LEARNING GOALS – Online Weekend Training Program

YEAR 1 – GROUP A

Weekend 1 – Introduction to Dialogue

  1. Describe the principle of Presence
  2. Describe the principle of Commitment to Dialogue
  3. Describe the principle of Inclusion
  4. Describe the principle of Confirmation
  5. Contrast the concepts of “presence” vs “seeming”
  6. Describe how increased awareness contributes to dialogue
  7. Explain Buber’s I-It and I-Thou modes of relating and how both are necessary

Weekend 2 – Paradoxical Theory of Change

  1. Describe the paradoxical theory of change
  2. Discuss what it means that the gestalt therapist is not a “change agent”
  3. Explain the relationship between awareness and change in gestalt therapy theory
  4. Discuss the notion that the moment of awareness is itself a curative moment
  5. Define and discuss the gestalt therapy concept of support
  6. Discuss the impact of the paradoxical theory of change on the therapeutic relationship
  7. Begin to identify the application of the paradoxical theory of change in the clinical demonstrations provided
  8. Explain how we reconcile the paradoxical theory of change with active interventions

Weekend 3 – Foundational Concepts

  1. Describe 2 of the evolutionary changes that led to the emergence of contemporary relational gestalt therapy
  2. Discuss the relationship between organismic self-regulation and creative adjustment
  3. Explain the concepts of figure and ground and their relevance for therapy
  4. Describe the gestalt therapy concept of the contact boundary
  5. Explain the gestalt therapy approach to anxiety
  6. Identify the role of contact and support in the clinical demonstrations provided
  7. Discuss the gestalt concept of polarities and its relevance for clinical work

Weekend 4 – Working with Shame

  1. Discuss the concept of shame
  2. Compare the experience of shame and guilt
  3. Discuss the treatment of shame, guilt, and the shame-guilt bind
  4. Describe how the principles of Dialogue and the Paradoxical Theory of change support the treatment of patients with strong shame tendencies
  5. Recognize triggers for shame in the therapeutic dyad for both patient and therapist
  6. Recognize the difference between embarrassment and shame
  7. Use an understanding of childhood developmental experience to explain the formation of shame experience in patients and self

Weekend 5 – Interventions as Experiments

  1. Describe when experiments are effective as a part of the therapeutic process
  2. Describe how experiments are effective as part of the therapeutic process
  3. Explain the idea that “dialogue itself is an experiment”
  4. Discuss whether there is a conflict between working relationally with experiments and the paradoxical theory of change
  5. Discuss why an attitude of uncertainty would be important when working relationally with experiments
  6. Describe the difference between “using a technique” and working relationally

Weekend 6 – Working Relationally

  1. Explain the relationship of shame the development of the relational perspective in Gestalt therapy
  2. Identify instances in my work with patients in which my awareness of relational themes is in the background
  3. Describe instances in which a relational perspective enhances my capacity to explore cultural themes
  4. Discuss the similarities between a “relational approach” and a “field theory perspective”
  5. Explain the idea of the intersubjective emergence of experience
  6. Explain the mutual influence of therapist and patient on all experience in the therapeutic conversationDescribe the difference between “using a technique” and working relationally


YEAR 2 – Groups B1 & B2

Weekend 1 – Dialogue Centered Psychotherapy

  1. Explain the difference between “reality and actuality” (Staemmler)
  2. Discuss the relationship between dialogue and interpretation (Gadamer)
  3. Discuss the role of interpretation in gestalt therapy
  4. Explain the difference between a hermeneutic of suspicion and a hermeneutic of trust
  5. Discuss the hermeneutic circle and its relationship to therapeutic practice
  6. Explain 3 ways in which a relational approach to therapeutic work serves to dignify the patient
  7. Identify one strength and one challenge for yourself as a relational gestalt therapist

Weekend 2 – Shame is Relational

  1. Compare and contrast individualist and relational perspectives on the concept of self
  2. Explain the idea that shame is an index of reception in the field
  3. Discuss DeYoung’s statement “Shame is the experience of one’s felt sense of self disintegrating in relation to a dysregulating other”
  4. Identify an experience of personal shame that was dysregulating and impacted experience of self
  5. Identify and explain 3 relational approaches to treating shame
  6. Explain how the therapeutic relationship is primary to the treatment of shame
  7. Discuss the therapeutic role of inclusion and presence in the treatment of shame

Weekend 3 – To be determined

Weekend 4 – Introduction to Phenomenology

  1. Describe the phenomenological method
  2. List 3 principles guiding existential phenomenology & the phenomenological method
  3. Describe how the phenomenological method is applied in clinical practice
  4. Describe the relationship between the awareness process, the paradoxical theory of change, and the phenomenological attitude
  5. Describe how the gestalt notion of “here & now” relates to phenomenology
  6. Discuss the concept and experience of “bracketing assumptions”
  7. Practice the application of the phenomenological method during an exercise in small groups

