Volume 22, 1 (2013)


Volume 22, 1 (2013)


The British Gestalt Journal 2013, Volume 22, 1


Editorial - Christine Stevens 

Obituary: Daniel Stern (1934-2012) - Margherita Spagnuolo Lobb 

Obituary: Gabrielle Roth (1941-2012) - Helena Kallner 

Paul Goodman, 100 years. Paul Goodman symposium, 11-13 November 2011, Vienna - Stefan Blankertz 

The relational movement - Mark Fairfield 

In his own voice 

Interviewing Ian Greenway - Katy Wakelin 

Add To Cart


Putting together each issue of the BGJ is an engaging journey of serendipity as drafts and articles arrive in the inbox and we work with authors as they develop and craft their contributions. The experience becomes more anxiety-provoking as the deadline approaches and we have to make final decisions about what is ready to be included and how to fit what we have available within the page limit. With rising postage costs we have a weight restriction on the size of each issue. Please see the note at the end about our online survey about costs and format of the journal. 

Although we sometimes devote an issue to a particular theme, usually we work in a more eclectic process reflecting the apparently random way in which contributions arrive. As I always write my editorial once the first proofs have come, I then enjoy looking through the contents the editorial team has put together and seeing, from a Gestalt perspective, what patterns have emerged, what concerns are reflected, what swirls of energy in the complex field of Gestalt therapy practice have found their way into the pages of the BGJ. 

What has emerged in this issue is a particularly existential, relational theme. The majority of the contributions are reflections on and appreciation of people, both dead and living, who have made significant contributions in their field, and who continue to guide and inspire us. Margherita Spagnuolo Lobb writes an article-length obituary about her friend and colleague Daniel Stern, a deeply influential theorist for Gestalt practitioners. For those less familiar with his work, she gives a comprehensive outline of his ideas on infant development and theory of self. She argues compellingly that his ideas of bodily experience and the phenomenology of perception based on his research on mother-infant interactions support the principles of Gestalt therapy practice. Indeed, she points out that his challenge to Gestalt practitioners is that we may not be as sufficiently spontaneous and phenomenological as his research encourages us to be! 

Helena Kallner's obituary for Gabrielle Roth provides a deeply personal glimpse into the life and work of a younger contemporary of Perls, whose profound understanding of body awareness throughout her long life will continue to live on embodied by those who dance these rhythms. For some it may open up new possibilities of whole body integration and, as Helena suggests, fruitful developments in terms of therapy practice. 

The article by Stefan Blankertz on Paul Goodman is a collaboration with our German Gestalt colleagues and was first presented as a keynote speech at a symposium in 2011 in celebration of Goodman's centenary and subsequently published in German in Gestalttherapie. From time to time we exchange seminal articles with other European Gestalt journals, and this one gives a succinct flavour of this complex and controversial man who made significant contributions in education, literary and political thinking in his time and whom we recognise for his distinctive impact on the development of Gestalt therapy. 

Katy Wakelin's interview with Ian Greenway - someone who at the time of writing is very much alive - is significant for the breadth of experience and continuous practice that Ian contributes to the UK Gestalt community. This piece is fascinating for the way it brings together threads of the history and development of Gestalt through the eyes of one of its longest UK practitioners. 

The memorial theme is continued in the Letters with Malcolm Parlett's personal tribute to Pat Levitsky, who was one of the founders of this journal. Sean Gaffney's 'say goodbye, say hello' opinion piece at the end of this issue pulls together the existential theme in a final coda. 

Mark Fairfield's article, along with the informative letter by Mark Gawlinski, introduce a variation on the predominant theme of this issue by exploring Mark's work based at the Relational Center which he has founded in America and his thoughts about the importance of interdependency within communities. He points out that psychotherapists are often concerned with people being self-dependent, but in so doing they may be severing the very relationships that are needed for compassionate and sustainable living. He argues that it is the shared relationships between people at all levels of society that need to be the focus for interventions towards growth and wellbeing. His paper thinks through the implications of this in terms of providing mental health care training and services, and challenges us to reconsider some of our approaches to our psychotherapy clients. 

Finally there are some excellent books, which have been reviewed with critical care and attention by some of our most experienced Gestalt trainers and practitioners. 

This is generally the spot where I urge readers to keep writing and sending in articles and letters, and as always we look forward to receiving your contributions. We are hosting our first BGJ Writers' Workshop in June and are excited to see what develops from that in terms of new writing, whether for this journal or elsewhere. 

What we would, however, like to ask from each reader is that you would take a moment to complete our online 5-question survey to help the BGJ Board make some decisions about future developments. We really need you to let us know what you think and would like to thank you in advance for your support. 

This is the link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/C9XLWNZ 

Christine Stevens, PhD

Letters to the editor: 

Mark Fairfield and relational change - Mark Gawlinski 

Remembering Pat Levitsky - Malcolm Parlett

Book reviews: 

Developing the theory and practice of Gestalt work with children and young people. A review of Relational Child, Relational Brain: Development and Therapy in Childhood and Adolescence edited by Robert G. Lee and Neil Harris - Francis Taylor 

A lifetime's work. A review of Teaching a Paranoid to Flirt: The Poetics of Gestalt Therapy by Michael Vincent Miller - Katy Wakelin 

A moment of meeting with a close relative. A review of Change in Psychotherapy: A Unifying Paradigm by The Boston Change Process Study Group - Peter Philippson 

Empathy in psychotherapy. A review of Empathy in Psychotherapy: How Therapists and Clients Understand Each Other by Frank-M. Staemmler - Laurence Hegan 

On roots and branches and perhaps some pruning. A review of Gestalt Therapy: Roots and Branches — Collected Papers by Peter Philippson - Toni Gilligan 


Say goodbye, say hello: reflections on the field of our existential meetings and partings - Sean Gaffney