Community Gestalt Therapy (CGT) is an advanced training for mental health professionals who are engaged in community work and drawn to Gestalt Therapy.
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55 YEARS LATER GESTALT IS STILL EVOLVING
A STORY OF RESISTANCE, LIBERATION AND INNOVATION
“Our social ways are very unsatisfactory. It is shameful, dangerous, and even unbearable to go as we are. This urgency must inspire us to call a spade a spade and risk touching sore spots. It is in principle impossible to deal seriously with the subjects that must be dealt with without giving offense and rousing resistance.”
Paul Goodman (pictured left), Nature Heals, from “Editors’ Note” 1950/1977
URGENCY TO ROUSE RESISTANCE
RESPONSE TO A CRISIS
HOW CAN GESTALT HELP US IN OUR CURRENT CRISIS?
Following in the footsteps of pioneers in the relational emphasis in Gestalt…and powered by the values of The Relational Movement…Community Gestalt Therapy affirms and expands the tradition’s early focus on defending human diversity and confronting oppression in its many forms.
This new take on Gestalt Therapy reaches back to the social justice emphasis embraced by its founding organizers. But it also reaches out to the contemporary context, where we now encounter similar and greater threats to our humanity (massive wealth inequality, political polarization, social despair, climate change).
Creating this bridge from back to out inspires a new articulation of the theory, a further synthesis of practice, and a resistance to the demand to adapt to a consumer market that reduces access for those most at risk.
DISTRESS IS A SIGNAL OF DISTRESSING CONDITIONS
Practitioners who would most benefit from this training are (or plan to be) engaged in work with:
- communities affected by poverty and wealth inequality, especially families
- people coping with isolation, homelessness, mental illness, chemical dependency, and chronic illness (especially the aging)
- those at the intersection of racism, sexism, and transphobiavictims of bullying, hatred, hate crimes, and persecution
- those who have been displaced from their homes, their families, or their countries
- people in alternative relationship arrangements (open relationships, polyamory, BDSM, kink)
This kind of work begins with a critical analysis of the economic and political interests that shape the institution of mental health in our country.
21st CENTURY THREATS TO OUR HUMANITY
GESTALT CAN MOVE INSTITUTIONS AND SHIFT CULTURE
This training supports practitioners to identify and interrogate the social, political, and economic implications of the systems in which they work. It also highlights opportunities to experiment with new strategies congruent with ecological principles.
The call to service comes in many forms. Often it is the plea we hear when others are in distress. Yet people in pain move us not only to comfort them, but also to take action.
CRISIS IMPACTS VULNERABLE COMMUNITIES
A community approach requires action that affects the larger context. When we witness a relentless stream of systemic conditions carving through communities, the required action is clear. The people swept up in that stream need us to pull them to shore and tend to their injuries.
Still, more action is needed…action that compels us upstream. We need to find out what’s going on up there that leads to the suffering down here. We need to disrupt the cycle before it picks up more speed.
The training invites practitioners upstream with the use of prevention and promotion strategies, in addition to therapeutic tools. We want to create health (rather than wait for illness). This takes a shift in culture.
Fortunately, influencing culture is what Gestalt was born to do. Combined with some effective peer education tools, a culture-building approach can equip people to work together to change conditions, create more humane systems and promote the value of mutual care.
To encourage culture shift, this program trains practitioners to use The Relational Center’s key peer education tool… Stories of Connection.
CONFRONTING THE CRISIS TOGETHER
FOUR 2-DAY INTENSIVES – 9:30AM TO 5:30PM – $950
Participation in this program will provoke emotional courage, expand appreciation for the complexity of human experience, and sharpen critiques of political and economic discourses. The training consists of narrative, theory, live practice, and group process. All teaching will be grounded in practices that demonstrate a cutting-edge application of the Gestalt paradigm.*
Some of the theory topics include:
- humans: the radically prosocial animal
- pragmatism: what works, for real?
- constructionism: a relational phenomenology
- diversity: rising to the challenge of complexity
- embodiment: our instruction manual for nature
- sustainability: applying for the role of steward
OCTOBER 8-9, 2016 • DECEMBER 3-4, 2016 • FEBRUARY 4-5, 2017 • APRIL 1-2, 2017
The Relational Center will also be hosting 10 optional peer group sessions (roughly 2 per month during the training calendar), during which participants will have opportunities to build and sustain a sense of community, practice skills, and deepen their learning.
A limited number of partial scholarships are available.
*A certificate of completion in Community Gestalt Therapy will be offered to candidates who fulfill all the required components. Prior experience with Gestalt Therapy may be helpful, but is not required.
A GESTALT THERAPY THAT INCLUDES
CARE, PREVENTION AND PROMOTION STRATEGIES
THE RELATIONAL CENTER
CLINICAL TRAINING FOR MENTAL HEALTH PROVIDERS
LEADERSHIP TRAINING FOR CHANGE MAKERS
The Relational Center is more than just a training institute. It incubates programs and initiatives that focus on helping human beings overcome the barriers to realizing our core relational and ecological natures.
Through its training programs, The Relational Center is teaching people to identify and “call out” the cultural narratives undermining relational values. These are labeled Stories of Separation. At the same time, it engages people to spread Stories of Connection to inspire a culture of mutual care and shared leadership.
The Relational Center is here to help leaders and practitioners who work with individuals, families, communities or organizations, and who are committed to upholding relational principles.
We believe that community is like food: without it, we are deprived of essential nourishment for our very survival. In today’s world of social dispersion and information overload, disconnection and isolation fuel distress and disease.
Our vision is of a transformed social landscape…with thriving networks of diverse, healthy communities that sustain wellbeing and catalyze leadership. So we work for change on multiple levels, from grassroots to institutional. Our culture-building tools are used widely to promote empathy and collaboration.
10 YEARS OF MAKING A DIFFERENCE
COMMUNITY HEALTH・CIVIC ENGAGEMENT・SOCIAL JUSTICE
APPLY FOR THE 2016-17 CGT TRAINING CYCLE
If your application is accepted, you will receive an invoice for the training tuition. Once we receive payment, we will confirm your enrollment status and provide you with a syllabus and reading list.