Here's a draft of core competencies that I put together for our working group of Gestalt Australia New Zealand (GANZ)
Core competencies of a Gestalt therapist seeking membership of GANZ:
I have listed these under sections dealing with Field Theory, Phenomenology and Contact/Dialogue. I have left out personal as I feel this may belong in an ethics section yet of course much of what I list here as practice is very personal......
Have a basic understanding of the development of field theory (history) and the various sources from which it arises and be able to relate this to other systems approaches.
To be able to describe/define concepts within field theory, in particular organism/environment field; the wisdom of the organism; boundaries; homeostasis; maturation; figure; ground; interdependence; structuring the field; contemporaneity; the process of becoming; the field as unitary whole etc.
To be able to describe the core relatedness and centrality of field theory in understanding the other key elements of Gestalt - phenomenology; contact/dialogue and experiment.
To be able to recognise and affirm the wisdom of the organism (client, therapist, couple, group, community) through attitude and speech.
To be able to support and encourage work in the present moment (contemporaneity)
To be able to discern and develop an awareness of the connectedness of the field and offer this to the client
To be able to perceive, discuss and where appropriate feedback to the client the connectedness of the therapeutic session.. how each affects the other
To discern and feedback as appropriate the processes and patterns of homeostasis and maturation
To be able to explore, discern and feedback as appropriate the boundaries in existence during the therapeutic session
To understand the ways in which the client structures their field and report this as appropriate
Have a basic understanding of the development of phenomenology (history) and the various sources from which it arises.
To be able to describe/define concepts within phenomenology, in particular awareness; zones of awareness; figure ground; the variety of processes of figure ground formation; phenomenological field; the construction of meaning; phenomenological bracketing; paradoxical theory of change; philosophy of the obvious; fixed or frozen gestalten; patterning etc.
To be able to describe the core relatedness and centrality of field theory in understanding phenomenology.
To be able to assist the exploration of awareness and the focusing of awareness
To know and be able to explore the five subsets of awareness (Perls) : want; feel; doing; avoiding; expecting as well as to be able to notice the therapist1s own potential for fixed gestalten in favouring one of these areas of awareness over others
To be able to be able to discriminate inner, outer and middle zone awareness and offer this discrimination to the client as appropriate
(next 5 from Yontef)
To put customary modes of thoughts in brackets
To search for structural features of the field (insight)
To be able to use systematic experimentation
To make straight forward awareness the subject of reflexive awareness
To be able to pay attention to the intentional correlation of the experiencer experiencing the experienced
(Next one from Bob Resnick)
To be able to view the client and the phenomenological field from a naive (nomena) perspective (Bob pretends he1s describing things to someone from Mars)
To discriminate between current perceptions/feelings in the current situation and what is residue/unfinished/perceptual prisms from the past (Yontef & Resnick) and feed this back to the client as appropriate.
Have a basic understanding of the development of dialogical philosophy and psychotherapy (history) and the various sources from which they arises. To have an understanding of theory of contact in relationship (Polster).
To be able to describe/define concepts within dialogical psychotherapy, in particular presence; commitment; inclusion; the 3lived2 of dialogue; I-It and I-Thou relating; dialogical intrapsychic; dialogical interpsychic; the between; healing through meeting; confirmation etc. To define/describe contact; contact functions; contact boundaries, contact disruptions and the syntax, representativeness and recurrence of the contact episode etc
To be able to describe the core relatedness and centrality of field theory in understanding dialogue and contact.
To be able to start with the client1s experience
To be able to include oneself into the experience of the other and accept them as they are.
To be able to present the therapist1s own awareness authentically
To commit to dialogue and allow the relationship to develop without overly controlling or making the relationship happen.
To commit to the lived aspect of dialogue and respond to the figural images of relating
To be able to confirm the reality and existence of the client
To be able to track the ongoing awareness and meaning attribution of the client
To note the contact boundaries of the client and therapist and feedback as appropriate
To discern contact disruption and track, focus awareness and experiment with these disruptions in contact
To discern the syntax of healthy and disrupted contact episodes and feedback as appropriate
The theoretical aspects could be assessed by exams. essays, short answer questions etc as well as mini-thesis work. This can also be an integral part of supervision where the supervisee is expected to integrate theory skill and practice and use theory to inform an understanding of the session and guide further interventions.
The practice aspects could be assessed through:
Core competencies of a trainer
My list would be :
1. Directors of training should have qualification (or equivalent training) in Gestalt therapy at least at the level of training/education being conducted by them
1. Directors of training are eligible for membership of the professional body relevant to their qualifications
Trainers will meet the same criteria with allowably fewer years of experience than directors.