We started life in 1988 out of a group of practitioners interested in the Gestalt approach who had been working separately in the area (although John Bernard Harris and myself had previously been working together for a couple of years as Changes Manchester). Our aim was twofold: to provide a good-quality individual, group, couples and family therapy service locally, and to bring our interest in developing theory and practice to the wider professional community both nationally and internationally. We have always intentionally stayed small (currently four therapists: Joy Appleby, Peter Philippson, Danny Porter and Shirley Summers, John Bernard Harris and Elizabeth Jackson having the status of retired members) and are currently based in a large house in a quiet setting near Platt Fields Park just south of the University and the Curry Mile. We see people both privately and referred through their workplaces (through Employee Assistance Providers).
People come with a range of issues including relationship or work problems, depression, survivors of abuse or trauma. We are very committed to group work as well as individual therapy, and to working with the embodied therapeutic relationship as our main tool. We ourselves operate as a collective, and have never had a Director. Our philosophy is that we meet together (sometimes with a facilitator, sometimes in the countryside) and put our interests to the group to gather support for the activity we each have interest in.
As well as our client work, we have always offered training, one-day CPD workshops or weekend Introductions to Gestalt Therapy, international guest workshops, our one year Essential Gestalt or Foundation training courses, and, from 1990, a professional training leading to the Diploma of the national Gestalt Psychotherapy & Training Institute (GPTI) and registration with the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP). We have stayed primarily a psychotherapy centre and not allowed the training to overshadow our therapy work.
In line with our aims, we have been involved in writing (books, chapters and journal articles) and presenting both in Britain and worldwide (Peter has presented in 12 countries, and very much enjoys travelling and meeting Gestaltists from all over the world). Our website www.mgc.org.uk carries articles outlining our thinking, and information about our publications. We have taken on roles in the wider Gestalt and psychotherapy community, with staff members and graduates from our training programme on both the Executive and Training Standards Committee of GPTI, while Peter is Past President of the (international) Association for the Advancement of Gestalt Therapy and was for many years a delegate to UKCP, and Danny has been Chair of the UK Association for Gestalt Practitioners.