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Skills in Gestalt Counselling & Psychotherapy


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Table of Contents

Preface PART ONE: GESTALT THERAPY IN PRACTICE Preparing for the Journey Phenomenology and Field Theory Awareness The Therapeutic Relationship Assessment and Diagnosis Treatment Considerations Strengthening Support Shame Experimenting Contact Styles: Modifications to Contact and Polarities Unfinished Business Transference and Counter-Transference Embodied Process Dreams Self-Supervision Ending the Journey PART TWO: MANAGING CHALLENGING ENCOUNTERS Assessing and Managing Risk Resourcing the Client Depression and Anxiety Trauma Part 1: Assessing and Stabilizing Trauma Part 2: Processing and Integrating PART THREE: GESTALT PRACTICE IN CONTEXT Brief Therapy The Reflective Practitioner: Research in Gestalt Diversity, Culture and Ethics Spiritual Counselling References Index

About the Author

Phil Joyce works in West London as a trainer, supervisor, psychotherapist and consultant and has also worked in a variety of mental health settings since 1979. He has worked as an approved psychiatric social worker in London and has considerable experience of multidisciplinary teams and working with disturbed people. He is a primary tutor on the MSc course in Gestalt Psychotherapy at Metanoia Institute, London and a visiting tutor on the Integrative psychotherapy programme also at Metanoia Institute. He has given many presentations at International conferences over the last 15 years and is an active member of the Gestalt community. Phil's particular interest continues to be in mental health. He currently specializes in trauma treatment and is an accredited EMDR Supervisor and Consultant. His other abiding interest is in the transpersonal dimensions of human experience and he finds that Gestalt brings a new and enlivening perspective to both these areas of interest. Charlotte Sills is a UKCP registered psychotherapist in private practice and a supervisor, trainer and consultant in a variety of settings. She has been working in the field of psychological therapies since 1979 and is a BACP senior accredited supervisor, a Teaching and Supervising Transactional Analyst and a Visiting Professor at Middlesex University. Until 2007 she was also part of the Leadership Team at Metanoia Institute where she remains a member of the faculty. Another interest is in the interface between therapy and coaching and she is a member of faculty of the Masters in Executive Coaching and Professor of Coaching at Ashridge Business School, UK. Charlotte believes that all human systems - from friendships to organizations - are about people in relationship, and she sees Gestalt as an ideal approach for facilitating effective, vibrant and satisfying relating. Charlotte has published widely in the field of counselling and psychotherapy, including An Introduction to Gestalt with Phil Lapworth and Billy Desmond (SAGE, 2012) and Coaching Relationships (edited with Erik de Haan, Libri Press, 2012).


I am delighted to endorse this version of Skills in Gestalt Counselling and Psychotherapy. Having kept their original two versions close by for many years, both as a therapist and as a trainer, this new edition continues to confirm what I already believe about the authors' rich and scholarly theoretical and practical response to the challenges and experience of Gestalt practise.

This new edition is (again) full of practical suggestions, experiential exercises and detailed, precise attention to the moment by moment, unfolding experience of being in therapeutic relationship. The authors provide a comprehensive review of current literature and research, and interweave this with sound recommendations for practise. The chapters on Trauma are timely, thorough, and extremely practical in their guidance on working with people who experience such devastation

The whole tone of the writing is exemplary of the authors' commitment to relational gestalt practise, whilst acknowledging contributions from the wider field

I strongly recommend this book to students and experienced therapists alike.

-- George Bassett

This is a lovely book! It is not easy to write about skills in gestalt therapy without reducing our theory to a set of techniques. Joyce and Sills have found a way to offer skills while at the same time drawing the reader into a nuanced consideration of the complexity of any clinical moment. They also offer creative experiments in self-exploration that support the therapist to develop skill at attending to and working with their continual co-implication in the therapeutic process. Add to that a delightful writing style, and you have a book that would serve any teaching or training program quite well.

-- Lynne Jacobs, Ph.D.

The main adjective that comes to mind as I read this book is 'lucid'. The authors claim that this book is practical, which it certainly is, but not theoretical. I think they do themselves a disservice. The principles and philosophy of Gestalt come flying off the page through their simple explanations and deft descriptions. Gestalt, while it is grounded in Existential philosophy and phenomenological method, is primarily a way of being in the world, which is both beautifully simple but at the same time profoundly challenging. They have provided us with a book which is both simple and profound, accessible and full of the wisdom which is best conveyed by stories. It is down to earth and wise, practical and theoretical and in that sense is true to one of Gestalt's core principles of holism. I recommend this book as core reading to any Gestalt practitioner.


-- Profesor Bill Critchley

This is an essential read for all those wanting to learn about effective Gestalt practice.

-- Dr Lynda Osborne

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