’81), and is a graduate of Gestalt Associates for Psychotherapy (www.gestaltassociates.org) in New York City (’85). Patricia is the former Director of Training and a current faculty member at Gestalt Associates. She is also an Assistant Adjunct Professor at the NYU Silver School of Social Work. She has recently completed her term as President of the Association for the Advancement of Gestalt Therapy (www.aagt.org). Patricia is the Founder and Director of The Group Project: Training Weekends in Gestalt Group Therapy (www.thegroupproject.org). She has been running groups and teaching about group therapy since 2002.
Theoretical ideas that animate our clinical work need to be reexamined and refreshed periodically lest they become taken for granted and thus applied without thoughtfulness in the therapeutic situation. In this presentation our aim is to reopen our thinking about the nature of the self and contact, two core concepts in Gestalt therapy.
We will present a perspective that treats both language and motion as action governed by form and meaning. These expressive and communicative actions take place in the situation of being with an inevitable other. Propelled by experience of wonder, such actions aim toward finding the unknown in the other and transforming the known in oneself. We call this “Moving I” and “Feeling Me.”
We will draw on and demonstrate each of our work illustrating how reflexivity is the act of both language and motion toward creating a sense of self–in particular the self in contact. And we also will show how the process of reflexivity as kinesthetic resonance clarifies our understanding of the process of making contact.
Ruella Frank, Ph.D., is founder and director of the Center for Somatic Studies, faculty at the New York Institute for Gestalt Therapy, faculty at Gestalt Associates for Psychotherapy, and also teaches throughout the United States, Mexico, Canada, Europe, and Eurasia. She is author of articles and chapters in various publications, as well as the book Body of Awareness: A Somatic and Developmental Approach to Psychotherapy, (2001, GestaltPress, available in five languages) and co-authored The First Year and the Rest of Your Life: Movement, Development and Psychotherapeutic Change (2010, Routledge Press, available in three languages). Her training video Introduction to Developmental Somatic Psychotherapy, is now subtitled in French and Russian.www.somaticstudies.com
Michael Vincent Miller, Ph.D., has practiced and taught Gestalt therapy for forty years, currently in New York City. His own training was chiefly with Fritz Perls, the Polsters, and for many years with Isadore From. After ten years of teaching at Stanford University and M.I.T., he co-founded the Boston Gestalt Institute, where he directed training. He has also trained psychotherapists in Gestalt therapy in a dozen countries. He was on the editorial board of the Gestalt Journal and was Consulting Editor to the International Gestalt Journal. Besides contributing numerous articles to many journals and magazines, he reviewed books on psychology and related areas for the New York Times Book Review from 1985 to 1994. He is the author of four books: Intimate Terrorism: The Crisis of love in an Age of Disillusion (Norton, 1996), which has been published in eight languages; La Poetique de la Gestalt-therapie (Exprimerie, 2002), which was published in France; Teaching a Paranoid to Flirt (Gestalt Journal Press, 2011), a collection of his writings over thirty years on Gestalt therapy; and A Gestalt Therapy Testament (Casaperlarte, Milan, 2014), published in English and Italian.
We regret to announce that Andy Lapides’s presentation has been postponed due to health concerns.
Aging is a process of becoming aware of changes bodily, medically, socially, and psychologically and adapting creatively. Challenges facing older adults vary greatly and may include such phenomena such as ageism, despair, loneliness, meaninglessness, isolation, dementia, and geriatric depression/anxiety. In this talk, the emphasis will be on treating those over the age of sixty using a relational gestalt model. Some of the areas of focus will be using humor, reminiscence/life review/storytelling, creativity, etc. to create vitality and meaning with older patients and their family members, loved ones, and caregivers. There will be special attention on the existential dimension of facing finitude and loss, a compounding trauma for many older adults.
Andy Lapides is a licensed clinical social worker in New Jersey and New York. Andy practices in Morristown, New Jersey, Morris County.
His educational background includes a master of social work degree from Fordham University. He studied for three years post-graduate in gestalt therapy at the Gestalt Center for Psychotherapy and Training in New York City, where he was awarded a certificate as a qualified gestalt therapist. His final paper was published internationally entitled “A Gentler Gestalt Therapy: On Reducing Stimulation in Adult Survivors of Abuse.” He also completed the one year certificate program in modern psychoanalysis at The Academy of Clinical & Applied Psychoanalysis (ACAP) in Livingston, New Jersey, as well as three subsequent years taking classes in ACAP’s certificate program. He also trained at the Center for Group Studies (CGS) in New York City for two years. Andy also did a one week intensive training in 2013 with Harville Hendrix in Imago therapy at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York. Andy trained with Lynne Jacobs and Gary Yontef for one week at PGI’s residential program.
