Mindfulness-based role-play in supervision

Presenter:  ANDERSSON, L. (Integrating Awareness, Brisbane)

Lars.jpgBiography:  I completed my first training as a Gestalt therapist 1980 in Stockholm, Sweden. Since moving to Australia, I have completed a Masters degree in Gestalt therapy at GTB, and also a Masters degree in Mental Health (Psychotherapy) at the University of Queensland.

As part of my MMH, I conducted an 18 month research project, which was subsequently published in Counselling and Psychotherapy Research under the title “Dialogical mindfulness in supervision role-play.” I have also had an article published in Psychotherapy in Australia called “Psychodynamic supervision in a group setting: Benefits and limitations.” And I contributed a chapter called “Meditation to Relax the Mind” to The Home Therapist (Australian Academic Press). I am registered with PACFA as a Clinical Member and Accredited Supervisor, and have been in private practice in Brisbane for over 25 years as a Counsellor/Psychotherapist, Clinical Supervisor, Mindfulness meditation teacher, and Meaningful-Life Coach.

Aim:  The workshop aim is to acquaint participants, experientially, with a particular application of clinical supervision called Mindfulness-based Role-play Supervision (MBRP supervision). MBRP supervision offers practitioners a context where they can uncover deeper layers of how, in the dance of therapy, therapists and clients mutually affect one another toward enhanced awareness and growth.

Overview:  This workshop offers participants an opportunity to experientially explore vital aspects of Mindfulness-based Role-play Supervision (MBRP supervision) as a means to enhancing essential therapist factors, such as empathic understanding of the client, and the therapeutic alliance. Complex therapist skills such as empathy and therapeutic alliance are difficult to teach and learn with conventional approaches to training and supervision. Yet, there is a growing body of literature suggesting mindfulness-based approaches as a viable means for development of such skills.

In MBRP supervision the supervisee role-plays an interaction between herself (as therapist) and her client, being mindfully aware of her actual, phenomenological experience in each of the respective roles.

By employing a role-play that is grounded in mindfulness, the supervisee may be able to access information about the client (as well as about herself, and about the relational dynamics between them), which is available only at the fringes of the supervisee’s awareness. Through mindfulness the supervisee’s awareness of such information becomes heightened, and hence the mindfulness-based role-play helps the supervisee develop an empathic understanding of the client’s experience, which may have previously eluded her.

While the time limitations for the workshop do not allow participants to experience the full extent of the approach – which entails the practice of dialogical mindfulness with clients as well as the application of the specific role-play format in supervision – the main characteristics of the application are experientially explored in facilitated pair exercises.

To maximise participants’ benefit from the workshop, it is recommended that they bring (mentally) a case, where they are quite familiar with the client, i.e. ideally a client that they have already seen a number of times in therapy.

Contact: P.O. Box 34, Sherwood, Qld 4075  Phone: (07) 3716 0600 SMS: (04) 3169 0914
Email:  Email:

Night work and dream conversations

Presenter:  CHURCHER, B.

Barbara.jpgBiography:  I, Barbara Churcher, am a psychotherapist trained in both Gestalt and Psychodynamic approaches. My interest in the way we create who we are in the world, was sparked during my work as a midwife. I worked with my clients throughout the childbearing year and was given many opportunities to observe that we are the children of context and environment. I have a deep love of psychotherapy, a path that can bring so much richness to our lives in ways that may be unexpected, are sometimes difficult but often powerful. My aim as a therapist is to support my clients to understand the events and circumstances of their lives and more clearly see the subtle, often hidden means they use to affect these things.

Aim:  Our response to perception and its layers of meaning is often constructed while we sleep. The difficulty is, of course, that dreams speak to us indirectly, in symbolic language. My aim for this workshop is a simple one: to share some methods of exploring dreams in the therapeutic space, illustrating the conversation with some of my own thoughts and understandings and applying consideration of Frank M. Staemmler’s ideas and those of others.

Overview:  “Individual meanings are derivatives or distillates from previous dialogues; like powdered milk they need to be watered in dialogue again to become complete” (Staemmler).

I have borrowed Staemmler’s phrase to describe dreams, although I depart a little from his original meaning. He describes a process in his essay of exploring and interpreting content together, therapist and client, trying to meet in a shared understanding. This is a process I use when a client brings a dream, like a gift, to the therapy session. Dreams, distilled from our experience, cleverly use symbols to allow the unconscious to speak in such a way that the journey to understanding has as much value as the insights that are gained in the dream dialogue. I have found that such a conversation may lead to a seeming completion but then again, dreams can reverberate throughout the work and over time, finding reference and lending illustration in other conversations as the dialogue deepens, leading us inward. Borrowing from the conference theme, I offer a workshop about working with dreams to explore the notion that “what is happening within us is a reflection of what is happening between us”, and to share my love of this vehicle of exploration. Those who attend will work with one of the methods presented and play with some of the ideas, in groups or pairs. We have only 90 minutes so this is a fly by!

