The Zen of Gestalt Therapy

October 15, 2023 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
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Oliver Wingart

Presenter: Olivier Winghart


Autumn brings us a special time for contemplating impermanence, and so I’m pleased to offer my presentation about Zen and Gestalt therapy this month. I plan to take up:

  • The importance of Zen and Taoism for the Gestalt therapy pioneers.
  • The parallels between Zen practice and Gestalt therapy practice for a therapist.
  • A closer look at a few relevant sources (F. Perls, J. Enright, D. Price, M. Epstein).
  • Interpersonal meditation for individual therapy and couples therapy.
  • The differences in intention and perspective between Zen Buddhism and Gestalt therapy (including spiritual awakening, the concept of self, and the most precious gift to give a human being).
  • Inspiration from this quote: “Listening to the ongoing process, and getting out of the way.”

We shall also explore the topic experientially in small groups.


Olivier has been an associate member of the Institute since 2015 or 2016, thanks to a suggestion by the late Sean Gaffney and practical help from Susan Gregory.

He has a diploma in engineering from École Centrale Paris, and two Master of Science degrees – one in computer science (from UT Austin, USA), and one in Gestalt psychotherapy (from the University of Derby, UK).

Olivier’s first career was in computer science and artificial intelligence, and in the early 2000s, he started to train in Gestalt therapy. He has maintained a private practice since 2008, first in Stockholm, Sweden, then in Lyon, France (individual and couples therapy). He also has translated six books related to Gestalt therapy from English into French.

Regarding the topic of the presentation, Olivier has maintained a regular Zen practice since 1987 and was ordained as a novice priest in 2020 in the Japanese Soto Zen School.