Andy trained in community-based social work and geriatric care management at the Henry Street Settlement NORC/Vladeck Cares program working with older adults living in the New York City housing project. Andy also worked for the Morris County Division on Aging, where he developed the first caregiver manual for Morris County residents and implemented a psychotherapy program for older adults in Morris View Assisted Living. Andy was involved with the creation of the Morris County Caregiver Coalition and contributed to the Morris County Older Adult Mental Health and Substance Abuse Task Force.
Andy has been featured in the Morris County, New Jersey’s Daily Record for doing home visits in the community with older adults. He has also been recognized by the National Association of Social Workers in Washington, DC for his work with older adults.
Andy is the founder of the “Morris County Psychotherapists’ Network”, a local psychotherapist networking group based in Morris County, New Jersey. His website is andylapides.com.
All too frequently, therapists are unable to claim the fees they desire even from clients who can afford to pay them. Through exploration of our own experience of desire and the complicated feelings that money stirs in us both personally and in our work with patients, the goal of this presentation is to offer vital new perspectives on, and resolution to, our resistances to earning and abundance. We help our patients in every other area but often leave money out because of our own inhibition about having and because of a lack of knowledge and skills in this area. We can only take our patients as far as we ourselves are willing to go and for far too long the thorniest (and juiciest) issues around money have been left out of the therapeutic process.
Therapists’ inhibition about their own needs is a multi-determined problem which includes: difficulties separating from their original family role (most therapists were early caretakers in their families), conflicts within the field itself about charging money for this service, clinicians’ anxieties about being in conflict with their clients and the all too real fear that discontented and angry clients will leave treatment. This workshop proposes that by working through our own conflicts about money we are better able to help our clients change their dysfunctional behavior and attitudes about money. By exploring this conflict as it comes up directly between client and therapist, specifically around the client’s fee and the fee negotiation, clients can address their financial difficulties in a new way.
Since the fee is a powerful intrusion of the practitioner’s need into the treatment, making financial demands of the patient requires the therapist’s willingness to embrace conflict. This workshop will demonstrate how a clash of subjectivities, rather than something to be dreaded and avoided, can be used to start the necessary struggle toward mutual recognition, increased maturation, and furthered self-actualization of both client and therapist.
Kachina Myers LCSW, ACSW, faculty and supervisor at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy (ICP), is also a past supervisor and co-founder of ALGAP (Association of Lesbian-and-Gay-Affirmative Psychotherapists). Her article Show Me the Money: (The ‘Problem’ of) The Therapist’s Desire, Subjectivity, and Relationship to the Fee published in Contemporary Psychoanalysis is now considered a classic on the topic of money in psychotherapy. She has been quoted in O, The Oprah Magazine, Redbook, and DailyWorth.com about the wide and varied emotional relationships people have with their money. Kachina maintains a psychoanalytic psychotherapy and supervision practice in Manhattan as well as offering group and individual supervision to clinicians on earning, practice building, and the clinical dynamics of money.
Traditionally, people at The New York Institute studied gestalt therapy with a close reading of Gestalt Therapy by Perls Hefferline and Goodman (PHG) within a group setting. They would read text, word, phrase, line by line, stopping at difficult passages or ideas and pay attention to whatever emerges from their personal interaction with the text. This reading was a psycho-dramatic exercise in hermeneutics.
This was how both Dan and Susan first learned gestalt therapy. Beginning in the late 1970’s, Dan studied PHG with Richard Kitzler and Isadore From, and Susan was in Dan’s first teaching/learning group in 1991.
Over the many years of teaching/learning/and practicing, they and their understanding of PHG and gestalt therapy changed. The clinical and socio-political world morphed many times over. Intrinsic givens of gestalt therapy clinical practice have been reconsidered — some radically changed and new perspectives assimilated.
How Susan and Dan now train and practice reflect these changes, each from their own particular and different point of view. Susan’s ongoing interests include the energy of oral language as an essential, embodied aspect of relationship. She is also interested in practical approaches to teaching the integration of gestalt therapy theory with practice.
