Gestalt News & Events from UKAGP
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Happy New Year to all our Gestalt colleagues and friends from the UKAGP Organising Committee!

Belinda, Adam, Liz, James, Helen, Rachel, Vicky, Julia and Alec


Dear <<First Name>>,

It is with great pleasure and excitement that I embark on writing this introduction to the first UKAGP newsletter of 2018! There is a lot of news to impart!

New Administrator

UKAGP now has a new administrator, Alec Parsons-Smith.  Alec has already impressed the Organising Committee with his proactive and relational approach to the work, his enthusiasm, and the way his substantial experience is beginning to shape our administrative practices.

We were very fortunate to have a strong pool of applicants to interview and I would like to publicly thank each of them for their time, and for the professional way in which they engaged with us throughout the whole process. It was a real privilege to be involved in the process.

UKAGP/BGJ Conference Evaluation

As I reflect on last year, the joint UKAGP- BGJ Conference at Wokefield Park comes to mind. The feedback on the Conference highlighted the engagement and enjoyment of most participants in this novel format, and the feedback from our AAGT colleagues was particularly appreciative.   The original papers written for the Conference have been re-written in response to conversations which took place last summer, and are published in the latest version of the BGJ (Volume 26, 2).  In this newsletter you will find a short piece, which illuminates Lessons Learned by the Organising Committee. This is based on a summary of the conference evaluations, which you can also scrutinise in some detail.

Save the date – UKAGP Community Day 2018

Our next Conference will take place in Birmingham on Saturday 30th June, 2018. We are keen to explore ways in which we can work together as a community to secure the future of Gestalt in the UK.  

Why this focus? Why now?

In recent years, UKAGP conferences have focused on developing the role and profile of UKAGP. As a relatively young organisation our main concern was to engage, excite and celebrate the emergence of a national Gestalt Community.  To this end we became the National (UK) Organisation for Gestalt Practitioners within EAGT, the European Association for Gestalt Therapy, and we have  developed a constructive  relationship  with  AAGT, the Association for the Advancement of Gestalt therapy. Closer to home, we developed a consultative committee comprised of representatives of various institutes, training organisations and communities (e.g. Marianne Fry Lecture), all dedicated  in different ways to the development and promotion of Gestalt theory and practice.

At the last meeting of the Consultative Committee, members identified a shared agenda to do with strengthening:  the research evidence for gestalt in the UK; Gestalt’s standing within the field of mental health services; and, developing a wider pool of gestalt trainers for the future, as well as sharing good practice in the teaching of gestalt.

These shared concerns have informed our decision to create opportunities and spaces, in which we might think strategically and practically about how we might continue to grow and thrive as a modality, and a national community of Gestalt practitioners.  We plan to begin this conversation in June and to take it forward to the next stage, our residential conference in 2019.

New Committee Members and New Roles

As Chair of UKAGP, it is a real pleasure to welcome Julia Martin from the Welsh Psychotherapy Association to the Organising Committee. Julia brings her considerable experience to bear on the role of Training Rep.  Julia hopes to share this role with a current trainee, so please volunteer if this might interest you.

Having co-led  with former Organising Committee member Dawn Gwilit, the planning for the influential and productive (see  Gestalt Voices) Community Day for trainees in 2016, Helen Thomas has now taken on the role of Membership Secretary. She will be working with Alec in the coming months to streamline our procedures for joining and renewing membership. This is no easy task but will make a significant difference to members and to the organisation.

I am excited that Vicky Eugenio has taken on responsibility for organising the 2018 Community Day, and that she will be ably supported by Rachel Kellett. Together they are a strong team. Rod London kindly volunteered to add his expertise and local knowledge to the team, and Rod’s support for our work is appreciated. Indeed, we are touched by the willingness of so many UKAGP members to join us for short spells as volunteers on specific projects.

Fortunately for UKAGP, Liz Beauchamp, who successfully oversaw and led the conference organisation last summer, has brought her considerable financial expertise to the role of Finance Manager, which means we continue with another strong and stable pair of hands.

Adam Smith continues as secretary to the Organising Committee. I could not do my job without him, and James Bailey stays on as our publicity guru. Huge thanks to both of them for their continuing dedication and excellent service to the organisation.

With warm wishes to you and all your loved ones.

Belinda Harris 

Celebrating our Community

Learning from your feedback on the 2017 Conference
at Wokefield Park

As we begin to plan for our next conference in Birmingham on 30th June 2018, we want to acknowledge your input on our thinking and planning.  We have analysed and engaged with feedback from 57 conference attendees who completed a Survey evaluation last summer.

