2 The Training Program in Detail
Purpose and goal: To provide the students with the first basic knowledge about Gestalt. To give the client/potential student awareness and personal insight of how Gestalt Methodology works. Total of 120 hours of 60 minutes/160 study hours of 45 minutes. To assess and evaluate the student´s background: Education, experience, other training, own therapy, existential readiness to start/continue the demanding and challenging GIS- International Training Programs.
2.2 First Year. Seminar 1-5
Purpose and goal: To provide the students with basic knowledge about Gestalt principles, – methodology and therapeutic practice – and about the philosophical, theoretical and therapeutic directions, that has influenced Gestalt. To put emphasis on the student’s personal development and emerging integration.
- Intensive personal development
- Basic notions and theory of Gestalt
- Gestalt therapy’s history, development and place in society
- Developmental psychology and personality formation
- Individual therapy and self-reflection
- Oral examination in Gestalt principles and methodology
- Written work: Auto biography describing own personal development in connection to Gestalt Terminology and Methodology
- Evaluation process where the evaluation tools are introduced and used for integration
2.3 Second Year. Seminar 6-10 + Supervision option 1 – 2.
Purpose and goal: To continue personal development with increasing integration. To deepen knowledge about the fundamental psychological and therapeutic theories and methods of Gestalt and to provide knowledge about the roots of Gestalt (Existentialism (Kirkegaard, Yalom, Spinelli), Gestalt Psychology, Psychodrama (Moreno), Psychoanalysis (Freud), Body oriented therapy (Reich and Lowen). To integrate ethics in the work with Gestalt methods, principles and techniques. To understand and integrate how the emotional Gestalt approach connects to the existential Doing and Being.
- Continued personal development with emphasis on relational work starting with the group process and group dynamics
- Deepened work with communication skills and conflict resolution (encounter)
- Training in basic skills (Person-Therapist-Observer work)
- Integrate understanding of and skills in working with the basic theories, concepts and methods in Bioenergetics, Psychodrama, Existentialism, Psychoanalysis, Zen etc.
- Oral examination in the fundamental psychotherapeutic theories and how they connect to Gestalt theory, approach and practice
- Basic knowledge about other psychotherapeutic methods and their connection to Gestalt therapy
- Written work about how one of the fundamental psychotherapeutic theories and how it has influenced Gestalt theory, approach and practice
- Evaluation process where the student´s readiness personally, relationally and professionally is assessed. The process determines whether the student is accepted to the third year of training or is recommended another second year.
2.4 Third Year. Seminar 11 – 14 + Supervision Option 3 – 4.
Purpose and goal: To get maximum focus on the role as a therapist and emphasis on the relational area. Training of personal leadership. Training of own therapist role in clinical individual therapy under direct and indirect supervision. Starting training of own therapist role in group therapy. Acquiring theoretical and practical knowledge about Mental illness and Diagnostic systems, and personal integration. Deep understanding and integration of own parallel process, transference, counter transference, ethics and boundaries. Understanding and integration of Field theory and Phenomenology in theory and in practice.
- Focus on individual therapy and relational processes
- Direct and indirect supervision techniques
- Methods and techniques of Gestalt – their strengths and weaknesses
- Understanding the international and the national diagnostic terminologies in the Mental Health area and how they relate to Gestalt practice in theory and practice
- Improve the ability in assessing the therapeutic process between client and therapist
- How to interact and cooperate with other professionals in the mental health area
- Ethics, boundaries and norms of the therapist
- How to integrate research into practice and final work in training
- Training of skills in clinical therapy under supervision, individually and in groups. Assistantship/supervised leadership in the other students’ P-T-O groups
- Oral examination in Gestalt theory and clinical methodology
- Written work describing an area of Gestalt theory and applied clinical methodology
- Evaluation introducing the end-evaluation process in connection to the student´s professional capabilities in the clinical and mental health field
2.5 Fourth Year. Seminar 15 – 18 + Supervision Option 5 – 6.
Purpose and goal: That the student gets psychotherapeutic skills through personal, professional supervision and integration of theory, practice and psychotherapeutic ethics. Specialization and preparation of thesis that is presented and published at the end of the training. Final examination. Finishing-up evaluation where strengths, weaknesses, continued personal and professional areas of development and boundaries are defined and integrated. Continued focus on deep understanding and integration of own parallel process, transference, counter transference, ethics and boundaries.