Dan has been involved in an active dialogue between PHG and contemporary theory/practice. He is currently interested in the relational perspective of gestalt therapy and the clinical phenomenology of the other.
PHG remains the text of reference for their teaching/learning and practice of gestalt therapy.
Susan and Dan will present this in more detail and with their personal examples and experiences. They will offer experiential exercises, group interaction, and discussion of how workshop attendees have studied, and trained in gestalt therapy theory/practice and are carrying it into the future.
If there is one thing Buddhism and western psychotherapy can agree upon, it is this: trauma does not just happen to a few unlucky people, it happens to everyone. Trauma is the bedrock of our psychology. Death and illness eventually impact us all, but even the everyday sufferings of loneliness and fear are traumatic. Psychoanalysis and other approaches to psychotherapy have described the developmental, or relational, trauma of the mal-attunement of early life. Buddhism has emphasized the inherent precariousness of impermanence. But both disciplines concur that trauma, of one kind or another, is something that everyone must face sooner or later in life.
This evening’s presentation brings this perspective forward. Ranging from the contributions of analysts like D.W. Winnicott, Philip Bromberg and Robert Stolorow to the undercurrent of loss in the Buddha’s own biography—the death of his mother when he was a week old—this discussion holds that not only do the ‘Little T’ traumas of early life condition how we respond to the ‘Big T’ traumas all around us but that we can use the traumas of daily life to open our minds and hearts.
Mark Epstein, M.D. is a psychiatrist in private practice in New York City and the author of a number of books about the interface of Buddhism and psychotherapy, including Thoughts without a Thinker, Going to Pieces without Falling Apart, Going on Being, Open to Desire, Psychotherapy without the Self and The Trauma of Everyday Life. His latest work: Advice Not Given: Notes of a Buddhist Psychiatrist, will be published in 2018 by Penguin Press. He received his undergraduate and medical degrees from Harvard University and is currently Clinical Assistant Professor in the Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis at New York University.
Couples most often come into therapy when they are stuck in repetitive unsatisfying patterns of behavior. They are stuck in protector-driven reactivity designed to keep their vulnerable parts safe. It is our work as therapists to create a safe environment so they can step back from their reactivity and connect with their partner in new and self-regulated ways.
In this didactic and experiential workshop, we will explore methods of creating safety and helping the couple reach genuine effective connection.
Marla Silverman, Ph.D. is a psychologist with over 40 years’ experience working with individuals and couples, teaching, supervising and training therapists. She is faculty and former Director of Training at the Gestalt Center for Psychotherapy and Training in NYC. She has presented at many conferences in the U.S. and Israel. Her DVD set “Keeping It Real: A Therapists Guide to Working with Couples” is available on her website: marlasilverman.com. Her work is informed by Gestalt Therapy and Internal Family Systems.
Embodied relational intimacy is a wordless communication between intimates that is conveyed through eye contact, facial expression, tone of voice, and empathetic gestures that is at the very root of trust and affection between mates. Likewise, when playfully eroticized, this embodied quality of connection provides the essence of arousal between lovers.
This presentation will begin with a brief review of the neurobiological evidence in support of Gestalt practice with special emphasis on relationship and sexual issues. I will show the profound interplay between love and sex from early childhood programing to adult intimate relationships. We will then explore several methods for integrating a body-based Gestalt experiential focus with breath work and emotional-sensual-sexual healing in couples therapy. Finally, we end with several body-based exercises and experiments that can be utilized with couples during a session and at home.
Stella Resnick, PhD is a clinical psychologist and AASECT-certified sex therapist and clinical supervisor in private practice in Beverly Hills, CA specializing in couples and sex therapy. She co-leads an annual couples’ retreat with her husband at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, CA and also runs yearly training programs there in her Full-Spectrum Gestalt (FSG) approach integrating couples and sex therapy. Stella’s most recent book is The Heart of Desire: Keys to the Pleasures of Love (2012). She can be reached through her website at www.drstellaresnick.com.
One of the more unique aspects of gestalt therapy theory can be found in its ability to address, not only the psychological problems presented by those seeking our help, but also in the healing of those social and political maladies contributing to such. The basis for such uniqueness can be found in Paul Goodman’s anarchistic philosophical contributions to our theory. The discussion will center around the gestalt concepts of self-formation and organismic self-regulation and their therapeutic, social, and political implications. It will also include a series of guided imagery exercises focused on the possibilities available of integrating such concepts into one’s practice in providing our clients with the tools for both personal and social change. Given the growing political and emotional upheavals arising throughout the world, gestalt’s holistic orientation is needed now more than ever.