There was so much feedback that we could not include it all. Instead, we have chosen a representative sample of responses to each question, so I hope you feel your voice is represented.

Please find below our learning for future conferences:
  • Engagement and connection with the Gestalt community is a prime motivator. Our conferences are viewed as well organised, friendly, welcoming and inclusive.
  • Participants value ease of access to a conference venue, including public transport.
  • Participants prefer a coherent theme throughout a conference and for clear linkages to be made between different components.
  • Participants enjoy some novelty and excitement in terms of format, provided this is balanced with some predictability, and opportunities for personal development. An experiential approach is valued.
  • Engaging in dialogue as a whole community is prized alongside smaller configurations of people and opportunities for dialogue, such as process groups, emergent interest groups and workshops.
  • There is some tension between the desire for structure and the desire for emergence.
  • People appreciate opportunities to move during large group sessions and to work with the heart and body, rather than foregrounding cognition.
  • Participants value a range of workshops offered at different times.
  • Community Meetings require some guidelines and/or facilitation to enable people to join and use the time well.
  • Good food and service are important constructs within the community.

You can find a link to fuller details by clicking this button
Survey Results
British Gestalt Journal

A big thank you from the British Gestalt Journal to the UKAGP for hosting the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Journal at their conference in June.

At this memorable event participants were invited to engage with specially written articles as a basis for exploring contemporary issues in Gestalt therapy. The authors were Lynne Jacobs, Joe Melnick, Margherita Spagnuolo Lobb, Peter Philippson and Gaie Houston, all of whom have had long association with the Journal.

One highlight was the opportunity for groups to engage in discussions directly with the authors about their papers and to explore some of their ideas in more depth. The five contributors wrote lively follow-up pieces as a response to the conference, which are published in the current issue of the BGJ. This was an experimental conference design that celebrated the processes of writing, reading and engaging with Gestalt theory and practice.

If you attended the conference and have a memorable moment or reflections to share, send it in the form of a letter to the editor for inclusion in the next issue to

Please also get in touch if you are interested in writing for the BGJ. Apart from articles, which we always welcome, we are looking for people interested in writing brief reviews of newly published books. This is a good way of developing your voice as a writer – and you get to keep the book!

The deadline for the next issue of the BGJ is mid-February. For news, subscriptions and back copies please go to the website

Christine Stevens, Editor

EAGT Update

Did you know that……..

  • There are currently more than 1,000 members of EAGT?
  • There are more than 2,000 Gestalt psychotherapists in Spain, and approximately 60 Gestalt Training Institutes?  Moves are afoot to develop a Spanish NOGT (National Organisation for Gestalt Therapy) within EAGT in order to develop stronger links with Spanish speaking colleagues. Their status is currently under threat from regulation proposed by psychologists, which would make university accreditation mandatory for the title of psychotherapist. 
  • Gestalt Therapy is a Government endorsed, mainstream therapy in Romania?
  • 250 German speaking Gestalt therapists (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) met in Basel in May 2017 to update their knowledge and to share practice developments in each country?
  •  A Georgian Association for Gestalt Therapy was established in March 2017, and includes all 3 Training Institutes in the country.
  • The Human Rights and Social Responsibility Committee (HR&SR) is involved in 3 projects?
    • Supporting workers at the Babel Mental Health Day Center, in Greece?
    • Using Skype to supporting Peace Brigade International volunteers working with refugees in Lesbos?
    • Training Trauma Trainers in Ukraine – a program of 5 x 3 day workshops to support trauma professionals working with adults, children and young people traumatised by the war.
  • Two ‘brilliant and inspiring’ keynote lectures from the Paris Conference “Exploring Practice-Based Research in Gestalt Therapy” are available to watch online:, and you can download many of the conference papers too! You just need to register your name, email address and a password and then Log In.
EAGT Conferences
HR&SR Conference - Berlin, 26-28th October, 2018 
Yes, We Care! Supporting Human Dignity and Human Contacts in a Collapsing Field

EAGT Conference - Budapest 19-22 September 2019 
Not Knowing: Fertile Void – Creative Indifference

