Welcome to the programme of the 5. International Conference on Reseach in Gestalt Therapy.
We are all glad to be able that we can meet again after a long time for this conference. The enforced contact abstinence through the pandemia was a challenge for all of us and our clients.
Deep respect for the individual-in-relation, confidence in their capacity for self-determination, growth and love, the values on which Gestalt therapy was built, are more necessary than ever.
Ten years ago, when we chose to encourage research in Gestalt therapy by organizing these conferences, we thought that our modality should regain its place in the set of recognized psychotherapeutic treatments. Moreover, we thought it was important to join the movement of our humanist colleagues who were opposed to a technical and medical vision of health that claimed to hold the truth of psychic care.
And in fact, in the face of the now dominant scientific medical model which seeks to link a treatment to every symptom, another model has emerged: the contextual model, built with sensitivity to the role of relationship and environment and largely supported by a whole range of research and meta-analyses. One of our guest, Bruce Wampold, is one of the primary developers and most influential promoters of this model. In this model, phenomena related to the therapy situation between therapist and patient/client are noted as what leads to effective therapeutic work, rather than rigid adherence to particular therapeutic treatments.
Gestalt therapy faces two different risks: being marginalized as an ineffective archaism in the medical model that now dominates the health care system in many countries, or being seen as interesting but, up to a certain point, irrelevant as a distinct therapeutic approach in the contextual model.
Another of our guests, Robert Elliott, a humanist psychotherapy researcher, is renowned for developing research projects with practitioner-researchers that serve their clinical practice. With him, we will expand our possibilities to put research at the service of the Gestalt clinic.
This conference is the place where we will draw together the possible future of Gestalt therapy. Let’s bet that this could involve choosing to support our theoretical-clinical intuitions by giving them convincing justifications with research and thus contribute to collective progress.