Professional Gestalt Training - Diploma level
Training consists of a program which takes a minimum of three years to complete. The entire course is structured at 800 hours of face-to-face training.
Each training year has requirements which must be satisfied in order to progress to the next level
- In the first year trainees are introduced to the core principles of the Gestalt discipline through an integrative approach of Theory, Skills and Practice. There is a component of written work and readings are supplied; the main focus is on establishing an initial experiential familiarity with the basics of Gestalt.
- In second year, training builds on the basics of the first year but emphasises the application of the principles to working with people.
- By third year trainees are engaging in intensive supervised Gestalt work, and honing their skills to a high level of competence
Successful completion will lead to the issuing of a Diploma of Gestalt Therapy.
The training program seeks to develop a sense of personal agency and unique style, married with skills and knowledge. Being an experiential therapy, Gestalt training entails a significant amount of personal exploration and a willingness to ‘Risk Being Alive’. However, the program is not solely therapeutic, and participants need to have the self support to handle the intensity of the training process.
The aim is to equip each person with a strong theoretical and philosophical grasp of Gestalt, as well as assist them to a point of personal integration and readiness to work with others in a Gestalt framework. A climate of authenticity is fostered in the training and each person is supported in their personal growth. A deepening of awareness and responsibility is facilitated, and creative experimentation is encouraged.
Gestalt therapy supports people to live without recipes, to find their own creative way through life; the training echoes this approach. Rather than give students a set of recipes on ‘how to do therapy’, the learning is how to trust in the process.
Knowledge and skills are essential in Gestalt practice, and are underpinned by a fundamental faith in human resilience and the ability of people to uncover their own truths. The ‘empty vessel’ model of learning is discouraged, and trainees are encouraged to have faith in their own wisdom rather adopt theories or beliefs without question.
The Challenge of Training
The training is akin to a journey. The work is always challenging, inviting people to stretch themselves, work through unfinished business, take responsibility for their lives, get in touch with messy feelings, and generally go through a process of transformation. It can take trainees to places in themselves they hardly knew existed. Sometimes this is ecstatically joyful. Sometimes, even with gentleness and support from both the trainer and the group, it is very painful. What is required is a willingness to experiment, to chart new territory and learn more deeply from previous experience. It is fundamentally about becoming more of who one really is, with an enriched vocabulary of expressiveness.
It takes a great deal of commitment to hang in though this. The course is not just about running up a certain number of hours, collecting a bag of skills, or being able to repeat the theory. The criteria for successful continuation and eventual completion is weighed primarily in terms of personal development and attitude, rather than solely through measures of objective knowledge.
Knowledge is valued, but only in the context of the wisdom which comes from personal integration. What is looked for in the student is an eagerness to learn, to explore themselves, to stay with what is happening, to hang in with the difficult processes and flow with the joyful ones; in all, a commitment to one’s own growth and a willingness to dialogue. The training is an invitation to plunge into ever more authentic living; this requires a certain type of courage.
Gestalt is primarily an approach to living, and secondarily a form of therapy. Thus it is not possible to split the personal and professional into two discrete parts of the life of the Gestaltist. Genuineness, freshness, and aliveness are themes which cannot be limited to one aspect of a person’s life; the training focuses on developing clear, moment-by-moment awareness in the individual as well as teaching the skills and knowledge necessary for practice as a professional.
The program represents an investment of money as well as the time and personal effort required to succeed. Thus trainees can reasonably expect certain standards in the training provided to them and in the way they are treated as fee paying students.
The kind of expectations that Lifeworks seeks to meet include the following:
- The training timetable set by the start of the training year, with any necessary changes kept to a minimum.
- The trainers treat trainees with respect, supporting the learning process of both individuals and the group.
- Trainers have at least 5 years therapeutic experience.
- Trainers adhere to a professional code of ethics.
- Trainees are not discriminated against on the basis of gender, class, cultural background, sexual preference, or any disability or belief that does not directly interfere with fulfillment of their training.
- Within each training year there are no ‘hidden costs’. All additional financial requirements are spelled out at the start of each year.
The training program is constantly evolving to incorporate feedback, current best practice, the demands of the workplace setting, and the standards of professional organisations.
Lifeworks has high commitment to quality in all it’s operations. The larger focus of supporting optimal student learning is constantly reassessed. We pride ourselves on providing leading edge training in Gestalt therapy, supporting students through to the point of achieving competent practitioner status.
Even more important than the administrative standards is the philosophy of respect for trainees. We strive to treat every student as the individual they are, balancing the need for consistent standards and operating procedures with the unique needs of each person.