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ALL PRESENTATIONS ARE WITHOUT CHARGE.
Colleagues often speak to me about the ways cellphones are having an impact on our work as therapists. How do we work with the beeps, buzzes and flashing screens that our clients’, and our own, cellphones emit during sessions? How do clients express their attachment to their cellphones? How are communications between therapist and client shaped by use of cellphones? Outside of session, how do cellphones promote or interrupt contact in clients’ relationships? How do we and our clients interact in our communities?
In this workshop we will explore these and other questions through the lens of Gestalt therapy theory and practice. Relevant neuroscience and attachment theory will also be included.
This workshop takes up the emergent need to acknowledge and understand cellular phone presence in gestalt therapy sessions and in our clients’ lives. We will heighten awareness of cellphones in the phenomenological field and seek to clarify how we are encountering the novel in this paradigm shift in our professional lives and society. A short presentation on the topic will be followed by interactive and experiential small group activity, with whole group processing as well.
New therapists, who naturally integrate cell phones as part of their work, as well as seasoned therapists whose habits of working and communicating have not heretofore included cellphones are welcome at this workshop.
Participants are encouraged to bring their cellphones with them to this workshop.
Adam Weitz, LCSW is a graduate of NYU Silver School of Social Work. He is an associate member of The New York Institute for Gestalt Therapy and The Association for the Advancement of Gestalt Therapy.
Adam presented You, Me and Our Cellphones at the AAGT Northeast Regional Conference in June, 2015, and as guest faculty at The Gestalt Center in New York City in 2014. He presented on Early Infant Relational Development at Empire State College in 2005. After 5 years working as a staff therapist at The Blanton Peale Institute and Counseling Center, Adam began working exclusively in private practice in 2013. Adam is a supervising therapist at Identity House, a New York City based, non-profit organization serving LGBTQ community mental health needs on a volunteer basis.
This workshop is inspired by his realization through observation and conversations with colleagues that technology is altering our social landscape in ways that need to be explored.
Please join us for our Winter Business Meeting to review what the officers and committees have accomplished so far this year and to plan for the future of the Institute.
To join by VIDEO-CONFERENCING please email for instructions
- Treasurer’s report
- Program Committee Report
- Website Committee report and demo
- Planning for a Salon
- Outreach – ideas for publicity and outreach to invite new members.
- Reviewing our video-conferencing experience
OCD is one of the most complicated constellations to treat. Every approach (CBT, psychodynamic psychotherapy, attachment theory) offers bits of wisdom in understanding this “disorder”, but clients remain deeply distressed and none have looked at the OCD experience through a phenomenological, somatic and relational lens.
In this didactic and experiential workshop, we will deepen our understanding and feel for the developmental and symbolic nature of the OCD experience, its connection to separation anxiety and how a somatic relational approach adds a critical missing piece to these other treatment models and sometimes reconfigures them.
Stacey Klein, LCSW is a psychotherapist in private practice in Manhattan. She specializes in treating anxiety, phobias, panic and ocd in children and adults offering a holistic integration of gestalt, developmental somatic, cognitive behavioral, and psychodynamic therapies that she synthesizes with eastern and western spiritual traditions. Stacey previously worked at Mount Sinai Medical Center for 11 years, most recently in the OCD and Related Disorders programs where she was trained in cognitive behavioral therapy. She has presented at Barnard College, The Gestalt Associates for Psychotherapy, The Trichotillomania Learning Center, The Psychotherapy and Spirituality Institute and most recently at the AAGT conference in Asilomar 2014 on new approaches to treating OCD. She runs workshops for clinicians, yoga practitioners, private schools and the public on embodied living.
This workshop will help to demystify the borderline diagnosis, and help the therapists to normalize their concerns, and to engage clients effectively with the tools that they already have in their toolbox. Participants will also be able to identify the wound that the client has, and work from that place. Particular attention will be paid to how grounding can help to center, and chair-work can help to externalize the traumas. A mixture of didactic and experiential work will help to ground the participants in the work. Workshop participants are encouraged to bring case examples to discuss their struggles.
