The Psychopathology of the Situation

November 20, 2022 @ 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm
NYIGT Events
The Psychopathology of the Situation @ Zoom

Presenter: Margherita Spagnuolo Lobb


I wish to present the concept of “The Psychopathology of the Situation” (also the title of a recent book that I have co-edited with Piero Cavaleri) and discuss it with colleagues of the Gestalt community. This concept is inspired by initial reflections by Jean-Marie Robine and the book by Georges Wollants, Gestalt Therapy: Therapy of the Situation. How can we describe psychopathology from the field perspective? How does our clinical work change if we use this perspective? Why is it good to use it, especially with post-traumatic experiences? Is it more useful than traditional clinical perspectives? The book is definitely part of the “relational movement” of Gestalt therapy and expresses clinical reflections of the Italian institute that I have chaired since 1979.

Far from aiming to make a point, this presentation intends to open a live discussion about how our clinical glance – especially on traumatic fields – can actually be developed in the perspective of the situation. I will try to stay with clinical examples as much as possible, avoiding becoming theoretically abstract.


Margherita Spagnuolo Lobb is the director of Istituto di Gestalt HCC Italy (Milan, Siracuse, Palermo). She has developed some basic clinical concepts of Gestalt therapy, like intentionality of contact, aesthetic presence, self as contact, and organism/environment field, in her book The Now-for-Next in Psychotherapy: Gestalt Therapy Recounted in Post-Modern Society. Integrating what she has learned from Isadore From with her experiences with Daniel Stern and other exponents of intersubjectivity and primary relationships, and with neuroscientists like Vittorio Gallese, she has approached the description of the ground experience of the self (the “polyphonic development of domains”), of the intuition of the therapist as a function of the field condition (the “aesthetic relational knowledge”), until her recent studies on “the dance of reciprocity” between therapist and client, as a switch of paradigm needed in our pandemic times.

More about her work: