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International Research Conference

The Challenge of Establishing a Research Tradition
for Gestalt Therapy - Part II
This three-day international conference is a continuation of the work begun at the 2013 conference of research focused on the Gestalt approach in psychotherapy and organizational consulting. The research conference is designed to put interested Gestalt therapists and practitioner-researchers together in order to stimulate and encourage their growth.


We have invited two Mentors-in-Residence to present challenging and informative ideas, to engage in conversation and share their expertise wtih Gestalt practitioner-researchers, and to contribute to the ground of an emerging research tradition for Gestalt therapy.

In addition to the Mentors-in-Residence, practitioners from around the world will present on a diverse range of topics. See below or click here for topic descriptions and presenters.


Leslie Greenberg, PhD (York University)
Leslie Greenberg is Distinguished Professor of Psychology, York University and has been a visiting scholar at Katholieke University of Leuven and at Macquarie University, Australia. Dr. Greenberg is a trained Gestalt therapist whose research in process-experiential and emotion-focused therapy has been referenced in various publications as partial support for the practice of Gestalt therapy. He is a prolific scholar, researcher, and writer whose books, chapters, and peer-reviewed articles are numerous.

Plenary presentation:

“Engaging in a research program: an example of using model building, measurement, hypothesis testing, and relating process to outcome.” Dr. Greenberg will present the development of a research program for studying how people change in therapy, arguing that change process research is one of the best ways of studying how people change. This approach is based on the view that to become a true applied-science psychotherapy, research needs to not only provide evidence of effectiveness but also to specify the processes of change that lead to the effects.

Scott Churchill, PhD (University of Dallas)
Scott Churchill is Professor of Psychology and Human Sciences at the University of Dallas. His professional focus has been on the development of phenomenological and hermeneutic research methodologies, particularly in understanding modes of access to various forms of expression. A Fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA) and a liaison to its Science Directorate, he is the recipient of the APA's 2013 Award for Outstanding Lifetime Service and the 2014 Bühler Award for Outstanding and Lasting Contributions to Humanistic Psychology. Editor-in-Chief of The Humanistic Psychologist and past president of the Society for Humanistic Psychology, Dr. Churchill has given lectures at universities and conferences around the world.

Plenary presentation:

“Resonating with Meaning in the Lives of Others: Empathy as an Investigatory Posture." This plenary will attempt to “sort out” where the researcher stands when reflecting on his or her own experience, versus reflecting upon someone else’s as communicated to us in words and other forms of expression. We will discuss first person, second person, and third person perspectives insofar as they come to play in the experience of conducting research. The perception of “gestalts”, which give rise to what Koehler (1921) calls “total impressions” in the researcher, will be discussed in the context of behavioral observations. All of these considerations will be directed towards the challenge of engaging the audience in reflection upon the possibility of developing a viable method for conducting research into the process and outcome of Gestalt Therapy.


Abstract. In bringing ourselves to the encounter with the experience of others, we bring our bodies with us—and, in doing so, we are able to resonate not only intellectually but also empathically with the other's experiences and expressions (which are given to us both verbally and nonverbally). In remaining faithful to our foundations in phenomenology (Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and Levinas), we shall talk about taking notice of others from within the relational “exchange” and reflect upon what, precisely, are the experientially given “affairs” to which Husserl invited us to return. Amedeo Giorgi's (2009) empirical ["modified Husserlian"] phenomenological method provides a foundation for our approaching the task of investigating human experience. Using this procedure as a point of departure, I will develop in depth the idea of the researcher's "presence" to the data, insofar as it is in the researcher's own lived experience of "reading" the data that our psychological insights emerge.


Our interest begins with the other's “first person” experience, but since we cannot access this directly, we must rely on the resonance we find within ourselves, within our own lived bodies, when we are addressed by the other, whether in word or in gesture. Merleau-Ponty's notion of bearing “witness” to behavior is useful in illuminating this “second person” perspective, which takes its point of departure from Husserl's (1910–1911) intersubjective reduction, by means of which we “participate in the other's positing” (1952/1989, emphasis added) and thereby grasp the meaning of the other's expression. Heidegger takes us a step beyond “empathy” in his Zollikon Seminars that took place between 1959-1969 at the home of Medard Boss. Here, he reviews the central teachings of his earlier writings, in which he locates the origin of meaning and gesture in our “bodying-forth” in our relations with others. Ultimately, the dialogal talent of the phenomenologist will be shown to reside in his or her being able to move beyond what the other is able to say to a more deeply felt attunement to what is being revealed to us in the other's presence.

Topics and Presenters



Initial report from the international research project using single case, timed series analysis of gestalt therapy for the treatment of depression - Philip Brownell (Bermuda)



Use of Gestalt Inventory of Resistance Loadings (GIRL) and the Gestalt Mental Status Exam in clinical settings for outcome - Susan Grossman, Alan Cohen, and Patricia Tucker (USA)


Negotiating with Gravity to propose film as a research medium particularly well suited to Gestalt psychotherapy - Hugh Pidgeon (UK)  

Studying Memoir - Iris Fodor (USA)


A case study on the gestalt therapy awareness process in the treatment of an adolescent female student with anxiety disorder - Emmanuel Hernani (Philippines)


Research completed
Developing a Rater Scale for Gestalt Therapy - Madeleine Fogarty (Australia)

Research in progress


Action research of a psychotherapy training - Jan Roubal (Czech Republic)

Research completed or in progress


Men Making Meaning of Eating Disorders: A Qualitative Study Robin Leichtman and Sarah Toman (USA)

Research completed or in progress


The Relationship between Embodiment and Gestalt Resistance Processes: A Quantitative Investigation - Monique Mercado (USA)

Research completed or in progress


Use of daydreams & daydreaming in gestalt therapy - Natalia Kedrova, Polina Egorova, and Evgeny Osin (Russia)

Research completed or in progress


The efficiency of the CESIGUE Model applied to mothers and their babies in a rural community - Guadalupe Amescua (Mexico)

Research completed or in progress


Gestalt form as a vision for research - Rob Farrands (UK)

Philosophy of science behind research



Dates and Fees:


Offered in cooperation with AAGT

(The Association for the Advancement of Gestalt Therapy)

Dates Not offered in 2016
Wednesday, 6pm
Saturday, 12 noon
Fee $345
  GISC or AAGT Members: $295

AAGT has made limited scholarships available for AAGT or GISC members for this conference. Each grant is limited to no more than $250. Apply here

Scholarship notifications will be made the week of May 4, 2015.
  Philip Brownell
  Joseph Melnick
Location South Wellfleet, MA

Gestalt International Study Center
1035 Cemetery Road, P.O. Box 515, South Wellfleet, MA 02663
Phone: +1 508 349 7900