Michael Brennan-Cotayo, LCSW-R is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who received a Master’s in Social Work from New York University in 2000 and is a graduate of the Gestalt Center. The majority of his post-master’s career has been spent working within the HIV/AIDS community as a social worker, advocate, community organizer, counselor and administrator. Through his work with this population he has learned to hone his skills in working with Axis II disorders, learning to normalize their experience, working from a very centered and grounded place.
Boal’s RoD is a social theater methodology designed to replay conflict situations that we have in our everyday lives in order to seek awareness and reconciliation. The process involves group work at different levels of involvement. RoD can be used for (clinical) supervision of cases as well.
The workshop starts with some warming up and a subsequent process of collective generation of personal situations of confusion or conflict. Later the conflict is performed. Participants can act out different roles including those of the emotions. This process becomes like an emotional X-ray of the conflict that helps reach awareness. In some cases, resonances or cathartic sensations can appear.
Emotions that prevent us from acting toward our true goals become the so called “cop in the head” according to Boal.
I was told by a Mayan horoscope reader that my aim in life is to do whatever I wanted. I took this seriously, but my jobs and activities did not always lead to meaningful paths.
My studies and first work placements were exciting. They entailed travelling and doing different jobs in both the private sector and with NGOs. In a summer camp near the Catskills I learned skills to lead teams of youngsters. Later, I experienced Indonesia with its culture of respect and the importance of the “other” as a mirror. There, I also played Dostoyevky’s Idiot at the Russian Cultural Center, which led to a major pivotal change in my path.
Studies and trainings
Back in Spain I took drama training and began to attend humanistic therapy groups as I sensed that I needed a more stable ground and move towards a meaningful resonant stage. While my social involvement increased, drama allowed me to laugh at myself and remove some of the emotional weight I carried. I learned about Gestalt Therapy while I was studying an MA in Emotional Intelligence and it contributed to my search for my inner truths while shedding light on some of my shadows
I am currently involved in counseling, peace work and emotional education training, including RoD’s workshop in Mexico and in Senegal. Since 2013, within the EAGT, I have coordinated a project to support peace activists. As a founding member of an NGO we use creative art as a means of personal and social positive transformation. The path of meditation has inspired my life too.
Gestalt Therapy’s Embodied Styles is a workshop which is both participatory and didactic. It is drawn from my article of the same name which appeared in 2015 in the British Gestalt Journal, and simultaneously in German in the journal GESTATTHERAPIE. In the workshop we will look at five ways of attending to body experience as an integrated aspect of Gestalt therapy theory and practice. Gestalt therapy practitioners have devised dozens of ways of including attention to body experience in their practices. These ways are both overlapping and descriptively individual. How do they differ’ How do we choose which approach to utilize in session’ How may we Gestalt therapists train to use these practices in our work and in our lives’ These are some of the questions we will address in the workshop.
Susan Gregory has been a Gestalt therapist in private practice in New York City for twenty-five years. She has published four book chapters and more than twenty peer reviewed articles. She was president of NYIGT in 2007-2009. Susan offers supervision in person and via Skype. She has been guest faculty at institutes in England, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Brazil. In November, 2015 Susan and fellow NYIGT member Peter Philippson co-taught the British Gestalt Journal’s annual Seminar Day in London, attended by over 100 therapists and trainees. You may contact Susan at GestaltSing@aol.com.
The perception of pain serves an obvious purpose but, what can we do when pain is not something we really need to be aware of and it functions only as an nuisance or perhaps even something akin to torture? What can we do to alter the experience in order to nullify its noxious and unneeded effects or perhaps, even better, to adapt to the experience towards something positive such as, relaxation?
This presentation will attempt to show you just how to do this. The key here is to make music a preferred sensation!
- The appropriate selection of, and, active listening to music can then provide a ground for experimenting with new and preferred patterns of focusing on moment-to-moment incoming sensory stimulation.
- Pleasing and mentally engaging music can be employed to help mitigate unnecessary emotional and cognitive responses to strong sensations allowing for an increased sense of the body and the ability to simply relax in response to such strong somatic stimuli as they dissipate peacefully.