Reference:  ‘Dialogue and Interpretation in Gestalt Therapy – Making Sense Together’, Frank-M. Staemmler.

Contact:  Mobile:  0423 256 373

How to Integrate Clinical Practice and the Art of Research: A Taster

Presenter: FOGARTY, M. (Private Practice)

Untitled.jpgBiography:  Madeleine Fogarty is a psychotherapist and supervisor working in Melbourne. I run groups and workshops locally and internationally. I work as a writer and researcher, am a clinical member of PAFCA, AAGT, NYIGT, council member of GANZ and a scientific board member of the EAGT. I am currently completing a PhD in Psychology at Swinburne University.


  • To introduce the Gestalt Therapy Fidelity Scale (GTFS) and how to use it for supervision and research
  • To increase awareness of Gestalt Therapy ( GT) clinical practice
  • To work with video as a supervision and research tool
  • To provide a preliminary introduction on how to do a small research project in your own clinic with one client

Overview:  Most Gestalt Therapy (GT) clinicians say that their practice works. But scratch the surface and few of us can really say how it is working, what is the aesthetics of care, what is working, and whether what we think is working is what our clients think is working. We are not alone here: there is only 14 per cent correlation between what practitioners report is working in therapy and what clients report! Working with video recordings of sessions is familiar to most recent graduates. This is a useful way of reflecting on the relational field of GT (the aesthetics of care). Watching a video of work and using the Gestalt Therapy Fidelity Scale (GTFS) to identify the presence or absence of the specific therapist behaviors that are fundamental to GT, is a simple and effective way of observing what is happening in a clinical session and whether it is effective.

The GTFS is a 20-item scale that is easy to use for supervision, and also for the art of research enquiry For example: What is an experimental attitude and how is it supported by the key concepts and clinical practice of GT?

This workshop also introduces the art of research enquiry, by offering skills and tools that support deep curiosity and reflection. Participants will learn about the GTFS, how to use it with video for supervision and research and also be introduced to gestalt coherent models of phenomenological research practice.

Contact: 30 Crimea Street, St Kilda, Victoria, 3182  Phone: +61 (0)

Radical Therapist, World Worker or Artist? – Embracing vulnerability in leadership, honing your creative and spiritual practice

Presenter: LEE, A (Heartwork)

Alee.jpgBiography:  Alee Lee is a psychotherapist, group facilitator, supervisor and artist with more than 25 years experience working in community organisations and private practice. Alee specialises in working with people experiencing trauma and transition. Alee completed her Masters of Gestalt in 2008 and is currently completing her BA Fine Art with Griffith University. In 2016 Alee travelled to the Embodied Social Justice Conference, UK where she presented her work with the TEIC Peer Mentor Program. The 6 month program which Alee created, matches people with eating issues with mentors in recovery. Embodied art practice is central to Alee’s style and understanding of vulnerability, which has become a guiding light for her development as a sensitive practitioner. Alee continues to explore the interface between the arts, social justice and how these can inform her practice.

Aim:  This play lab will explore how vulnerability, creativity and leadership can co-exist to inform a mindful, ethical and radical practice framework. Do you yearn to bring more of your creative capacity into your work, without having to complete yet another degree? Do you desire to be more playful and adventurous with your clients, yet feel afraid of getting it wrong, failing or harming them? Do you yearn to be part of a creative community, which nurtures self-expression, connection and raises awareness?

Overview:  This ‘playlab’ will offer you the opportunity to give attention to your creative yearning, your desire for ethical practice and enable you to learn how you can use your ‘resistance’ to support awareness, courage and nurture more satisfaction in your work. Offering a space to tune in, to experiment with your growing edge in pairs and group, you will gain greater understanding into your creative “loop” and how you can transform this into a supportive ally that is more like a “spiral” and spiritual mentor. There will be take home tools to inform your work and guide your practice. This play lab will also be followed by a series of practice play labs in my private practice, for those interested in progressing their work and play. During the play lab you will be invited to experiment with various media and movement. It is recommended that you wear comfortable clothing that you can move in easily. Please bring an old towel and a visual journal if you have one. Art materials will be supplied and you are welcome to bring any art materials that you would like to use. Places are limited to 20 people.

