From learner to therapist: A story of transcendence and transformation

  • H G Pretorius
  • A Lydall
  • R Patel
  • A Rikhotso
  • G W Evans
Keywords: Gestalt, training, intersubjectivity, presentness, experiential, therapist


Therapeutic interventions are guided as much by a therapist's philosophy as they are by an understanding of psychological and therapeutic principles. An individual gravitates toward specific philosophical assumptions largely because they resonate with personal, subjective themes in this person's life. This paper explores according to the phenonemenological approach of the training of a group of four trainee Gestalt therapists from four different traditions in the context of a culturally and racially diverse South Africa in the opening years of the third millennium.The intention of the authors was to focus specifically on their lived experience with a view to observing how the different historically situated contexts have influenced the incremental shift in the acquisition of the skills of the Gestalt therapist. It is the authors' contention that Gestalt therapeutic training needs to transcend the Western and Eurocentric traditions in which it is historically sited in order to become relevant to the multi-ethnic and multi-cultural realities of the global village characterised as it is by diversity. As such the benefits of Gestalt therapy, as experienced by the group, have implications that are broadly applicable.

Keywords: Gestalt; training; intersubjectivity; presentness; experiential; therapist

Health SA Gesondheid Vol. 10 (1) 2005: pp. 62-71

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2071-9736
print ISSN: 1025-9848