Frontiers of Gestalt


Sept 20 – 21

With our Frontiers of Gestalt online seminar series, we engage what we believe are some of the key topics that will define the forthcoming era for gestaltists – race, profit, sexuality, environmental catastrophe, certainty, avoidance, drug assisted therapy, and more. You can register for the whole series now, or book for individual seminars from three months prior to the date.


Finalised programme, dates and booking links coming soon

Sept 2020: An experiential exploration of how white privilege is carried in our bodies

This online experiential workshop is designed for people of all ages, nationalities and experience levels who identify as “white”. Together we will create a “white space” where we can explore our fragility and anxiety around race and systemic oppression of people of colour, with a focus on the somatic and affective aspects of our experiences. Participants will be able to define “white privilege”, “white fragility,” and “white anxiety.” They will explore and identify their subjective, phenomenological experience of these concepts in their hearts (affective experience) and bodies (somatic experience).

Why are we offering this workshop only to individuals who identify as “white”? We would like to create a space where whiteness can be discussed without shame or fear of offending others. We are aware of the potential for microaggressions against people of colour in settings where white privilege is discussed. Given the current global climate, and especially the hostile climate in the United States, against people of colour, we wish to avoid contributing further to their suffering. By doing our work, by ourselves, it is hoped that we will emerge with greater awareness of ourselves and empathy for people of colour. Through understanding our differences, it is hoped we will be better equipped to unite with people of colour in the fight for justice and liberation.

Bernadette O’Koon

Bernie is a 5th year Clinical Psychology doctoral student at the School of Professional Psychology at Wright State University in Dayton, OH and is completing her internship at the University of Pittsburgh Counseling Center. She trained in Gestalt at GIC Cleveland and is currently enrolled in the Developmental Somatic Psychotherapy Training in New York City. Bernie trusts in the therapeutic process and believes that profound growth is possible when we understand our personal experience and development within the context of political and social systems and within our own bodies.

Gareth Thomas

Gareth qualified as a social worker in 2002 and went on to work in Hackney for a number years, supporting young people. In 2014 he developed epilepsy, due largely to the stresses from his work. Exhausted by the politics and bureaucracy of social work, he decided to retrain as a jewellery designer maker. Although successful at this he found it isolating. It did not rest easy with him that he was making products that were only accessible to the rich. In this time Gareth started therapy, he randomly selected gestalt therapy.
He was massively inspired by his therapist. Longing to get back to facilitating real positive change in people’s lives he eventually decided to study to become a psychotherapist.

Gareth is completing his second year of gestalt psychotherapy training at the Gestalt Centre in London. As well as being a student, he makes jewellery where he now lives in Bath, and has recently branched out to making bespoke sunglasses. He is a lover of meditation, dogs, music, food and life!

24th October 2020: Jan Ballx. Is the Abyss (a)void?

Consciously or not I think that our therapeutic interest makes us ask ourselves some crazy questions. For example something like this: What do we avoid when we avoid that we avoid that we avoid? Or at least in my case some similar or even more absurd questions. Asking these questions can in my experience sometime bring clinically useful insights.

Perceptive and expressive explorations of a field and poetic (which in Slovak literally means post-ethics) questioning may support a radical ethical approach. I would like to do this collectively at the workshop, possibly through poetry readings and use of experiments.

Jan Ballx

Jan was born in socialist Czechoslovakia in 1973. Archeology had a very big influence on him early on, then strangely enough was substituted by a keen fascination in mathematics and computational technology. Through experiencing the Velvet revolution and coup in 1989 Jan decided to study psychiatry and especially psychotherapy. He finished his Gestalt training in Slovakia in 2003. He often practices psychotherapy within a ‘psychiatric’ field. Jan is also a visual artist. For the last ten years he has worked in private practice in Bratislava. He teaches and supervises. Jan is married and has kids.

Nov 2020: A case for Profit? How do we talk to the for-profit sector?

“I don’t believe in capitalism, but I’m aware how much my privilege is the result of the capitalist system”… Whilst some of us may object to capitalism, all of us benefit from it. The tendency towards discussions around capitalism hinders genuine dialogue and the emergence of better alternatives that can minimise social injustice and in which all people can realise opportunities. The challenge as we see it is that individuals and whole communities lack opportunities because of gender, colour, geographical location etc.

Up till now, social values have been located towards the left of the political spectrum, identifying ‘good’ and ‘bad’ respectively. We believe it is time to transcend this narrative and look at social justice and ethics with new eyes.