- Gestalt experiments can be employed to sort out the issues involved with making pain less figural by coming to terms with the role a particular pain has in one’s life and then dealing with it appropriately, as in treating it directly or relegating it to the background as we enjoy a piece of music, for instance.
Frank Bosco, MA, LCAT, LMT, BC-MT, RPP, SEP, is a body-oriented music psychotherapist and full member of the NYIGT. He began working with gestalt principles in music psychotherapy in the late 1970’s in various hospital settings while studying at NYU. At the same time he got a license in massage therapy and began exploring various approaches to body-oriented psychotherapy, e.g., Wilhelm Reich and neo-Reichians such as, Alexander Lowen (Bio-energetics) and later Stanley Keleman. Throughout the 1980’s he worked in private practice where he began incorporating and then later, teaching East/West philosophies and practices along with Ericsonian hypnosis in an eclectic therapy approach called, “Polarity Therapy”. This lead to the development of a unique combination of bodywork and music psychotherapy he calls: “Elemental Music Alignment”. This work was the subject of his Masters thesis and he has been offering sessions for it using a specially designed sound table at his Chelsea office in NYC.
In the mid ’90’s he began studying Peter Levine’s “Somatic Experiencing” approach to trauma in the first NY based training and was impressed by how much this new approach employed theories and practices consistent with that of gestalt therapy. With this in mind he began doing this brand of trauma work using hand percussion instruments as a means of communication and expression in gestalt experiments, an approach he calls: “Drum Dialoguing”.
Frank has been teaching and leading music therapy groups at NYU since 1990 and elsewhere since 1981. He has had a mind/body and music therapy center in NYC for the past 26 years. He currently offers classes and events at his current Sound Health Studio location in the East Village. He has a handful of chapters related to pain, trauma, and gestalt in music therapy, one of which has been republished in the book, “NYIGT in the 21st Century“.
For more information see: SoundHealthStudio.com website.
A unique opportunity for two of the largest international associations for Gestalt therapy to meet and learn from each other. We will co-create a fertile ground in order to explore our differences and similarities, our intentionalities for contact, our potentialities to develop theory and practice, and our wish to enjoy ourselves. The meaning of any intentionality is fully revealed only at the end of the process of co-creation: so, let’s start this process with the faith that the ground will support our next steps towards the co-creation of the aesthetic figure of contactful experience.
The conference theme focuses on some cornerstones and growing edges of Gestalt Therapy theory and practice. We will explore the aesthetic dimension of otherness in the contemporary world that seems characterized by a high degree of desensitisation.
NOTE NEW VENUE: National Opera Center, 330 Seventh Avenue
Voice is the sound of breath vibrating. Without breath, there is no voice. Its flexibility and resonance reflect our state of being, both habitual and fleeting. As an integral part of our interactions with others, it is a constant in our clinical work. If we are not attuned to our clients’ voices, we can miss important cues. If we are not aware of our own voices as therapists, we can undermine our intentions.
In this presentation we will examine voice as a phenomenon – how it works acoustically, emotionally, and energetically to reveal what is hidden behind words and to open possibilities for experimentation. Through didactic and experiential exercises, we will explore the relationship of voice to creative adjustments, interruptions, fixed gestalts, and contact boundaries.
Naaz Hosseini is a NYS Licensed Psychoanalyst, Qualified Gestalt Therapist, Internal Family Systems Therapist, and Voice Empowerment Coach. She is faculty and supervisor at the Gestalt Center for Psychotherapy and Training with a private practice in Nyack, NY specializing in anxiety, creativity, voice empowerment, communication, and relationships. She offers PowerfulPresence® Coaching to help entrepreneurs, professionals, and every day humans own their voices and communicate with confidence, clarity, and ease. Naaz can be reached at (646) 504-3039 or email@example.com. Web: NaazH.com.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR JOINING BY VIDEO WILL BE SENT SEPARATELY
NOTE CHANGED DATE
Join us at 2pm for Socializing & Refreshments
Little has been written about Gestalt group therapy and even less about how to create and intervene as a leader in a way that honors Gestalt theory and values.
