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Presenter: Chiara Sovegni
My presentation is about my experience as a Gestalt therapist working with adolescents and people who use drugs on the street from Venice to the Bronx. My observation is of the street as a therapeutic setting and the therapist’s body as the space of creating the here and now of a relationship that tries to overcome the trickery of institutions in order to deliver care.
I would like to present this topic because, after almost 20 years of working on the street in two different countries and with hundreds of different individuals, I am aware of the importance of how “giving voice to those who don’t have one” is part of my responsibility as a therapist and human being.
Through books like Growing Up Absurd by Paul Goodman and Harmonizing Psychotherapy and Community to Enhance Everyday Living by Erving Polster, I learned that the Gestalt approach is about responsibility, and how psychotherapy can be used in a creative way to be accessible to a greater number of people.
The extraordinary flexibility of the Gestalt work allows you to exit your office and go wherever people congregate, taking care of the quality of the contact and experiencing new ways of staying together.
I will discuss how meeting a person where they are at, having a non-judgmental approach, and considering the life they are living as the best they can do in the here and now are the only ways to promote the change that can save a human life, and I will share a couple of clinical cases.
Chiara Sovegni is a Gestalt therapist with a five-year bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Padua, Italy, and a four-year master’s degree in Gestalt therapy from GTK Institute, Italy.
After years of private practice in individual therapy with kids and families, she started in 2004 to work with adolescents and people who use drugs for the Department of Health and Social Services in the metropolitan areas of Venice and Padua. In 2018, she moved to New York City, where she worked as a life coach with Italian women until COVID happened. Since 2020, she has worked in the South Bronx, NYC, with a nonprofit organization, where in 2021 she became the co-director of programs, taking care of the clinical staff’s supervision.