Last October (2012) the Gestalt Centre Belfast (GCB) was incorporated as a Community Interest Enterprise – a not for profit organization – regulated by the Companies (Audit, Investigations and Community Enterprise) Act 2004.
The Gestalt Centre has its foundation in many years of providing gestalt practice in the context of the mental health and wellbeing of individuals and communities. Our work includes private work as well as contract-based work for counseling or other organisations, and training in adult and continuing education. It covers the fields of:
- Gestalt therapy with individuals, couples, families
- professional and clinical supervision
- organizational and community development
We formed the organization in response to a number of major needs:
- providing a needs-based open-ended alternative to the very short term counseling support generally and currently available
- as supervisors we are aware of the need for post qualifying training specific to the context in which we work. However, continuing professional develop is often either too brief, too expensive or requires travelling abroad and so financially inaccessible to many
- the need to develop and share the experience of therapists working in a society emerging from conflict with the therapeutic community here and internationally.
In support of this we have also collaborated for a number of years now with internationally respected practitioners to offer high quality professional development, until recently under the name of Belfast Gestalt Institute (BGI). BGI events over the past 10 years have included workshops with Bud Feder (NYIGT), Philip Lichtenberg (GTI Philadelphia), Susan Gregory (NYIGT), Michael Clemmens (GI Cleveland), Jim Kepner (GI Cleveland), and Seán Gaffney (Sweden and Ireland).
Our training events have covered a wide range of areas of interest:
- understanding the long term and transgenerational impact of trauma
- a field approach to working with groups
- addiction and recovery
- working with the somatic experience of trauma and Early Developmental trauma
- adolescent development
- supporting organisational development for community based projects
- working with parents to support the emotional and psychological health of their children
- embodied psychotherapy
It has organised two Writers’ Workshops events, and runs theoretical seminars every two months. Its membership consists of accredited practitioners, several of whom have presented in conferences and worked internationally, – Ireland North and South, Germany, Greece, South Africa, the Netherlands, England, Scotland, Poland, Scandanavia and France. Some have published in peer-reviewed journals or contributed book chapters.