- Strong emphasis on group therapy and group processes in systems (couples/families)
- Understanding the cultural and social conditions for clients, families and other systems
- Direct and indirect supervision techniques
- The strengths and weaknesses of Gestalt therapy
- The strengths and weaknesses of the therapist
- Ethics, boundaries and norms
- Training of skills in clinical therapy under supervision, individually and in groups
- Assistantship with – and supervision from – senior leaders
- How to interact and cooperate with other professionals in the mental health area
- Supervision in how to build own practice: Legal, professional, supervision, journaling and ethics
- Presentation of a written research study and thesis work as a lecture, integrated in supervised practice and in the final oral examination and evaluation
- Oral examination where the student demonstrates clinical psychotherapeutic skills in theory and in practice
- The research written work – thesis – is anchored in the student´s supervised practice with outside clients, describing, discussing, and concluding the chosen subject
- The student presents the thesis in a lecture given to all students, leaders and invited guests
- Professional end-evaluation process in connection to the student´s professional and personal capabilities in the clinical and mental health field. In the evaluation process the student gets clarity on the further personal and professional development and ongoing supervision after training
Psychotherapist and Organizational Consultant – Structure
The Gestalt Training Program is experimental, therapeutic and theoretical. To ensure fulfilling the overall goal the following educational structures and forms are used.
1 Educational Structure and Form
- Lectures where theory and themes are introduced deepened and discussed.
- Experimental exercises where personal awareness and experience grows.
- Personal therapeutic work where personal integration takes place in the Here and Now.
- Group work where group dynamics are addressed, made aware, understood and integrated.
- Feedback processes to learn to give and receive valuable information in a dialogue.
- Individual study guidance of the student for inspiration and keeping the student on track.
- Supervision, direct and indirect.
1.1 Structure of the Training Program
1.1.1 Pre-training Courses
Before entering the training program, students must have undergone Gestalt therapy in groups or individually corresponding to a minimum of 120 hours (60 minutes). One possibility is the one year basic training consisting of 160 lessons (45 minutes).
1.1.3 Training Courses/Intensive Residential Seminars
The first 2 years of the training program consist of 10 full-day seminars of 6-7 days. The students work with their personal and professional development under therapeutic, psychological and pedagogical guidance. Seminars 1-3 mainly have a personal development focus. Seminars 4-6 mainly have a relational focus. Seminars 7-10 mainly have a focus on group therapy and leadership issues. During the last 2 years the focus is on direct and indirect supervision and on individual specialization either in the therapeutic or the organizational area. The student connects to the same international group all through the training
1.1.4 International Training Settings
Twice a year all students from all countries meet in intensive seminars for international and inter cultural exchange and experience. This takes place in April Estonia and in June in Denmark.
1.1.5 Assisting in Therapy Groups (Practical Training and Direct Supervision)
The student gets the opportunity to train his/her leadership role with instruction and under direct supervision. The student participates with increasing responsibility throughout 1st year, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year – individually considering the student’s need and actual capability. The student takes part in GIS International’s other training activities in Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland and Sweden.
1.1.6 Supervision and Training Seminars
These seminars are held with parallel client groups. The students work under direct supervision with outside clients in an intensive development process and -setting. The aim of the work and structure is “stretching” the student’s personal and professional capability and self-understanding. Important issues are therapist boundaries, strengths and weaknesses, “how to treat”, “how to teach”, working with transference and counter transference (projections), and therapeutic ethics.
1.1.7 Clinical work under supervision
The student is having clients and groups under supervision outside the training seminars (3rd and 4th year).
1.1.8 Group Supervision
In the group supervision program, the students work with outside client groups learning the dynamics, strengths, weaknesses, possibilities, and limitations of the leadership, experiencing own leadership in small and large groups, in co-operation, etc.
1.1.9 Individual Supervision (National)
In the individual supervision program, the student is instructed, taught and supervised in one to one therapy with clients. The program is organized in groups of 3-4 students under direct and indirect supervision. The focus is on integration of theory and practice, and development of the student’s style of leadership and role as a therapist. The student gives 100 individual hours to outside clients and receives 60 hours of supervision. (3rd and 4th year).
1.1.10 Supervision on Voluntary and Professional Work with Clients
Voluntary work with clients in cooperation with an outside social and/or treatment oriented organization. 120 – 180 hours during the last part of 2nd year to the first part of 4th year. Contract that includes supervision is made prior to start between the student, the outside organization and GIS-International. For students already working clinically in the Mental Health Field see to getting relevant professional supervision on their clinical work.
1.1.11 Individual Therapy
The one-to-one work (therapist and student). The student works through his/her personality and personal life issues using Gestalt principles and methodology. The goal is that the student gets a profound knowledge, understanding and acceptance of him/herself as a person and as a professional.
1.1.12 Development Dialogue, Study Guidance, and Need for Dispensation
Twice a year of training (minimum) the student meets the national member/counsellor of the Training Board for a development dialogue. The issues are: Personal development, professional development, supervision and practicum, plans for the future, special personal or professional wishes or needs that need dispensation, etc. The student writes the agreed resume that is signed by the counsellor from the training board.