Weekend 5 – Introduction to Field Theory

  1. Identify two of the theoretical “roots” of Gestalt therapy field theory
  2. Discuss why a person cannot be fully understood without considering the field or context they live in
  3. Describe what is meant by the term “phenomenal field”
  4. Explain the term “perspectivalism”
  5. Discuss what is meant by “co-creation of reality” in therapy
  6. Name some of the field conditions in a therapeutic situation
  7. Discuss clinical work from a field theory perspective

Weekend 6 – Experience of Self

  1. Compare the individualist and field perspectives on the concept of self, other and relationship
  2. Critique the individualist paradigm and its limitations
  3. Describe the difference between self as an entity and self as a process
  4. Explain the gestalt concept of self as a boundary process
  5. Discuss the implications of this concept for clinical work with clients
  6. Discuss how the concept of self as process is related to the phenomenological experience of self
  7. Discuss the intersubjective nature of experience


YEAR 3 – GROUP C

Weekend 1 – Dialogical Hermeneutics

  1. Define therapist’s presence in terms of Martin Buber’s experiential description of the shift from an expert stance to one of empathic immediacy
  2. Identify a personal example of the emergence of therapist’s presence as an essential component of a relational GT model
  3. Describe a similarity and a difference between Buber’s ideas and Levinas’
  4. Identify the role of therapist’s “otherness” in Lynne Jacob’s terms, as a central aspect in promoting the self-development of the patient
  5. Describe instances in which a dialogic/relational perspective enhances my capacity to explore cultural themes
  6. Describe the transformational aspect of “the between”
  7. Explain the phrase “relationality is irreducible”

Weekend 2 – Here & Now – Phenomenology and Field

  1. Briefly describe how phenomenological theory applies to gestalt therapy
  2. Describe “perspectivalism” and its relationship to phenomenology
  3. Discuss how Merleau-Ponty’s concept of embodied perception relates to the Gestalt Therapy definition of Self as a dynamic, boundary process
  4. Discuss the implications of Merleau-Ponty’s concept of embodied perception for our work with clients
  5. Differentiate “field” as a phenomenal field perspective from field as a thing (situation)
  6. Discuss co-creation and how it relates to field theory
  7. Discuss how field theory matters to our work with patients

Weekend 3 – Shame is Relational

  1. Compare and contrast individualist and relational perspectives on the concept of self
  2. Explain the idea that shame is an index of reception in the field
  3. Discuss DeYoung’s statement “Shame is the experience of one’s felt sense of self disintegrating in relation to a dysregulating other”
  4. Identify an experience of personal shame that was dysregulating and impacted experience of self
  5. Identify and explain 3 relational approaches to treating shame
  6. Explain how the therapeutic relationship is primary to the treatment of shame
  7. Discuss the therapeutic role of inclusion and presence in the treatment of shame

Weekend 4 – Experience of Self

  1. Compare the individualist and field perspectives on the concept of self, other and relationship
  2. Critique the individualist paradigm and its limitations
  3. Describe the difference between self as an entity and self as a process
  4. Explain the gestalt concept of self as a boundary process
  5. Discuss the implications of this concept for clinical work with clients
  6. Discuss how the concept of self as process is related to the phenomenological experience of self
  7. Discuss the intersubjective nature of experience

Weekend 5 – Character and Enduring Relational Themes

  1. Contrast the classical diagnostic approach with the humanistic approach to patterns of personality in relational Gestalt therapy
  2. Make a beginning differentiation of Narcissistic, Borderline, and Schizoid personality disorders
  3. Begin to use an understanding of these personality styles to understand clinical choices in psychotherapy
  4. Identify a patient’s enduring relational themes (repetitive perspectival themes)
  5. Identify developmental processes as they occur in therapy
  6. Apply the dialogic method to working with enduring relational themes
  7. Recognize the influence of your own enduring relational themes on the emergence of experience in clinical work

Weekend 6 – Working with Addiction

  1. Discuss the Gestalt therapy concept of creative adjustment as it might apply in the use of addictive substances and behaviors
  2. Describe Clemmen’s 4 Gestalt approaches to working with substance-dependent clients and the idea of creative adjustment in the use of substances
  3. Compare and contrast a Gestalt abstinence versus harm reduction model
  4. Describe how an “individualist” perspective on addiction can arise from current neurobehavioral models of addiction
  5. Discuss how the definition of addiction/addictive substances is mutually and contextually created
  6. Discuss how social shaming is inherent in the relational ways we understand “control” and “lack of control”
  7. Identify the mutual shame process that can underlie the therapist-client relationship in treating addiction
  8. Describe the functions of the paradoxical theory of change and the dialogic process in a relational addiction treatment encounter