What was your background before becoming a therapist?
I came to study at GTA with a teaching degree and a Bachelor in Applied Social Sciences (Counselling major).
What drew you to GTA and the study of gestalt therapy?
I was interested in the genesis and phenomenology of psychopathology. Through my work with vulnerable youth and their families, I was exposed on a daily basis to the current conceptualisation of mental illness. I wanted to learn something more humane, something that was closer to a person's lived experience. Also, I wanted to learn more about myself. Something along the lines of what Socrates says: “ An unexamined life is not worth living”
What stands out for you in relation to the course?
The group process, definitely. It helped me become aware how I relate to others and also I became increasingly aware of how others see me. The experiential learning, and learning from faculty was invaluable. Learning from theory is highly ranked for me as well, as it provided me with a new perspective and widened my horizons.
What was your experience of the ConnectGround clinic?
I completed an internship at Connect Ground. I started at Fairfield in 2018 and I was one of the last Interns that said goodbye to the old building. I continued my internship in July 2019 in the new building in Carlton. The setting and holding by staff, the client work, supervision and collegiality provided to me was a phenomenal and unforgettable learning experience. I learned a lot through the process and I felt empowered and ready for private practice.
Have you participated in any community events since?
Covid and other life circumstances made it difficult for me to remain connected continuously. But post-Covid, coming back was easy and old contacts renewed quickly.
How has completing studies to become a gestalt therapist impacted you?
I gained more self-confidence and became more intentional in my work and living. I learned to assert my needs and my capacity for contact and my ‘being with others’ expanded. I became more aware of my own emotions and developed the capacity to stay with the difficult emotions of others.
What was your overall experience of the course?
At times it was hard, and stirred up a lot of emotions. However the journey was worthwhile and I would do it again.
What does it mean to be a gestalt therapist?
Being a gestalt therapist for me means to work and think contextually. Working in a non-pathologising way and recognising that life’s difficulties and personal struggles arise and endure in certain contexts. I am embracing gestalt therapy’s relational and intersubjective paradigm. In my work with clients I aim to open space between us to explore different parts of a client’s current and historic fields, relational patterns, and themes. I do not locate mental health difficulties, i.e. being in people and in their brain. Rather, I work with clients relationally and dialogically in the here-and-now.
What would you say to someone who was thinking about doing the training program?
I would highly recommend it. It is a fantastic experiential learning opportunity with a valuable theoretical basis. There is a lot of exposure to relationality and the course and facilitators provide plenty of space for self-reflection and growth.