As part of the creation of the Lodz Gestalt School, we meet with fantastic people who share their experience with therapy, Gestalt, as well as the creation of the organization and what is important in the therapeutic training program. Recently, courtesy of Kamila White, we had the opportunity to meet with John Gillespie.
John is a Gestalt psychotherapist who trained at the Gestalt Center in London, the Metanoya Centre and also the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland. While still in training, he founded New Gestalt Voices, an organization whose goal is to support the voices of those least likely to be heard in socio-political dialogue, and to bring this to the discussion in the Gestalt community. NGV publishes articles and does workshops on the role of power and related oppression in modern societies. It is an organization that strives for non-hierarchy, promoting the voice of new people, as well as new topics and approaches within our approach. At the same time, it remains in dialogue with existing currents and themes.
We talked with John and Kamila about building an organization and how important it is in this process that the people who make it up have a bond with each other, that they know each other. In order to work effectively on specific tasks, you need a good relationship between the people in the team and that you create conditions and invite open exchanges regarding values, needs and feelings. We take it to heart. We meet with the team every month. First we got to know each other (we still do), we determined around what values we would create a team and a school, we talk, we supervise each other, we talk about what makes us happy, but also what we are afraid of. Opening.
John also pointed out that the training should not lack work on trauma, addictions and sexuality. We have these topics covered in the curriculum. We are currently working on putting three modules on sexuality in the program instead of one. Regarding addiction and trauma – in May and June we will be strengthened by a workshop by Rafael Cortina, whom we will have the honor of hosting.
The third important thing from the meeting with John and Kamila – working with students/students in the balance between process and education. Both are very important, it is impossible to teach when some emotions/needs in the group remain unattended. We intend to combine work in a group process with learning. We plan to begin and end each learning activity by observing and discussing the group process.
We leaned with Kamila and John on the topic of hierarchy and power, inevitably present in the training process, as in the therapy process itself. It is only relatively recently that Gestalt psychotherapy, emphasizing contact, the phenomenology of the encounter between self and equality, has emphasized the phenomenon of difference and difference (diversity). In clinical practice and therapeutic training, this translates into a two-pronged approach to thinking about contact and being in contact. On the one hand, we are interested in that classic here-and-now between us, relational and experiential awareness, but on the other hand, we have a responsibility – as people who help and train others – to be aware of the broader field and context. Awareness of the oppression faced by our clientele or students and at the same time awareness of our privileges is something that will always be present in the background. It will manifest itself, among other things. In a sense of shame or withdrawal. Focusing only on the figure of immediacy of experience seems insufficient and even reproduces the existing regimes of power in our society. We want to keep this in mind at our school. Build together a community experience based on difference. In this sense, our therapeutic training has at the same time an educational and political purpose, the education of citizens and citizenship – to use the phrase of Malcolm Parlett, British Gestaltist, friend and supervisor of New Gestalt Voices.
With John and Kamila, we intend to continue our discussions and consultations. We will also soon have the pleasure of inviting you to a workshop they are preparing.