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Presenter: Dan Bloom
Wars. COVID. Fires. Floods. Autocracies and hate. Our world is fractured. Our earth is ablaze. We find ourselves dispossessed from our own homes – exiles in a land that was once familiar to us. We are haunted by terrors of the visible and barely visible, the present and barely present, and the nightmares of an accelerated future that is too quickly imminent. We are dislocated – thrown out of our place, out of our time. Can contemporary Gestalt therapy respond to the cries of persons alive in this world?
Of course it can.
This presentation will describe a contemporary relational and post-dialogical Gestalt therapy that responds to our being in this “uncanny” world. I will present the life-world and the situation in terms of the exiled self, the other, the alien, and the responsivity of contacting as existential-phenomenological dimensions of our field-emergent self model.
With these conceptual constructs included in our clinical phenomenology, the process of contacting becomes the articulation of our being-in-the-world-with-others and our means to soften the fractures of our phenomenal world. This perspective facilitates our being available to the clinical suffering in our practices.
The presentation will begin with an outline of these ideas. It will follow with small and large group experiments and discussions that are intended to concretize these ideas in an embodied way. I will facilitate the presentation in terms of the group-as-a-whole.
Dan Bloom, JD, LCSW (www.danbloomnyc.com), is a psychotherapist, supervisor, clinical trainer, and writer in New York City. He studied with Laura Perls, Isadore From, and Richard Kitzler. Dan teaches at the New York Institute for Gestalt Therapy, and is guest and adjunct faculty at Gestalt therapy institutes worldwide. He has spoken and given workshops at many international conferences. He leads webinars in Gestalt therapy and phenomenology. He is a past president and a Fellow of NYIGT and a past president of IAAGT. He is a member of EAGT. Dan is a co-founder of the International Study Group on Field-Emergent Self and Therapy (www.ig-fest.org). He is an associate editor of the Gestalt Review, a book review editor of Quaderni di Gestalt, and a member of the Scientific Board of the Gestalt Therapy Book Series. Dan is widely published.
Presenter: Helena Kallner
Working as a psychotherapist requires the ability to judge how to act in relation to the uniqueness of each situation. How do we do this? In Gestalt therapy theory, we refer to this knowing as the aesthetic criterion, that which is felt and sensed in the unfolding dynamic of the therapeutic encounter. Sometimes this knowing is referred to as tacit knowing, or silent knowing – silent because it can be challenging, if even possible to fully verbalize. But sometimes silent as in silenced. Often this aspect of knowing is referred to as mere feelings, vague or mysterious and not as a core element of professional judgment that requires extensive practice, experience, and a theoretical foundation.
This experiential presentation will explore movement and kinesthetic resonance as an essential foundation of knowing. We will inquire into that which we know before we know it, and attend to how always-emerging body-to-body dynamics between therapists and clients inform therapeutic interventions. I will base this presentation on my PhD research, exploring a psychotherapist’s practical knowledge of working with movement in psychotherapy.
Helena Kallner, MA, MSc, UKCP registered psychotherapist, practices Gestalt psychotherapy in Stockholm. She is a senior teacher and supervisor of Developmental Somatic Psychotherapy™. She is currently a PhD student at Metanoia Institute/Middlesex University.
Presenter: Iris Fodor
More and more people worldwide are experiencing dislocation, trauma, and loss in these troubled times and they are telling their stories, writing about and sharing photos of their painful journeys. There appears to be a healing in these narratives and the process surrounding them – the showing, writing, and telling of the stories and letting others see, hear, know, and respond. Drawing on my own experiences in storytelling and memoir writing with people from diverse cultures undergoing stress, I will present some of the techniques honed from storytelling and memoir-writing workshops to foster experiential writing. In the experiential segment, I will introduce theme-based techniques to support our personal writing and tell our stories, and also discuss the use of storytelling and writing for Gestalt therapeutic work.
Iris Fodor, PhD, professor emerita, New York University, is a Gestalt therapist in New York City known for teaching as well as conducting workshops and writing about women’s issues, anxiety management, mindfulness, and integrating Gestalt and cognitive therapy. Iris is also a social activist and photographer whose projects have focused on digital storytelling with adolescents in India, South Africa, and Peru. Her recent work focuses on memoir, experiential writing, and life story.
Presenter: Michael Vincent Miller
The main themes I want to explore in this presentation are related to the importance of form-making in Gestalt therapy as a central principle in the thought of Paul Goodman and what his work continues to teach us. Goodman was a master maker of form. He applied his gift for shaping and reshaping experience and giving it expression in an astonishing number of different artistic, psychological, social, cultural, and political areas, from writing poetry and novels to writing utopian city planning, from his powerful social and political criticism to the radically innovative psychology he brought forth in his collaboration with Perls.
One of Goodman’s most important messages to us as Gestalt therapists is that experience is never merely given to anyone; it is always being made by the forms we give it. And in our ongoing forming of experience reside both the moral and aesthetic dimensions of the lives we live, from our intimacies to our politics. One could say that for Goodman, the moral and aesthetic were integrated, and in that integration resides the radical human-centered message that pervades everything he wrote and taught.
I hope we’ll have an opportunity to open and delve into this question of form in our thinking and practice, as well as to examine its place in Goodman’s work.
Michael Vincent Miller, PhD, is the current president of the New York Institute for Gestalt Therapy. He was trained by Frederick Perls, Erving and Miriam Polster, and Isadore From. He has been practicing, teaching, and writing about Gestalt therapy since 1973. Before that, he taught literature and poetry writing at Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His poems have been published in the Atlantic Monthly, Metamorphosis, and Occident. He is the author of numerous articles, chapters, book reviews, and introductions to books, along with five books: Revolution at Berkeley (Delacorte, 1965); Intimate Terrorism: The Crisis of Love in an Age of Disillusion (Norton, 1996), which has been published in eight languages; La Poétique de la Gestalt-thérapie (l’Exprimerie, 2002); Teaching a Paranoid to Flirt (Gestalt Journal Press, 2011), a collection of his writings on Gestalt therapy; and A Gestalt Therapy Testament (Casaperlarte, Milan, 2014), published in English and Italian. New expanded editions of the last book in English and French under the titles Paths of Curiosity and L’itinéraire d’un curieux will be published by l’Exprimerie in September 2022. Michael also wrote the introduction to the collection of Paul Goodman’s psychological writings, Nature Heals.