We are left with important questions about group, such as:
- What makes a Gestalt therapy group a Gestalt group and not some other kind of group therapy?
- What are the goals of Gestalt therapy group?
- What are the necessary conditions to nurture in order to make a Gestalt therapy group function well?
- Is a group that is structured by the group leader antithetical to Gestalt theory in which attending to emerging process is prized highly?
- How can structure be imposed by a group leader without giving undue authority to together at how to best intervene as group leader in a way that honors the multi-layered month leader and creating a hierarchically-organized field?
- What is emergent process and which emergence is honored and valued?
- What about group-as-a whole phenomena?
In this presentation, Patricia will discuss the tension between the polarities of attending to structure and attending to emergent process in Gestalt group therapy as we look at some of these questions together. She will present a model that leans towards the need for a clear and stable structural form in order to create a group that works to deepen authentic communication as it also allows the structure itself to become a subject of attention and inquiry.
We will look atrix of influences we come to recognize as possible avenues for group exploration. A small group-within-a-group demonstration will elucidate structural and emergent elements and further our discussion.
Patricia J. Tucker, LSCW, holds a BA from Bard College (’78), an MSW from Columbia University (’81), and is a graduate of Gestalt Associates for Psychotherapy (www.gestaltassociates.org) in New York City (’85). Patricia is the former Director of Training and a current faculty member at Gestalt Associates. She is also an Assistant Adjunct Professor at the NYU Silver School of Social Work. She has recently completed her term as President of the Association for the Advancement of Gestalt Therapy (www.aagt.org). Patricia is the Founder and Director of The Group Project: Training Weekends in Gestalt Group Therapy (www.thegroupproject.org). She has been running groups and teaching about group therapy since 2002.
Theoretical ideas that animate our clinical work need to be reexamined and refreshed periodically lest they become taken for granted and thus applied without thoughtfulness in the therapeutic situation. In this presentation our aim is to reopen our thinking about the nature of the self and contact, two core concepts in Gestalt therapy.
We will present a perspective that treats both language and motion as action governed by form and meaning. These expressive and communicative actions take place in the situation of being with an inevitable other. Propelled by experience of wonder, such actions aim toward finding the unknown in the other and transforming the known in oneself. We call this “Moving I” and “Feeling Me.”
We will draw on and demonstrate each of our work illustrating how reflexivity is the act of both language and motion toward creating a sense of self–in particular the self in contact. And we also will show how the process of reflexivity as kinesthetic resonance clarifies our understanding of the process of making contact.
Ruella Frank, Ph.D., is founder and director of the Center for Somatic Studies, faculty at the New York Institute for Gestalt Therapy, faculty at Gestalt Associates for Psychotherapy, and also teaches throughout the United States, Mexico, Canada, Europe, and Eurasia. She is author of articles and chapters in various publications, as well as the book Body of Awareness: A Somatic and Developmental Approach to Psychotherapy, (2001, GestaltPress, available in five languages) and co-authored The First Year and the Rest of Your Life: Movement, Development and Psychotherapeutic Change (2010, Routledge Press, available in three languages). Her training video Introduction to Developmental Somatic Psychotherapy, is now subtitled in French and Russian.www.somaticstudies.com
Michael Vincent Miller, Ph.D., has practiced and taught Gestalt therapy for forty years, currently in New York City. His own training was chiefly with Fritz Perls, the Polsters, and for many years with Isadore From. After ten years of teaching at Stanford University and M.I.T., he co-founded the Boston Gestalt Institute, where he directed training. He has also trained psychotherapists in Gestalt therapy in a dozen countries. He was on the editorial board of the Gestalt Journal and was Consulting Editor to the International Gestalt Journal. Besides contributing numerous articles to many journals and magazines, he reviewed books on psychology and related areas for the New York Times Book Review from 1985 to 1994. He is the author of four books: Intimate Terrorism: The Crisis of love in an Age of Disillusion (Norton, 1996), which has been published in eight languages; La Poetique de la Gestalt-therapie (Exprimerie, 2002), which was published in France; Teaching a Paranoid to Flirt (Gestalt Journal Press, 2011), a collection of his writings over thirty years on Gestalt therapy; and A Gestalt Therapy Testament (Casaperlarte, Milan, 2014), published in English and Italian.
