You raise an interesting point in your reply. You bring up the process of learning through operant conditioning and point out that this takes place in life. I could say the same thing about dialogue from a Gestalt theory perspective. People learn and people communicate with one another as part of living. However, when we take those routine processes and emphasize them in therapy, something different takes place. I wouldn't tell you to quit talking to people until you'd gotten some Gestalt training under your belt, and I don't really think you were saying that I should quit letting life shape my learning. I do think, however, that you might agree that one shouldn't engage in behavioral therapy without taking a few classes and getting some surpervision. That's what I'm saying about Gestalt. Merely because someone has a doctorate, and is a trained cognitive therapist, or Jungian, or narrative, or works with family systems, does not mean he or she can pick up a few Gestalt techniques and practice Gestalt therapy. It requires training and supervision just like any other modality and approach to practice.
With regard to there only being so many hours on the clock and so much money in the checking accout to devote to training, that is the place where decision making must occur. It depends on what one values. A person can get the training at an affordable price if it's important enough. I decided to do it in tandem with a doctoral program; others have chosen Gestalt training instead of established, graduate training, and, as I mentioned previously, many others have invested in Gestalt training on a post-doctoral basis. Continuing education is something we all do anyway if we want to maintain our licenses.
There is another aspect to this business of where life and therapeutic approach meet. I know many Gestalt therapists who regard Gestalt theory as large enough and rich enough to provide them a philosophy of life. I'm wondering if you find that to be true about cognitive-behaviorists and their theory.