1.1.13 Theory Seminars
Theory seminars are either recommended (outside the institute) or arranged (by GIS) in various subjects within Gestalt therapy in theory and practice, developmental psychology, clinical psychology, psychopathology, psychiatry, psychoanalytic theory and practice, existentialism, psychodrama, body therapy, and system and leadership development.
1.1.14 Theory, Study and Personal Reflection
During the training program, a catalogue of examination requirement books and articles is recommended or handed out to the participants. Through the Training Program approximately 6000 pages are read and discussed. A library is established and situated at the GIS-International Training Centre at Orø in Denmark.
1.1.15 Special Theory Studies
GIS has in cooperation with Tartu University in Estonia initiated a Bachelor program in Development Psychology. The program of 104 study hours takes place partly in connection to some of the training weeks and is partly Web based. The intention is to start similar programs in Clinical Psychology and Psychopathology.
1.1.16 National Study Groups, P-T-O
Throughout the time of study, the students work in organised study-, development-, and training subgroups, where P-T-O work practice take place: Person (client), Therapist, and Observer. In the study groups the curriculum of approximately 6000 pages are discussed. (300 hours/400 study hours).
It is possible to prolong the study with 2 years in general. The dispensation is discussed with the national study counsellor and confirmed in the international Educational and Ethical Board (EEB). Dispensation for more than 2 years (1 to 2 years extra) is given in rare cases: Giving birth, job abroad, serious illness, etc.
During the last part of the 1st year the student writes an autobiography integrating Gestalt terminology and awareness. At the end of 1st year there is an oral examination in Gestalt methodology and principles related to own development and personal behavioural patterns.
During the last part of the 2nd year the student writes an essay describing one of “the Roots of Gestalt” and how the root has influenced Gestalt therapy and terminology. At the end of 2nd year there is an oral examination in the roots of Gestalt, which means to say the basic theories for Gestalt: Existentialism, Developmental Psychology, Psychodrama, Gestalt Psychology, Psychoanalysis, Psychoanalytic Theory, Reich and Lowen: Body Therapy, Analytic Psychology, Buddhism, Zen, and Taoism.
During the last part of the 3rd year the student writes about and discusses a chosen theoretical aspect in Gestalt theory and methodology. At the end of 3rd year the oral exam is on Gestalt Theory and Methodology.
The student ends his/her 4-year study by writing a thesis, in which the coming Gestalt therapist proves personal and professional integration of theory and practice. A therapeutic research is described deeply analysing, planning, executing, evaluating, and discussing a therapeutic project with guidance and supervision by the senior faculty of GIS-International. At the end of 4th year there is an oral examination in theory and practice, in which the student accounts for and demonstrates and practices Gestalt methodology and principles. The student does the final examination under the guidance of one internal senior leader and one external censor.
Individual Study inclusive written work from 1st to 3rd year (360/480), PTO study groups (300/400), written work, Research and Thesis (330/440). Total of 990 hours/1320 st.hrs.
1.1.19 External Examiners
Olle Eldhammar, MD, Psychiatrist, Gestalt Psychotherapist (SE) and Karmel Tall, Gestalt Psychotherapist and lecturer in Social Science and Psychology at Tartu University (EST).
Evaluations take place after 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year. The evaluation process consists of a self-evaluation, an evaluation made by the other students, and an evaluation made by the leaders teaching in the program in connection with the training board.
- 1st year evaluation is an introduction of the evaluation tool, in which Gestalt methodology and principles are integrated
- 2nd year evaluation is determining whether the student immediately can proceed on the second part of the training program – and on which terms (making personal contract)
- 3rd year evaluation leads to specification of the personal contract
- 4th year evaluation is the final evaluation
In connection to the evaluation processes at the end of 2nd year, 3rd year and 4th year GIS has developed specific systems to ensure each student and becoming therapist the ethical awareness of therapeutic and personal strengths and weaknesses (areas of further development and growth).
GIS-International follows the ethical and professional guidelines of EAGT and EAP and of the national Danish therapeutic association PF. In practice the national and international guidelines are discussed and implemented all through the training program. In connection to the individual and the group supervision programs and in the evaluation processes and oral exams transference and counter transference is an important issue where boundary issues are discussed, found and implemented in the coming therapist´s personal style and professionalism.
The GIS-International students mainly come from Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, and Sweden. Fewer students come from Argentina, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, and Russia.
The overall teaching language is English. The students are also connected in national study groups, where national perspective and issues, national study literature, personal and professional development can be addressed, supervised, and integrated.