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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.