This is the first year we have run the student essay prize competition at the British Gestalt Journal, on the suggestion of Belinda Harris, to encourage new writing and new writers to become engaged with writing for publication. As the Gestalt community is relatively small, it can feel that it is the same group of established writers that publish in the BGJ, and that writing for publication is a rarefied activity, available only to the chosen few. This is not the case, and often it is only a fairly small step from a well-written and researched essay to a published article. One of the main differences is often in the ‘tone’ of the article: essays are intentionally written to display knowledge. Articles can take more knowledge for granted, especially as they are addressed to a Gestalt audience that will be familiar with most of the terms and themes; instead the emphasis is often on what is new about the contribution. We hope the prize will help to de-mystify the publication process for a new generation of Gestalt writers.
Submissions were invited from all full-time or part-time students on Gestalt courses, or students that have graduated in the last 12 months. The submissions were judged anonymously and were considered in terms of their clarity of exposition, new insight, exploration of relevant theory and appropriate practice implications. The winning essay will be published in the BGJ and the author will receive £100. The essay word limit was 3500.
There were some excellent contributions and reading them was both enjoyable and educative. Some stood out for their confident and authoritative treatment of the chosen topic.
Pedro Diaz - Winner
The winning contribution 'Shyness: An Everyday Life Concept' by Pedro Diaz was well structured, thoughtful and wide ranging. We hope you will enjoy reading it in the forthcoming issue of the BGJ.
My background is in physical science, chemistry and engineering. I spent almost twenty years in the Oil Industry in my country Venezuela. For the past twelve years I have dedicated my work to Academia and Higher Education. My first experience in Gestalt was over fifteen years ago in Venezuela; it was a form of ‘old Gestalt’ and I was highly impacted yet I was not ready to follow the training at that time. I resumed my training in 2009 at The Gestalt Centre, London - this time I was ready. Currently, I am completing the UKCP accreditation process after fulfilling the requirements needed, and am planning to combine my teaching, research and psychotherapy work.
We will be running the prize again with contributions needing to be in by the end of January 2016. We encourage all students to dust off those essays and send one in.