This workshop invites in different perspectives and hopefully a lively conversation around capitalism and beyond!

Laura Martinelli

Text to come

John Gillespie

John founded NGV in 2016 whilst in the third year of a gestalt psychotherapy training. He lives in London, and has a background of working in voluntary and public sector roles and in organisational consultancy. John is a profound believer that those on the margins hold many of the solutions to challenges our societies are only just beginning to grapple with.

23rd Jan 2021: “I can’t keep calm because of sociology”

As Gestalt therapists we cannot ignore sociological and cultural phenomena, especially if we call ourselves a field-centered approach. Gestalt Therapy theory needs to decentre the subject even further. In the seminar some contemporary social theories will be explored, among them critical theory, poststructuralism, general systems theory, social phenomenology, ANT. We will derive from them – an experiential part of the seminar – a larger understanding of the world we and our clients live in and explore how to act upon this understanding in the therapy room and
outside of it.

Kamila Bialy

A sociologist and a gestalt therapist in one! When she works as a therapist, her sociological eye is always present, and often alert/activated/activist-oriented. As a sociologist she applies a relational field perspective. Kamila lives in Lodz, Poland with her cats and partner.

20th Feb 2021: Working with the ground – therapy in a time of climate emergency

In this workshop we explore the creative imagination of the group and draw on the existing therapeutic skills that help us to face the challenges of deep adaptation to an unknown future. We start with stories about our personal adaptation and then look at what the current times ask of us and how we can rise to the challenges of our times?

  • What have we got to offer?
  • Is there something we need to unlearn or let go of?
  • What does it mean to widen the field, attending to societal turmoil or the concerns of the ‘commons’?
Steffi Bednarek

Steffi is a gestalt psychotherapist, supervisor and trainer. She is a member of the Climate Psychology Alliance and works in private practice in Brighton, UK. She holds communal grief rituals and offers incubation spaces for mental health professionals to co-create approaches that widen the field and re-enchant our engagement with the more-than-human world.

Steffi has been a Head of Counselling and Mental health in Higher Education, managed Counselling and mental health services for the charitable sector, and worked as an international consultant and trainer for several government ministries, the Human Rights sector and national and international charities.

20th Mar 2021: Uncultivated Certainty: Knowledge, Truth and the Limits of Uncertainty.

What’s wrong with certainty, the poor relation of its popular polarity, uncertainty? Why do we shy away from embracing and talking of our certainty, lacking confidence to name it in our gestalt clinical work? Where is our Creative Indifference without access to certainty? Are we ashamed of certainty; is it linked in our minds to abuse of power and privilege? Is certainty hidden, taken for granted and what is certainty as something to work with?

Can it be that, as Wittgenstein would tell us, certainty is in a different category to knowledge and is as such unburdened by issues of right and wrong, or that it is the ‘perceptual faith’ of which Merleau-Ponty speaks?

In the workshop, Certainty will be exhumed from its early grave and reinstated to its place as a living, embodied quality with a vital role to play in the presence-ing of ourselves and our clients.

Chris O’Malley

Chris O’Malley is a gestalt therapist, supervisor and trainer living and working in Birmingham. He co-devised and delivered CPD/Conference workshops on Shame and on Sex, and most recently on Certainty. His article ‘Coming Out in Appreciation’ was published in the second edition of NGV Journal and he has had letters and Opinion pieces published in the British Gestalt Journal.

17th April 2021: Violence begins, when conflict ends – an examination of violence and conflict
through the lens of “contact”

The workshop starts with the premise that conflict is fundamentally important in enabling human relationships to prosper and deepen and that such conflict flows from experiences human beings have in contact with each other and the wider field. The workshop also contends that as well as important, conflict is inevitable, among 8 billion individuals living in a unified field we call “the world”.

At the same time, the workshop contends that violence is central to the perpetuation of trauma within communities and between generations.

The workshop will ask participants to look in more depth at conflict and violence through the lens of gestalt writing on contact, and wider theories such as field theory and shame. It will contend that violence is a turning away from contact. It will ask participants to share their own personal awareness of, and relationships to, conflict and violence, and how they reflect on this in relation to contact with the other.

