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ALL PRESENTATIONS ARE WITHOUT CHARGE.
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.
“Art works are actually more like people than they are like things.”
“The body is to be compared, not to a physical object, but rather to a work of art.”
“The landscape thinks itself in me and I am its consciousness.”
This dialogue compares the concept of embodied space with the kind of space that occurs in a painting. In a painting, space is virtual and provides a context that differentiates one artists view of the world from another’s. In my 2016 presentation, “Meeting Art at the Contact Boundary”, I proposed that for an artist, space and the gestalt field are proximate. This talk offers additional insights into this theme. Even though a painting might look like a window, spatially it is not really confined by its frame.
The artist Louise Bourgeois described space as a metaphor for the structure of our existence. Like the gestalt field, we can say that space is an experienced event. So, while they are not interchangeable, juxtaposing theories of space and field is quite illuminating. When we are therapists we are utterly in the moment. When we are with art we are utterly in moment as well. In gestalt thinking, we can say that the field is the medium that connects everything. For the painter, the medium that connects everything is space.
This presentation was inspired by a suite of poems created by the Gestalt Therapist Sean Gaffney entitled “The Las Meninas Suite.” The 16th century painting by Diego Valazquez, is a spatial riddle that has both fascinated and inspired artists and art critics since its creation. Gaffney’s poetry is an embodied immersion into the painting allowing us to inhabit its virtual space. The painting depicts a large room, a six-sided interior. In that respect, it is much like the room where gestalt therapy is conducted.
This will be a visual presentation that will include interactive exercises about embodied space.
Perry Gunther MFA, LP is a practicing artist as well as a Gestalt therapist. He has exhibited work in New York City as well as in Europe. He also was a professor of art and art history before beginning his studies in Gestalt Therapy. In that capacity, he taught drawing sculpture painting and design at Cleveland State University, Hunter College and Cooper Union. Currently he lectures about art and Gestalt. In 20016 Gunther gave a talk at the AAGT EAGT Conference in Sicily entitled “Meeting Art at the Contact Boundary”, an evaluation of parallel currents in art and gestalt.
The impact from meeting with people from many walks of life and ages – and the frustration over static diagnostic models not compatible with a Gestalt perspective – fueled me to develop a dynamic diagnostic navigation model that supports dialogue and mutual influence. FAMA (Scandinavian short for Field Analysis with Awareness) is based on two major influences:
Allowing the preciousness of the present moment as well as awareness of the constant organising and reorganising of the field in chaotic, polarised, flexible or integrating ways. The flowchart suggests a willingness to alternate between symmetric and asymmetric responsibility as part of the role. Thus interaction and interventions may be designed to respond to the relevant need in the field, be it short or long-term processes.
The flowchart is an expression of my life and work experiences and found its shape about 10 years ago. The aim is to fill 3 needs: To be a guiding map in the gestalt training, to enable a dialogue outside the gestalt environment, to acknowledge a growing number of a “new type of clients” needing more support and a firm structure held in the relation.
The visual easy to grasp format and the dynamism of the flowchart will be introduced. How to navigate in the 4 field is illustrated by exercises with focus on the most important of the 12 gates: awareness of the role, the body, the activation level of the nervous system and attachment styles.
Perls, Hefferline, Goodman published Gestalt therapy (1951).Half a century later neuroscience confirms our focus on figure / ground formation and awareness! We are invited to work with awareness of the complex brain & nervous system responses fueling the organismic self-regulation. Thus we can approach unfinished, fixed gestalt, frozen in body & mind, in a way the founders only could dream of.
As I learned to tune into and gently cooperate with our nervous system and its deep influence on our capacity to perceive, stay aware of and participate in the present moment, my gestalt practice and life has found new depths with an increased understanding of how survival patterns, developmental issues and traumas can keep us stuck in past – or expand from chaos to spirituality. Thus adding the nervous system as a gate in the chart reminds us of our innate capacity to return to balance and embrace more facets of life.
