Billy Desmond at the Gestalt Conference ‘Re-Starting, Re-Thinking, Re-Connecting’ – 16 March 2024

Dear psychologist, psychotherapist!

Use a real opportunity to learn the ideas about group therapy in gestalt approach from Billy Desmond – a queer cis gender white Irish man, living between the rural West Coast of Ireland and London, England; a Gestalt psychotherapist, supervisor, and dialogical educator with a particular research interest in embodied ways of knowing in groups and diverse relational dynamics within the LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex) community. Billy is a faculty member of Irish Gestalt Institute, lecturer, practitioner, activist. It’s a great chance to meet Billy with his explorations about the topic “Migrant as Exile: Moving across thresholds in search of ‘home’ in Gestalt group therapy”.

Billy Desmond at the Gestalt Conference – 16 March 2024:

We come into the world moving. Our animating self is in motion for the duration of our lives. As human beings we are continually in a state of migrating as we move across thresholds in the process of navigating different life stages, and relational, cultural, social and political experiences. The migrant is a person in motion where a unique phenomenological experience of exile is co-emergent at the thresholds of the social-cultural and relational fields.

The experience of the queer person who is migrating is one where ‘home’ was a place of ‘exile’, not necessarily a place of belonging. Exile emerges of and from a shuddering of community and groups evoking suffering and hope as a contact-boundary phenomenon in the therapeutic situation. The migrant leaves ‘home’ exiled from their group but continues to dwell in the world, a world of relatedness that is being co- created in the interaction of a tactile, kinetic, kinesthetic lived body with the environment.

Billy Desmond proposes that Gestalt therapists need to foster an embodied, hermeneutic phenomenological field orientation, a stance of embodied hospitality, when working in groups to support the exiling experience being transformed.

We look forward to seeing you at the conference!