Jack Aylward, EdD is a psychologist currently practicing in Watchung, New Jersey. In addition to psychotherapy, Jack has led training and supervision groups in the US, Australia, and Europe. His first book: Gestalt Therapy and the American Experience was published by Ravenwood Press in 2012. He has recently completed his second book: The Anarchy of Gestalt Therapy: A Proposal for Radical Practice.
During traumatic events the dependable ground becomes disrupted, or in cases of severe trauma, destroyed and the foreground becomes preeminent. Regardless of circumstance feelings of confusion, disassociation, anxiety and fear abound as the relationship between foreground/background occupies a shifting field.
In most cases psychotherapists and trauma specialists tend to focus on the traumatic event itself without taking sufficient account of trauma as an event within the field.
Another way of working with trauma, particularly where the client cannot or has difficulty accessing the event is to focus on the sensory relationship of the traumatic environment. In this way clients can access color, texture, taste, smells, sounds of the event before, during and after the event itself.
In addition, clients who have a closer relationship to rebuilding the ground through their sensory experience can create a secure environment step by step as an integrated experience between themselves and the environment they are contacting.
This presentation will weave the shared experiences of low level traumatic events of participants into a didactic presentation and discussion of the topic.
Lee Zevy is a Fellow of the New York Institute for Gestalt Therapy and has twice served as President. She has studied the effects and healing of trauma since she began her psychotherapy practice in the 1970’s. This new work on the Environment of Trauma came out of her personal experience with a fire in her apartment just prior to and included her experience of 9/11. In her current life she writes, teaches, supervises and presents in many venues.
Somatic Experiencing (SE) has deep roots in Physiology, Hypnosis, Gestalt, and Focusing. SE was created as a modality for treating trauma but, once learned, proves to be very applicable to all clients. Gestalt focuses on the completion of organic contact cycles and unfinished emotional business. SE focuses on completion of cycles of arousal and incomplete animal responses. In addition to our role in facilitating contact, we must maximize our skills as arousal managers.
Topics that the workshop will attempt to address include:
The animal threat response cycle residing under the contact cycle.
- A deeper look at the felt sense through body sensation as the agent of integration.
- A basic understanding of the Autonomic Nervous System and its role in regulation and dysregulation.
- Preventing the primitive brain from hijacking the client’s experience.
- A Parasympathetic Tool Box for settling arousal.
- What the body learns the psyche will follow.
The topic is large and the time-frame is small so many practical handouts will be provided, so participants can take the basics presented and begin to play with them.
(The paper which Matthew wrote as a graduation requirement at the Gestalt Center was his first attempt to blend Somatic Experiencing and Gestalt and can be found by Googling “How the Physiology of Somatic Experiencing Can Give the Gestalt Therapist a Broader Understanding of What They Are Already Doing and Allow Them to Do It Better”)
Matthew Whaley LCSW is a Gestalt therapist in private practice in New York City and at the Jersey Shore. He trained at the Gestalt Center for Psychotherapy and Training and later joined the GCPT faculty (gestaltnyc.org). He is a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner and a teaching assistant for the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute (traumahealing.org). Matthew brings SE’s physiological approach to behavior to compliment and illuminate Gestalt theory and technique. He also has a deep interest in spirituality and became an ordained interfaith minister through One Spirit Learning Alliance and One Spirit Interfaith Seminary.
Mark Fairfield will offer a presentation on a demonstration project —an initiative hosted by The Relational Center in Los Angeles — that combines a public health prevention model, a community organizing tradition, and social capital metrics in a culture-building strategy which has been adopted by several contemporary social movements. The discussion will trace significant lines of influence back to Gestalt theory and values and the political and social critique underlying them. The presentation will also explore opportunities for mental health professionals to exert more influence within the health care system and its various institutions.
Mark Fairfield is the Founder and Executive Director of The Relational Center, a grassroots nonprofit in Los Angeles. Mark is a longtime community organizer, organizational consultant, Gestalt trainer, author and teacher. After completing his graduate studies at Columbia University in the 90s, he took various leadership positions in the AIDS movement for over a decade. In addition to overseeing The Relational Center, Mark consults with other non-profit boards and management teams, offering strategic planning facilitation, leadership development and support for culture shift.