Contact: Website:  Email:  Mobile:  0410 457 208

Conversations that matter: Exploring patterns that limit connection and transformation

Presenters: McPHERSON, L. (Private Practice), LANGFORD, H. (Consultant)

Lesley.jpgMc PHERSON, Lesley

Biography:  Lesley holds a Master of Gestalt Therapy and works in private practice in the Southern Highlands of NSW.  She runs the Southern Highlands Breast Cancer Support Group.  She is a student of Claudio Naranjo’s International SAT program.  She has presented at International conferences, including GANZ

She is an Accredited Teacher in the Narrative Tradition and uses the enneagram in private therapy practice as well as community teaching and group therapy

Hilary.jpgLANGFORD, Hilary

Biography:  BA (1977), B Soc Wk (1970), University of Queensland, Australia.  Hilary is the owner and principal consultant of Oliver & Langford Organisational Consultants, established in 1984. She specialises in the human aspects of organizational life, especially when there is major change, crisis and heightened emotions, such as fear, anger, and conflict. She has been conducting workshops in communication for over 30 years. She has presented at many international conferences, including GANZ.

She is an Accredited Enneagram Teacher in the Narrative Tradition (2003) and has trained with many international teachers.

Aim:  This session explores how to create an authentic connection, i.e. patterns we adopt that enrich, not impoverish, our conversations. If we look closely at our conversations we can identify the patterns, which create intimacy and transformation, and those that defend, destroy, and push people away. These are the conversations where care of self and care of other in authentic connection becomes our focus rather than surrendering to our fixed gestalts. Too often we operate in a mix of fixed gestalts that protect the vulnerable, playful, spontaneous, creative core of who we are, and who we were truly meant to be! When we use this protective shell, we cannot connect to others in ways ‘that matter’. We are guarded, and not truly present. Yet many of us hunger for interactions that truly ‘matter’! Sometimes we ‘click’ with another person. We are fully present, authentic and engaged. We may feel deeply seen, heard and understood.  We might even feel ‘naked’ in the openness and truthfulness that passes between us. Transformation is more likely when we truly face ourselves, and build support from the other to witness our new path.

Overview:  Meaningful relationships are a consolidation of all our interactions. ‘Conversations that matter’, can transform us and our relationships! Through small group and one-to-one dialogue.

  • Participants will explore patterns that lead to ‘conversations that matter’, rather than defending, destroying, and keeping others at a distance.
  • Participants will consider how connecting at this authentic level can lead to significant change and enduring transformation.


Lesley McPherson:  Website:,  Mobile: 0438 00 11 77
Hilary Langford:  Website,,  Mobile: 0417 797 374

Positioning Gestalt professional education.

Presenter: O’REGAN, P. (Griffith University)

PaddyBiography:  Paddy is a Director and trainer at Gestalt Therapy Brisbane. He is also a clinical social worker and has been engaged in supporting individuals and families involved in the mental health sector as well as working with people involved in traumatic incidents in their workplace. Paddy is currently enrolled in a PhD through Griffith University exploring the experiences of key people involved in Gestalt institutes in Australia and New Zealand regarding the pressures and imperatives of joining the higher education sector.

Aim:  The workshop aim is to conduct research within a focus group to explore the experiences, ideas and meanings of participants regarding the pressures and challenges of providing Gestalt education in the current cultural context.

Overview:  The workshop is part of a PhD research study. Participants are invited to participate in a focus group so I can understand more about their experiences and perspectives on Gestalt professional education in the current culture. The focus group also explores perspectives and experiences regarding positioning gestalt institutes in different sectors (such as higher education). This research is to understand more about the experiences, interpretations and decisions of those involved with Gestalt professional education in the contemporary culture. Of particular interest are the implications and tensions involved in Gestalt institutes joining different education sectors. The research is conducted in the context of my PhD project. The topic is relevant to several of the strivings of the conference, especially the ethics of gestalt professional education, and the settings in which it situated, which is of core concern of the research. The nature of the education of gestalt practitioners is directly linked to supporting the gestalt community. I hope this process can assist in raising awareness in an important but under researched field within Gestalt practice. Please note that I will, with participant’s permission, record and transcribe the session. I also require participants to sign a consent form.

The focus group comprises of a series of questions designed to facilitate reflection and discussion within and between the participants who are asked to discuss and interact with other group members (to the extent they feel comfortable) regarding the experiences and perspectives of gestalt professional practice in our current culture.