Certified Gestalt therapist and supervisor – Certified Somatic Experiencing ® -Practitioner
Certified Somatic Attachment Trainer Diane Poole Heller-Certified Mindfulness instructor – B.A Social Science.
40 years in the field of psychotherapy, supervision and training include 25 years at the faculty of Gestalt Academy of Scandinavia, developing Existential Leadership training.
Moreover addressing collective wounds by 12 years of supervising at Red Cross Centre for Rehabilitation of traumatized refugees, initiating: “Children with scars without wounds“-an ongoing project for offspring’s of the Resistance movement from WW II and survivors of Holocaust as well as conducting Peace Workshops for the public. Deeply influenced by long-term spiritual practice within the Diamond Approach and Buddhistic teaching. Jewish roots and Buddhistic wings!
Judith Beermann Zeligson Somatic Experiencing®-practitioner, Gestalt psychotherapist & supervisor, Mindfulness & meditation instructor, family therapist, B.A. Social Science.
Her 40 years of running a private practice also includes 25 years at the faculty of Gestalt Academy of Scandinavia, developing Leadership Training programs as well as addressing Collective Wounds by supervising 12 years at Red Ross Centre for Rehabilitation of traumatised refugees, conducting Peace Workshops and initiating and running “Children with scars without wounds” – a project for offspring’s of Holocaust survivors and the Resistance movement from WW II.
Judith has a unique capacity to discover the innate resources of the individual and reach the core where we dare to see our own patterns. With a sense of humour and clarity of mind and speech, she integrates theory and practice. Participants are invited to explore what shapes their present life – and experience that transformation is possible as one dares to be with what is – and opens to receive a new experience.
She has assisted Diane Poole Heller in several Dare trainings in Denmark as well as being the coordinator when her 2-year attachment training SATE (somatic attachment therapy) was introduced in Denmark. She is now certified to teach the DARE / SATE training.
Our present experience is embedded in differing contexts, or embodied fields. We emerge and are drawn to creatively adjust our self in this relationship between our body as figure in the ground of the presence of others and the physical world. In this workshop, we will discuss and explore the relationship between our own sense of selves and the multiple dances we are engaged in, from in utero, to parents, families, culture and the actual land when stand upon.
My intention is to help us attend to our body/self in relation, sometimes pre-personal and often inarticulate. We will attempt to develop a somatic intelligence to describe this inter-relatedness between our self and other.
Michael Clemmens, PhD is a licensed psychologist with a private practice in Pittsburgh, PA working with individuals and couples. He is a faculty member at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland and Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. He travels nationally and internationally teaching and offering experiential learning opportunities. He is the author of Getting Beyond Sobriety: Clinical Approaches to Long Term Recovery published by Gestalt Press and the article “Culture and Body”, “Gestalt therapy as an Embodied Relation Dialogue” and the editor of the soon to be published book Embodied Relational Gestalt, to be published by Gestalt Press.
Since its origins, Awareness has been intended as a knowledge of the field, more than of a single person. With the concept of AER, I’ve developed tools, which are clearly field oriented, for the Gestalt therapist to concentrate of this crucial competence. Participants will have the opportunity to experience these tools and dialogue at the end.
Margherita Spagnuolo Lobb, Director of the Istituto di Gestalt HCC Italy (Siracusa, Palermo, Milan), with English spoken programs for Gestalt therapists. Full Member of the New York Institute for Gestalt Therapy (NYIGT), Past-President of the European Association for Gestalt Therapy (EAGT) and of other Psychotherapy and GT Associations (SIPG; FIAP; FISIG). She is Editor in chief of the Journal Quaderni di Gestalt, and of the International Gestalt Therapy Book Series. Her most recent book The Now-for-Next in Psychotherapy. Gestalt Therapy Recounted in Post Modern Society (2013) is available in English and other 6 languages. More on www.gestaltitaly.com