Honouring Sonia: Keeping her legacy alive

The world has experienced a number of disruptive events in 2017, including hurricanes, refugee crises, nuclear threats, wildfires, and political uncertainty. Closer to home, our GISC family is mourning the death of founder Sonia March Nevis. Sonia passed on September 10, 2017. She was predeceased by Edwin Nevis on May 11, 2011.
Edwin and Sonia co-founded the Gestalt International Study Center in 1979. Sonia practiced and taught Gestalt and family-therapy concepts worldwide for many years. She was a founder of the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland where she created the Center for Intimate Systems, devoted to the training of couples and family therapists.
Sonia was the primary contributor to the development of the Cape Cod Model and was the founder and senior faculty member of the Cape Cod Training Program, which she taught for over 35 years.
It is hard to measure the impact Sonia had on the world. To say it was transformational may sound exaggerated, but listening to many at her memorial on October 1, 2017, that is clearly not an overstatement. She taught and demonstrated what it is like to live fully in the world – to be both accepting and discriminating, to be both strategic and intimate, and most importantly to love oneself and others. For those who learned with her directly, you will recall how she often took off her glasses, folded them in her hand, and then like a conductor’s baton, pointed them at you and asked “would you like to do some work?” on whatever topic was at hand. You may have gulped as you had that moment of truth: Were you up for a penetrating revelation? If you said no, she would say okay and move on seamlessly. She was generous, gracious, bold, challenging, and insightful. She was also a private person, preferring a good book as much as a party.
For many, including faculty, staff and board members of GISC, our sadness is paired with an enormous sense of gratitude in thinking of her death. She and Edwin leave a legacy of embracing the opportunity to “be” in the world, to contribute to its development, to be joyful, to be willing to disappoint, to be willing to delight, to be willing to influence and be influenced…. In short, Sonia dedicated her life and career to helping others make a difference.
The Board of Directors has elected to focus this year’s annual fundraising campaign on the Nevis Scholarship Fund, which provides the opportunity for those who may not otherwise have the means to be able to participate in GISC programs.
We can think of no more significant tribute to Sonia and Edwin than to extend their legacy to as many people as possible. We need your help and support. Your generous gift will make a difference and will honor the memory of what Sonia and Edwin have meant to so many of us.
You may give online using the following link, where you will also find listed some priority areas to which you may direct your gift:
Give Online
We thank you for your continued support of GISC. We are a proud and cohesive family, made better by our time with Sonia and Edwin Nevis.

The Board of Directors of GISC

News and Events

Using the Sand Tray
in Therapy

Facilitated by: Christine Stevens
Dates: Saturday 20th January
Times: 10.00am to 5.00pm
Venue: London Gestalt Centre

Fee: £150

A workshop to introduce the theory and practice of working from a Gestalt perspective with the sand tray as a therapeutic tool. Participants will gain hands-on experience supported by theoretical understanding.

Read More

The Well Grounded Therapist 

Gardens, Presence and the Body

A Taster day with Miriam Taylor and Vienna Duff

Dates: Saturday 7th April, 2018: Oxford
Times: 10.00am to 5.00pm
Taster day Venue:  Friends’ Meeting House

Cost:   £105 (£90 early bird by February 10th 2018) - Lunch included

In lovely city gardens, we will explore inner and outer landscapes, strengthen connections with our ‘selves’ and others as well as experience relationship with the wider environment. The taster day is held in central Oxford: a distinct and peaceful venue with a walled garden.

Bookings/enquiries to:

Read More

Field Based Gestalt Practice With Malcolm Parlett & Anne Pettit

Dates & Venues:
April 19th-24th 5 day residential
Poulstone Court, Herefordshire

July 6th – 8th and Nov 30th – 2nd Dec,
Gestalt Centre Wales
In this course of three modules, we shall explore the skilfulness and experience of the Gestalt approach – the heart, mind, body, and spirit of the discipline, and how we practise it.

There are many different Gestalt applications: in particular, in psychotherapy, coaching, consultation, counselling, management, and education. Although each of these has specialised features, there are also fundamentals which apply across the whole range of Gestalt practice.
Read More

The Well Grounded Therapist

Further explorations of Landscape, Stillness and the Body

A Residential with Miriam Taylor and Vienna Duff

Date: Thursday 31st May – Sunday 3rd June 2018
Venue: Poulstone Court, Wye Valley near Hereford

As therapists we tend to pay attention to challenging aspects of the field.This residential offers an alternative focus to attend to the ground and support our presence to the difficult and often negative figures of our working environment.

Miriam and Vienna will invite you to attend to your own ground by exploring your relationship with different elements of the natural environment.