Eros at Work

Presenter: O’SHEA, L. (Gestalt Therapy Australia)

LeanneBiography:  Leanne O’Shea, DPsych, MSc, BTheol, is an experienced therapist, supervisor and educator living in Melbourne, Australia. She is a long-standing faculty member at Gestalt Therapy Australia. She also teaches internationally, at Esalen and in the UK, and is an Associate of Relational Change, and an International Associate Faculty Member with Pacific Gestalt Institute. Leanne is interested in writing and encouraging others to write and was a founding co-editor of the Gestalt Journal of Australia and New Zealand. She is particularly passionate about Eros and sexuality, and has long been interested in exploring how these issues emerge in clinical practice, organisational settings and in life generally. Her ongoing commitment is to developing theoretical and practical resources that better support practitioners in this important work.

Aim:  In our various practice settings, be they therapeutic or organisational, Eros invariably inhabits the space, sometimes supporting the possibility of creative, vital collaboration, at other times leading to situations of confusion, betrayal and chaos. This dynamic can (at least in part) be explained by the impossible cultural tangle of sex and Eros, and a seemingly inevitable collapse into behaviour that risks the possible transgression of boundaries in sometimes disastrous ways. Whether as practitioners, leaders, team members or participants, understanding our personal vulnerabilities in relation to these dilemmas is an important first step in navigating our way through these complex dynamics. A necessary next step is the establishment of a theoretical framework that is better able to support the complexities of an erotically charged work space. This is crucial, not just because it provides a framework for more effectively understanding and responding to sexual desires, longings and behaviours within these contexts, but because it provides a way of engaging with Eros that supports a deep and resonant connection with ‘otherness’ – and one that has the capacity to support the creative, enlivened and vital relational field that is so desperately needed and longed for as a foundation for experiment, growth and change.


  • Outline the challenges and opportunities in relation to this area of practice
  • Highlight the concerns specific to organisational settings
  • Address how these issues and concerns are also present in educational and clinical settings.

Teaching and Experiential Processes will include the following:

  • A description of a theoretical model for approaching sex and Eros in the workplace.
  • An invitation to participants to reflect on and discuss how personal experience and values shape their responses to these issues.
  • An opportunity for general discussion in large and small group for the sharing of responses.

Contact:  Phone: 0413 208 767  Email:

Breathing and breathing with: Body process in Gestalt therapy – an exploration of the concepts of ethical practice and self-care through the lens of the breath

Presenter:  PRICE, R. (The Relational Institute Australia, Sydney)

Robyn.jpgBiography:  Robyn Price, BA, Grad Dip Movt & Dance, Grad Dip Dance Therapy, M Gestalt Therapy. Robyn is a Dance/Movement Therapist and Gestalt Psychotherapist who believes difference should be recognised, valued and included in our culture. This belief permeates her approach to life and to the therapy she offers, which is gentle, supportive and trauma-informed. Robyn brings a deep knowledge of body process, movement and the nonverbal. Where appropriate, she draws on creative processes that include drawing, sandtray, music- and dance-making to explore or deepen understanding. She finds nonverbal approaches particularly helpful when working with traumatic or early-life issues, where words are often unavailable. She has experience working with groups and individuals, with children and adults, supporting those struggling with anxiety, depression, addiction, loss, grief, low self-esteem, relationship issues and the effects of trauma. Robyn is a Professional Member of the DTAA (PACFA Member Association) and a member of GANZ.

Aim:  “We breathe automatically, but breath can be influenced by and is reflective of changes in consciousness, feelings, and thoughts…….. The breath can be an ally in any desired approach to change.” (Hackney, 2004, pp. 51-52)

Gestalt therapy is a body-inclusive practice, yet not all Gestalt practitioners have the training or confidence to fully include body-level process in their practice. This 90-minute workshop aims to enhance your knowledge of the most fundamental developmental movement pattern – the breath – through experience, observation and reflection. It includes practical ideas to support your practice and stimulate your imagination. The breath is a rich resource we can draw on as therapists, to support ourselves, to inform our practice and to bring greater awareness and support to our clients. The breath can be an indicator of presence or safety, a tool to help us track the contact process and one of the simplest ways to introduce body awareness to clients. Particularly in trauma work, a deeper understanding of somatic process is an ethical consideration.

Overview:  This workshop is divided into three parts. Following an introduction to the anatomy of the breath, we listen to and are present with the sensations of our own breath, increasing self-awareness before noticing what happens as we come into contact with others. In this first part, we reflect on the breath as an instrument of support for our practice as therapists, as an instrument of self-awareness and self-care. We next work with another person using observation, touch and self-other noticing to deepen our understanding of the breath as it presents in our clients and in the relational field. To integrate, we take time to embody our experiences in a ‘dancing on the breath’ improvisation.