Nick Adlington

Nick is both a UKCP registered gestalt psychotherapist and experienced mediator. As well as working with clients in psychotherapy, he also mediates disputes between colleagues in the workplace, and between parents and children in families. He continually explores his own experiences of conflict and violence as well as the relationship between conflict, violence, and the perpetuation of trauma. He is interested in how individuals and communities from different cultures channel conflict and is investigating research in the intersectionality between psychotherapy, conflict, violence.

22nd May 2021: Chemsex – an empathetic and experiential journey into sex, shame and intimacy as crucibles of systemic oppression.

Chemsex is the habit of taking drugs such as Chrystal meths, GHB, and methadrone as a backdrop to sex in the gay population. It has become the norm for large swathes of the younger gay population in major cities. The drugs give people a huge sense of confidence, and bypass shame and inhibition. Many men don’t know how to have sex without drugs – or how to make connections between heart and groin. Chemsex is killing many men – another pandemic that isn’t much talked about.

In this workshop, chemsex is offered as a way into an exploration of how our bodies (and particularly our sexual bodies), can become arenas in which systemic oppression plays out. Learning to invite in sex and marginal and different/difficult sexual experience to a discourse around embodiment plays a key part in challenging the privilege of a white, patriarchal, heteronormative mainstream. The workshop will invite “here and now” awareness of genital sexuality, so please come prepared – not high!

John Gillespie

John founded NGV in 2016 whilst in the third year of a gestalt psychotherapy training. He lives in London, and has a background of working in voluntary and public sector roles and in organisational consultancy. John is a profound believer that those on the margins hold many of the solutions to challenges our societies are only just beginning to grapple with.

June 2021: Psychedelic Assisted Therapy: Gestalt as a proposed Framework

In this interactive, two-and-a-half-hour, workshop the facilitators will discuss current research using psychedelics, such as psilocybin and MDMA, for the treatment of mental health disorders, including depression, PTSD, and addiction, and the need for a theoretical framework to guide future practice. As this promising research evolves and eventually leaves the lab, practitioners will need a framework to support this work. Gestalt therapy is proposed as a theoretical framework well-suited for psychedelic-assisted therapy. Facilitators will discuss and engage participants in dialogue exploring Gestalt principles and methods that fit this emerging area of practice. This talk is intended as a creative exploration of the possible contributions Gestalt can make in the resurgence of the use of psychedelics and other psychoactive compounds for treatment and personal growth.

Dr Travis Fox

Dr. Travis Fox is a clinical psychologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and in private practice. He is a graduate of the Gestalt Training Program, Working with Physical Process, and the Group training program at Gestalt Institute of Cleveland where he also teaches. Dr. Fox started in Gestalt at the Gestalt Therapy Training Center — Northwest in Portland, Oregon USA. Particular areas of interest are working with men’s issues, supporting the personal development of health care professionals, psychedelic assisted therapy, and working with groups. He will be a therapist and assessor on upcoming psilocybin trials for opioid addiction and major depressive disorder.

Dr Christopher Nicholas

Dr. Christopher Nicholas is a clinical psychologist and neuroscientist with the University of Wisconsin Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. His research focuses on the efficacy and therapeutic and neurobiological mechanisms of psychedelic and other psychoactive compounds for the treatment of mental illness and addiction. He previously studied the pharmacokinetics and psychological effects of high dose psilocybin and is currently an investigator and therapist on psilocybin trials for opioid addiction and depression. He is also a therapist for the MAPS phase-III study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for severe PTSD and is certified in ketamine-assisted psychotherapy. Dr. Nicholas supervises behavioral training for the UW Addiction Medicine Fellowship and focuses his clinical work on the intersection of chronic pain, addiction, and trauma.

Dr Chantelle Thomas

Dr. Chantelle Thomas is a clinical psychologist and Executive Clinical Director of a private residential treatment facility in Wisconsin specializing in the treatment of addiction and trauma. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in health psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and shaped the development of a specialty substance abuse consultation clinic within the UW Department of Family Medicine. Dr.Thomas was a study psychologist/guide on the UW pharmacokinetics study of high dose psilocybin and is currently a therapist and trainer for the MAPS Phase 3 trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD and psilocybin trials for opioid addiction and major depression. Dr. Chantelle Thomas is also certified in ketamine-assisted psychotherapy.

If you would like to deliver a workshop?

Be part of next year’s seminar series! We are keen to invite new presenters to share their ideas, or people with lots of experience to talk about something new to them. If you are interested in delivering an online workshop for NGV please contact

In addition to our seminar series we sometimes host one off events on timely issues. If you have an idea please get in touch.