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SCHOOL OF GESTALT AND EXPERIENTIAL TEACHING

The ability to create and teach through experiential structures is the goal of the training offered by the School of Gestalt and Experiential Teaching, which combines the principles of western theatre, group process, and gestalt practice.

Most people go through life without being fully conscious of their own experience, unaware of what is happening either within them or around them. Gestalt process brings awareness to experience, thereby deepening it by making the emotional content accessible. This greater awareness and emotional deepening are the first steps toward becoming an experiential teacher.
An experiential teacher must also have the creativity to structure an experience out of his or her own sources, the courage to address a group of people, and the authority to guide them through that experience. People learn best through experience. You can share your experience or knowledge by talking about it. However, creating a structure through which others can have their own experience of the content you wish to communicate is a far more effective mode of teaching. People contact each other more deeply through the medium of a shared event. To create such an event, however, requires that the teacher examine his or her own experience to discover its universal value and distill that into a communicable form.

The School of Gestalt and Experiential Teaching is, at the same time, a spiritual discipline, a school in which to learn psychological process, and a professional training in a specific approach to education. In order to be an experiential teacher, students have to go through a process of personal growth as well as learn a technique. Spiritual discipline places the learning in a transpersonal context. True education is always a process of growing, and with growth comes a healing of that which is incomplete. However, the goal of the program is not only to heal the self, but to train teachers.

ASSISTANTSHIP PROGRAM

The Assistantship program offers trainees experience in working with groups as well as the opportunity to gain permission to animate the workshop structures that (s)he has attended and assisted. The program includes four levels of assistance:

Level 1.) Assisting by taking charge of the physical plant: making sure that the room is in order, taking responsibility for doing any sort of room decoration or preparation, and providing the group with whatever it needs on the physical and material level, from kleenex in time of emotional process, to creating the throne for the heroic presentations in The Hero's Journey.

Level 2.) Taking on some responsibility for small groups: not necessarily leading them, but acting as the point of reference for the subgroups, keeping them to the point, helping if there are problems; only at times taking over as the leader.

Level 3.) If a trainee feels ready and I believe that (s)he is capable of acting as therapist to those members of the group who need individual therapeutic help, Level Three is to take charge of any therapeutic work that needs to be done and that is not taken care of by the process--primarily, to help people who become overwhelmed by their own process and cannot continue with the group work without doing some individual process to get them through some resistance or personal problem. If there are Gestalt working groups, this level assistant can also act as therapist or leader of the subgroups.

Level 4.)
Again, if the trainee and I agree that (s)he is ready to do so, at this level the assistant can animate some of the processes for the whole group and receive supervision for doing so. All four levels can happen simultaneously in one workshop if the assistant has had sufficient training.

SUPERVISION

Supervision sessions are held during and after the workshops, both to give instruction in the theoretical basis for the structure as well as supervisory critique of the assistants' work in the structure. In these sessions, student-assistants may also express any disagreements or questions they may have concerning my leadership of the group. These questions and/or disagreements should not be expressed during the group process, so as not to create confusion or lack of confidence in the participants. When the student has passed through the four levels and I feel that (s)he is capable of doing so, (s)he will be given the right to animate the workshop structures that (s)he has attended and assisted.

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