18 Month Learning Programme

Be part of NGV’s Flagship 18 Month Learning Programme

Reaching for Belonging in a Broken World

We want to encourage a gestalt practice that’s active in our world – one that is grounded in contact and dialogue and in engaging with difference so that dynamics of power and oppression become constructs to be engaged with not polarised in the world.

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We are increasingly fragmented, often isolated, and risk feeling like we don’t belong, like we’re defective or being judged in response to world events. The world travails under challenges like COVID and social movements such BLM, Me Too, FGM, and climate change. Where is the justice? Where is concern? Sometimes it seems like our institutions are inadequate, broken. The problems leave us feeling silenced, shamed and made “wrong” or self-righteous and judgmental. Instead of coming together around common ground and caring for each other, we split out, identify with factions, and shackle our capacity to meet one another. Reaching for belonging in a broken world is a non-hierarchical learning space encouraging personal process and teaching by experience.

How do we meet across difference in a modern world with so much that can polarise us? How do we balance the attention that gestalt has traditionally given to personal process, with a focus on privilege/oppression – and by implication – on those whom are not fortunate enough to participate? How do we develop a gestalt practice that takes an active and leading role in bringing people together and connecting hearts and minds in the wider world – beyond it’s traditional therapy focus?

We imagine:

– a non hierarchical learning space where teaching is largely ‘by experience’ and contributions from participants are invited. And where all levels of experience are welcome.
– a focus on group process that comes up for us in the context of ‘widening’ the focus to include those whom are under-privileged and those whom are not directly present.
– exploring applications of gestalt theory as they emerge from our process.
– space to support reflective practice where participants bring challenges related to their personal or professional lives.
– focus on the collective challenges of developing a socially oriented gestalt practice

For this first “piloting and developing” round of the programme, we are endeavouring to make the programme affordable to anyone who wants to participate.

Amongst other things this is a supported place to:

  • Explore themes of difference and belonging that arise in being part of a group, community, society, planet.
  • Create the conditions to support ourselves to stay at the contact boundary with unpleasant feelings (anger, anxiety, fear, guilt, shame, sadness) that stop us from being present and opening to ourselves and others.
  • Explore what happens when we experience racism, inequality, oppression and climate denial, or ‘vengeful’ advocacy of ‘social justice’ – explore and stay with processes around projective identification, i.e. identifying with the other’s projections of us. Explore our capacity to denigrate, other, reject, withdraw from the other …. Can I do this and still remain in contact and meet the other.
  • Explore how we engage in polarisation and demonising the other for having a different opinion to mine. Learn how to stay with this experience fully, before moving on to the “next”.
  • To explore how to meet the other by being able to stay with what is at the contact boundary (paradoxical theory of change) and learn to be present in all this difficulty so that I keep myself interested in the other’s experience.
  • To help us navigate some of the pain and difficulties in our relationships (including trauma and nervous system activation) that can come to the fore when we make social inequalities, climate change, and the need for some renovation of our democratic institutions, foreground rather than background.
  • Learn to see our personal process in connection with the larger planetary and social wholes. Developing an intuitive felt understanding of how our process ripples out, touching others.

We will

  • Meet as a whole group 10 times for 1 day over 18 months. (50 direct learning hours)
  • Encourage smaller ‘process’ groups to meet monthly outside of designated learning time.
  • Explore gestalt theory and intersections with other bodies of thought such as sociology, political theory, philosophy, theology/religion/spirituality.

The programme is for those with some experience of gestalt – or who have experienced some therapy or background in other self-development work.

The programme runs April 2021 – October 2022:

The programme will run 3pm Central European time to 8pm CET on the following Saturdays.

The exact content of the programme may emerge & may diverge from the following. The following topics are given as indicative of the variety of ground we imagine covering :

24th April 2021 – ‘Belonging in a Broken World’, a primer – Social justice and unravelling social justice / an introduction to the programme approach

12th June 2021 – Using our bodies to support contact and dialogue in relation to social issues.

11the September 2021 – Unpacking the dynamics of power, privilege, oppression.

13th November 2021 – Personal identity and how we relate to political structures and systems – like democracy, nation and our institutions.

15th Jan 2022 – Reimagining capitalism – and business as a force for good & inviting dialogue rather than stand-off across the political spectrum.

26th Feb 2022 – Approaches to change, and working with complexity. Dialoguing with other perspectives and lenses on the process of social change and spiritual awakening.

16th April 2022 – Gender – transgender – and leadership beyond patriarchy. Inviting the feminine. How to be men, and what might it mean to undercut the gender binary?

18th June 2022– Decolonising ourselves, Listening to the voice of the indigenous.

date tbc – Healing the personal/political split – how we are forces for change, and how our change can become the ‘new’ world.

Final date & topic –  tbc.

We regard this programme as key to NGV’s aspirations to develop a gestalt practice fit for the challenges of our times through living it together, and by including that which may not be directly present – the planet’s fauna and flora for example – as well as that which is present but so obvious that it is overlooked, which is the case with privilege.

(Max 30 places)

Cost tbc – and we will take capacity to pay into account

[Programme Faculty: Bernadette Latuch, Kamila Bialy, Toni Clarkson, Badr Hajjani, Yosel Mouzo, John Gillespie, Philip Brownell]

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