Along the way, there is space for personal reflection, exchange of ideas, and vignettes from Robyn’s practice.

Reference: Hackney, P. (2004). Making Connections: Total body integration through Bartenieff Fundamentals. London: Routledge.

Contact: Robyn Price, Inspired Characters,

The language of weaving

Presenter:  REINER, W., (Milliner and millinery teacher; feltmaker and weaver; founder of Hats for Happiness and Hatwalk Australia).

WaltraudBiography:  Waltraud’s background is millinery. She uses the metaphors and techniques of hatmaking, weaving and other art forms as creative avenues towards emotional wellbeing, including travelling widely to rural Australians, who struggle with isolation and enviromental hardships. Her red truck is loaded with materials needed for a therapeutic outcome.

At present a year 2 student at GTA Melbourne, Waltraud is married with two adult children, and has dealt with depression, eating disorder, death and paraplegia in her immediate family. Making art has helped her deal with much of that.

Waltraud migrated to Australia from Austria the age of 26. With a lifelong interest in the mind, following the trail of art, led her to millinery, which has turned out to be very close to the brain. Waltraud now uses hatmaking and weaving as metaphoric tools to tease out the different hats we wear in our daily lives.

Aim:  This weaving workshop makes creative use of metaphor, through the warp and the weft, evoking curiosity around textures and choices, be it at the stage of preparing, the weaving itself, or in the finished product. The warp represents life content and situations, the trajectory of our opportunities as we move from the here and now. The weft refers to the process of making choices, and brings to the fore the reasons behind our choices through the colours, yarns and textures we choose. Furthermore, aspects of us as indviduals, as team members, as a whole workshop group, and of the whole GANZ conference community, emerge as relevant.

The workshop reveals a way of engaging creatively in many aspects of our life and work: it offers a tool to work with the suffering stranger, a means to reveal the self as a therapist, and an avenue to maintain therapist wellbeing.

Overview:  The ideal size for this practical workshop is between 10 to 15 people, to give each participant time and space to explore something personal, expressed using a loom to weave colour, texture and threads into a unique fabric.

As facilitator, Waltraud demonstrates techniques and possibilities to create a piece to represent participants of the Gestalt conference, and which could become an artwork for display in the GTA office.

The proposed shape for the experiential workshop:

  • Provide an overview of weaving and its tools
  • Interest people in choosing yarns, colour and texture
  • Invite people to work in pairs or triads depending on numbers
  • Prepare yarns for people to weave on the prepared loom
  • Conclude by removing the woven piece
  • Reflect and share thoughts about the experience

Contact: Email:  Mobile:  0425 745 299

Can We Play?

Presenter:  WILLIAMS, S.  (Lehualani Centre)

Sarah.jpgBiography:  Sarah Williams, Psy.D is licensed in Illinois and Hawaii. She has successfully worked with families, children, adolescents, and adults since 2004 and currently has a private practice in Maui. She received her Doctorate in Psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology. Dr Sarah completed many postgraduate training courses in Gestalt Therapy with emphasis on adults and groups at The Cleveland Institute. She is also a certified Gestalt Therapist with children and adolescents through the West Coast Institute for Gestalt Therapy with Children and Adolescents. Additionally, Dr Sarah Williams is currently working on completing two books: Me and My Monsters and From Survival to Aloha: A Doctor’s Journey. She has also presented lectures on “Living in Aloha” in Hawaii, Chicago and Utah and conducted numerous presentations throughout the United States at schools and conferences discussing anxiety, depression, embodied presence and learning disabilities like Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in adults and children.

Aim:  This workshop presents play as foundational to the nurturing aspects of the Aesthetics of Care and examines play as the creative spark, which energises life.

Overview:  Workshop participants are asked to reflect upon the words and concepts that they associate with play, after which we record and share these observations as a group. Next, participants are to play with cotton ‘snowballs’, distributed amongst the group. During this activity, we explore the struggle, joy and complexity surrounding our experience of play. Participants are asked to pay attention to what associations, emotions, and thoughts they experience during the activity, and share these reflections both in pairs and with the entire group. Participants’ reflections are used as a means to explore how play can increase our attunement to the field conditions of our experiences and relationships. The group discusses how this exercise is used to access pieces of the self that can be nourished, are nourishing, or need to be nourished. Play provides creative opportunities for energised expression and improvisation, which supports the development of experimental and experiential awareness that can be integrated into self-care. A therapist that has a more integrated and open relationship with play is able to embody this fullness while interacting with clients.

Contact: Lehualani centre, Makawao, Hawaii USA.  Telephone: 1 (773) 919-6009