We regret to announce that Andy Lapides’s presentation has been postponed due to health concerns.
Aging is a process of becoming aware of changes bodily, medically, socially, and psychologically and adapting creatively. Challenges facing older adults vary greatly and may include such phenomena such as ageism, despair, loneliness, meaninglessness, isolation, dementia, and geriatric depression/anxiety. In this talk, the emphasis will be on treating those over the age of sixty using a relational gestalt model. Some of the areas of focus will be using humor, reminiscence/life review/storytelling, creativity, etc. to create vitality and meaning with older patients and their family members, loved ones, and caregivers. There will be special attention on the existential dimension of facing finitude and loss, a compounding trauma for many older adults.
Andy Lapides is a licensed clinical social worker in New Jersey and New York. Andy practices in Morristown, New Jersey, Morris County.
His educational background includes a master of social work degree from Fordham University. He studied for three years post-graduate in gestalt therapy at the Gestalt Center for Psychotherapy and Training in New York City, where he was awarded a certificate as a qualified gestalt therapist. His final paper was published internationally entitled “A Gentler Gestalt Therapy: On Reducing Stimulation in Adult Survivors of Abuse.” He also completed the one year certificate program in modern psychoanalysis at The Academy of Clinical & Applied Psychoanalysis (ACAP) in Livingston, New Jersey, as well as three subsequent years taking classes in ACAP’s certificate program. He also trained at the Center for Group Studies (CGS) in New York City for two years. Andy also did a one week intensive training in 2013 with Harville Hendrix in Imago therapy at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York. Andy trained with Lynne Jacobs and Gary Yontef for one week at PGI’s residential program.
Andy trained in community-based social work and geriatric care management at the Henry Street Settlement NORC/Vladeck Cares program working with older adults living in the New York City housing project. Andy also worked for the Morris County Division on Aging, where he developed the first caregiver manual for Morris County residents and implemented a psychotherapy program for older adults in Morris View Assisted Living. Andy was involved with the creation of the Morris County Caregiver Coalition and contributed to the Morris County Older Adult Mental Health and Substance Abuse Task Force.
Andy has been featured in the Morris County, New Jersey’s Daily Record for doing home visits in the community with older adults. He has also been recognized by the National Association of Social Workers in Washington, DC for his work with older adults.
Andy is the founder of the “Morris County Psychotherapists’ Network”, a local psychotherapist networking group based in Morris County, New Jersey. His website is andylapides.com.
All too frequently, therapists are unable to claim the fees they desire even from clients who can afford to pay them. Through exploration of our own experience of desire and the complicated feelings that money stirs in us both personally and in our work with patients, the goal of this presentation is to offer vital new perspectives on, and resolution to, our resistances to earning and abundance. We help our patients in every other area but often leave money out because of our own inhibition about having and because of a lack of knowledge and skills in this area. We can only take our patients as far as we ourselves are willing to go and for far too long the thorniest (and juiciest) issues around money have been left out of the therapeutic process.
Therapists’ inhibition about their own needs is a multi-determined problem which includes: difficulties separating from their original family role (most therapists were early caretakers in their families), conflicts within the field itself about charging money for this service, clinicians’ anxieties about being in conflict with their clients and the all too real fear that discontented and angry clients will leave treatment. This workshop proposes that by working through our own conflicts about money we are better able to help our clients change their dysfunctional behavior and attitudes about money. By exploring this conflict as it comes up directly between client and therapist, specifically around the client’s fee and the fee negotiation, clients can address their financial difficulties in a new way.
