Studying at Gestalt Therapy Australia is unlike any other training in psychotherapy. It maintains its roots as an experiential learning program that is intellectually and emotionally satisfying. It is a vital learning environment that contributes to the local community through the ConnectGround clinic. Through engagement, support and challenge, therapists emerge skilled, connected and ready to take the next steps.
Traditionally and internationally, Gestalt is taught in a 4-year group process. Learning begins with experience, and training is understood to be developmental. It takes time. The group process begins in the first year, deepens across the program, and gestalt therapists emerge in this crucible of lateral learning. This training was often outside the traditional university and accreditation process. The training is accredited within the community of gestalt training programs nationally and internationally. This is a recognition of the role and place that Relational Gestalt Therapy (RGT) has. It is markedly different from the mainstream 'treatment' modalities and instead offers a holistic approach to health and wellbeing.
I feels safe to 'try out' and practice new ways of being... emerging aspects of one's personality .... this experiential aspect to learning is a significant reason why this school is life changing.
In the past decades, there have been many challenges to this teaching method. There have been multiple pushes to change us. Some are towards higher education status, pressures to offer faster or cheaper programs, and more influence from peak bodies wanting to change (standardise) the delivery towards a generic module based course. In the face of that, Gestalt Therapy Australia has maintained a loyalty to the traditions of gestalt training, and we still teach as we (the faculty) were taught when we were students. We value the learning that comes from being with the emergent process and we recognise that it is in the relational approach that the teaching comes alive. The best way to learn to relate to others is in the somewhat complex, and rarely tidy, act of connecting. There is freedom in our commitment to facilitating growth in this way. Because it is not didactic (content forward) teaching, class sizes are smaller and the facilitator to student ratio is low (usually 1 to 8).
We maintain the commitment to weekly delivery and in this way the course parallels the experience of weekly therapy. Class becomes a touch point and vital support for students in their learning. Our program privileges face-to-face learning and teaches within a community of students, faculty and staff that is currently in excess of 80 people. Stakeholders also include the many service users in the clinic and we are surrounded by an active graduate community. It feels very local and connected.
Our program is intellectually rigorous and contemporary. All faculty are well-trained in gestalt practice as eell as many other modalities. They have many years of experience working in the field and are committed to their learning journeys. Faculty facilitate learning, and support ongoing feedback processes.
The most significant development in our school and training has been the introduction of internships in the ConnectGround clinic. These placements allow students to practice with clients (under expert supervision) from third year. This real-world experience comes back into the training groups and challenges and changes the teaching. It is an apprentice-style approach and a rare opportunity. This is the only program that offers this possibility for practice development.
Our training has PACFA accreditation as a Specialist Training (that is post grad) and GTA graduates who meet the PACFA Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) can go onto join the register. There are many pathways for other students to get the necessary RPL concurrent to their studies at GTA, e.g. by completing the Masters of Gestalt at Gestalt Therapy Brisbane.
Benefits of studying at GTA
- Provides a deep exploration of relational gestalt thinking particularly as applied to individual psychotherapy
- Provides 4-year developmental-oriented training in a well-held group process
- Class sizes are small and teaching ratios are low
- There are many opportunities to give and receive feedback
- It is experiential-based and intellectually satisfying
- We are deeply committed to deepening students' relational capacities
- There is an opportunity to work in the ConnectGround clinic from third year and to develop the skills to take the learning out into the world in community or private practice.
- Graduates who meet the criteria are eligible to join PACFA or can continue to GTB to complete the Gestalt Masters.