This extended weekend retreat is returning to the stunning and peaceful setting of Poulstone Court, nestled in the Wye Valley near Hereford. In this quiet place, we will explore inner and outer landscapes to restore, nourish and deepen connections with ourselves, others as well as the wider environment.

The workshop will be created through a combination of story-telling, ritual, spaces for process and reflection, movements and supported by use of creative writing or materials.

Cost: £695 /£650 early bird by March 31st 2018   (Concessions; please enquire)

Single rooms @ £24 supplement (first come/first served)

Bookings/enquiries to:
Read More

Certificate / Diploma in Contemporary Trauma Practice

Mind, Body and Relationship


Developing Competence in Applying Neuroscience to Therapy

Led by Miriam Taylor
with guest trainers Sally Denham-Vaughan, Ed Fellows and Margaret Landale

Dates September 2018 – May 2019

This programme of six two-day workshops will build your confidence, skills and understanding in working with trauma, especially complex trauma.

Grounded in a relational perspective, the programme will offer a safe, non-pathologising and accessible approach to working with trauma. It will offer a combination of relational, embodied and experiential perspectives on trauma, including pragmatic ideas on psycho-education and experimental interventions.

Read More

Introduction to Developmental Somatic Psychotherapy

Date: Mon 12th & Tues 13th Feb 2018
Time: 9.30am to 5.30pm
Venue: Metanoia Institute, London - Members only

Developmental Somatic Psychotherapy is a relational, movement oriented approach within a Gestalt psychotherapy framework.

Movement is central to all experience and serves as fundamental support for contacting. Our movement repertoire develops early in life, a language in itself, conveying desires, intentions and emotions.

Participants will explore how primary movement patterns are part of their present experience and influence daily life.

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Personal Development Group in Canterbury

Dates: February 2018 to July 2018
Meeting: Saturday Monthly Group
Group Leaders: Christine Dukes and Michelle Bearman

This experiential group will meet monthly on Saturdays commencing February to July 2018 and consists of 8-12 participants all of whom will have had some experience of personal therapy/ personal development work.

The group is founded on a Humanistic, Integrative approach to personal development and focuses on the lived experience of the moment, drawing on the felt experience of the body, senses and emotions as well as creativity, dreams, imaginings and projections.

The group is open to qualified counsellors/psychotherapists who have an interest in wanting to explore and enhance their own self-awareness and co-creation of relationship within a group setting.

Applications or for Further Information:
Please Contact by 8th January 2018:

Christine: Tel. 07930959122:

Michelle: Tel. 07939160343:

Read More

Working with Children: 
Oaklander-based  Arts Intensive

Dates: April 9th to 13th 2018
Facilitator: Jon Blend
Venue : Gestalt Centre London

This ‘hands on’ experiential Gestalt workshop caters for counsellors, psychotherapists, and health and education professionals undertaking therapeutic work with children. It may also interest those wishing to explore their own relationship with creativity and play. 

The course draws inspiration from the pioneering work of Dr. Violet Oaklander whose approach puts the relationship between therapist and child at the heart of the therapeutic process.

Participants will explore the following arts modalities: drawing/painting, clay, sand- tray, creative writing  and improvised music making.
Read More

AAGT: Toronto 2018 Conference


We are thrilled to share that the AAGT Toronto 2018 website is live at:

Please take a moment to look over the information, share it with your colleagues, and check in frequently as it will be receiving updates as the event builds.
Read More

Lynne Jacobs Workshop 

Radical Relationality: mutual influence in the therapist-patient dialogue

Gestalt Centre Wales are pleased to offer a three day workshop with Lynne Jacobs PhD.

Dates: 18th – 20th May 2018
(Arrive from 5.30pm Friday with a prompt start at 6.00 – 9.00pm. Saturday & Sunday 8:30am for a 9.00am – 5.00pm)
Venue: Gestalt Centre Wales (Venue TBA)  Please advise if you have accessibility requirements

Read More

The Space Between: Trauma, Growth and Transformation

Led by Miriam Taylor, Sally Denham-Vaughan and Martin Capps.

Guest Trainer Margaret Landale and a keynote address from
Ruella Frank streamed live from New York

Dates: 1st-5th October, 2018
Venue: Charney Manor, Oxfordshire

Relational Change is pleased to offer this unique residential opportunity to join a community of practitioners interested in deepening their work with trauma. We will feel our way into a reflective space in which the experience of trauma can be held with curiosity, compassion and contact, opening the potential for choice.

Bringing together elements of theory, skills development and personal process, we will build a ground of support for growth and transformation. 

Read More
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