Since the fee is a powerful intrusion of the practitioner’s need into the treatment, making financial demands of the patient requires the therapist’s willingness to embrace conflict. This workshop will demonstrate how a clash of subjectivities, rather than something to be dreaded and avoided, can be used to start the necessary struggle toward mutual recognition, increased maturation, and furthered self-actualization of both client and therapist.
Kachina Myers LCSW, ACSW, faculty and supervisor at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy (ICP), is also a past supervisor and co-founder of ALGAP (Association of Lesbian-and-Gay-Affirmative Psychotherapists). Her article Show Me the Money: (The ‘Problem’ of) The Therapist’s Desire, Subjectivity, and Relationship to the Fee published in Contemporary Psychoanalysis is now considered a classic on the topic of money in psychotherapy. She has been quoted in O, The Oprah Magazine, Redbook, and DailyWorth.com about the wide and varied emotional relationships people have with their money. Kachina maintains a psychoanalytic psychotherapy and supervision practice in Manhattan as well as offering group and individual supervision to clinicians on earning, practice building, and the clinical dynamics of money.
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.
If there is one thing Buddhism and western psychotherapy can agree upon, it is this: trauma does not just happen to a few unlucky people, it happens to everyone. Trauma is the bedrock of our psychology. Death and illness eventually impact us all, but even the everyday sufferings of loneliness and fear are traumatic. Psychoanalysis and other approaches to psychotherapy have described the developmental, or relational, trauma of the mal-attunement of early life. Buddhism has emphasized the inherent precariousness of impermanence. But both disciplines concur that trauma, of one kind or another, is something that everyone must face sooner or later in life.
This evening’s presentation brings this perspective forward. Ranging from the contributions of analysts like D.W. Winnicott, Philip Bromberg and Robert Stolorow to the undercurrent of loss in the Buddha’s own biography—the death of his mother when he was a week old—this discussion holds that not only do the ‘Little T’ traumas of early life condition how we respond to the ‘Big T’ traumas all around us but that we can use the traumas of daily life to open our minds and hearts.
Mark Epstein, M.D. is a psychiatrist in private practice in New York City and the author of a number of books about the interface of Buddhism and psychotherapy, including Thoughts without a Thinker, Going to Pieces without Falling Apart, Going on Being, Open to Desire, Psychotherapy without the Self and The Trauma of Everyday Life. His latest work: Advice Not Given: Notes of a Buddhist Psychiatrist, will be published in 2018 by Penguin Press. He received his undergraduate and medical degrees from Harvard University and is currently Clinical Assistant Professor in the Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis at New York University.
September 25, 1941 — March 11, 2017
Sponsored by Family & Friends
Karen was one of my closest friends so I’d like everyone to know about how special her life was in terms of how she almost totally embodied and lived with Gestalt therapy as a foundation for her life.
I first me Karen and Pat Kelley in 1971 when we all became part of the founding group of Identity House. Karen was already a Fellow of the Institute having joined by finding her way to Gestalt therapy and the New York Institute for Gestalt therapy in the Sixties when the Institute was in it’s early evolving days. She knew most of the early members including Paul Goodman (wth whose family she remained connected until Paul’s wife Sally passed away not too long ago) In those days of creative ferment patients would be in therapy and often study with the same therapist and then as they grew take on patients of their own under the supervision of those same trainers. Strong lasting relationships developed and hers with Richard Kitzler, Pat Kelley, Lore Perls, and others remained through the decades. Many of these relationships extended into the founding of Identity House and when I joined the founding group and we opened the first LGB and now TQI community peer counseling mental health center in 1972 Karen was my first supervisor for peer counseling and we also became fast friends. I studied with Pat Kelley in a practicum and Richard Kitzler for theory and Karen for supervision as gradually I learned from the ground up about the theory/practice of Gestalt therapy and when ready began to see patients at Karen’s office. Her generosity and fun loving personality gave me impetus to continue when times were rough.
It was within a group of Lore Perls that Karen met Ralph her husband to be, an abstract expressionist artist embedded within the art world of the time. Through her association with Ralph and the art world Karen developed a substantial love and a well versed body of knowledge about art that she always related to the creative, novel aspects of GT. It was this love of art that both of them passed on to their daughter Beth, an artist in her own right who is today the Museum Educator at Woodstock Artists Association and Museum. And the extension of her love for Beth passed on to her Son in Law and two Granddaughters a delight Karen never thought she would have.
It’s not easy to explain those wonderful chaotic times of the Nineteen Sixties and Seventies when experiential therapy was shifting the rigidity of Psychoanalysis, Civil Rights was changing the face of the country, the Women’s Movement was changing consciousness and then the Stonewall Rebellion and subsequent explosion of gay rights organizations became foreground for so many of us. These changes too brought an explosion of new information In terms of practicing Psychotherapy. After many years of studying and reading PHG in a study group with Richard Kitzler by the mid 1980’s the focus began to turn to other philosophers and the integration of new ideas that began to change how we saw GT. Karen’s background and early experience with the formation of the Institute with her friendship with Richard through those times always provided a sense of the continuation of an historical arc as we grappled with finding the roots of GT and moved from Aristotle to the Pragmatists and everyone in between and onward.
It was also during the Eighties that the AIDS epidemic was raging and Karen lost many of those dear to her including Pat Kelley one of the first to succumb to the disease and many of those she had supervised at Identity House. As a comrade in arms Karen and I marched our way through protests, rallies, workshops and anything we thought would help further sanity and human rights in fight after fight deploring the fact that once again, today, we would have to march again.
In terms of our personal lives over those years, many of us Karen included saw opportunities for expression we thought were closed doors. It was during this time that Karen and Ralph separated and after a long period of exploring and examining her identity Karen met the love of her life Stephanie,a Psychoanalyst and an early Director of Feminist Theater who brought that passion amongst others into Karen’s life. Karen had been an English major in college and had always had a love of theater and through Stephanie began to act in a theater group with other women that under Stephanie’s direction developed their scripts as they worked eventually bringing them to the point of performance. Once again Karen incorporated her theory of GT into her evolving association with theater. In addition Karen was practicing, writing, giving workshops braiding all of her loves into a comprehensive whole.
As she and Stephanie grew so did the family as Stephanie adopted two children and they needed a community that would fit their creative and diverse lives. After a period of searching they found their way into the Cohousing movement and an intentional community of private homes clustered around shared space and communal chores in upstate NY. The early days of building this community required a lot of effort, first working with a new group to see if it was a good fit then finding land, building houses and deciding by consensus (sound familiar) how and what was shared or private then dealing with the ins and outs of everyday life. For Karen this was an extension of everything she believe in and had been a part of since leaving Ohio in the Sixties to build the meaningful life she had so successfully accomplished.
Karen was in the midst of this life when she unexpectedly became ill and embraced her process of healing with the same determination and fun loving self that she had used all of her life. Our phone calls and visits were filled with the seriousness of the situation served over the irony and black comedy of the world and the foibles of the human condition that exists in all of us. Her doctors called her a miracle she was so on a fast track toward health. It’s incomprehensible to me that Karen passed away. On top of losing Lucy I am in shock that this could have happened and I will not have the person I have known for so long to laugh with and to see the next adventure in her creative life. For our GT community its an interminable loss.
Couples most often come into therapy when they are stuck in repetitive unsatisfying patterns of behavior. They are stuck in protector-driven reactivity designed to keep their vulnerable parts safe. It is our work as therapists to create a safe environment so they can step back from their reactivity and connect with their partner in new and self-regulated ways.
In this didactic and experiential workshop, we will explore methods of creating safety and helping the couple reach genuine effective connection.
Marla Silverman, Ph.D. is a psychologist with over 40 years’ experience working with individuals and couples, teaching, supervising and training therapists. She is faculty and former Director of Training at the Gestalt Center for Psychotherapy and Training in NYC. She has presented at many conferences in the U.S. and Israel. Her DVD set “Keeping It Real: A Therapists Guide to Working with Couples” is available on her website: marlasilverman.com. Her work is informed by Gestalt Therapy and Internal Family Systems.