A Relational Approach to Gestalt Group Therapy

A Relational Approach to Gestalt Group Therapy with Peter Cole & Daisy Reese

A rich and satisfying life requires that we develop strong capacities for both self-activation and forming authentic, lasting and intimate relationships. Join us on this online journey in experiencing and learning the power of Gestalt Group Therapy to catalyse personal and relational growth. We will work in various group configurations (“fishbowl”, dyads, large group) to demonstrate the theory and practice of utilising the power of the group process in the service of each group member’s growth and development.

Workshop attendees will learn important new concepts and skills in Gestalt group facilitation:

  • Group-as-a-Whole interventions and reflections that address important dimensions of the group experience
  • The Emotional Leader, The Defiant Leader & the Scapegoat Leader: how to recognise and work effectively with roles that are commonly assumed by group members
  • The Affective Current and Affective Processing: Dimensions of Awareness that promote growth
  • Rupture and Repair as an ongoing process in Gestalt Group Therapy: promoting attachment, empathy and empowerment
  • The Shadow of the Leader: working with speaking truth to power in group life and in the world
  • Creating a safe container for the work
  • Upholding Gestalt Values of an egalitarianism and mutual respect in our Groups


PACFA CPD Endorsed for 13 points.

ACA Endorsed OPD 13 hours.


Presented by


Peter Cole and Daisy Reese are long-time Gestalt Therapy trainers and practitioners located in Berkeley California. They are the co-authors of the recently published book New Directions in Gestalt Group Therapy: Relational Ground, Authentic Self. Peter is a graduate of the Pacific Gestalt Institute. Daisy and Peter have trained in Gestalt Therapy with the Polsters, Joseph Zinker, Cyndy Sheldon and many others. Daisy and Peter are both graduates of the Washington DC School of Psychiatry’s Group Psychotherapy Training Program. Peter serves on the editorial advisory committee of Gestalt Review. He is a past board member of the Association for the Advancement of Gestalt Therapy. Peter is also an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry (Emeritus) with the University of California Davis School of Psychiatry. Peter and Daisy are in private practice and are the co-directors of the Sierra Institute for Contemporary Gestalt Therapy.
Peter and Daisy are married, with five children and five grandchildren. Their passion is the environment, and they are currently writing a new book concerning Gestalt therapy and the psychology of the climate crisis.

Our intention is to offer beginning and experienced Gestalt Group Leaders the concepts, methodology and tools that will enable them to effectively establish safe, yet stimulating groups in which members can truly risk and grow. Peter and Daisy have been leading Gestalt groups for clients and professionals for over 25 years. We hope that participants will leave the workshop with not only new tools and theory, but also with the personal growth experience of being part of a relational gestalt group.

Who is the workshop for?

This workshop is appropriate for both students and professionals in the mental health fields. Because the presenters will be presenting new theory and methodology, advanced practitioners will also benefit from the workshop. Because the training is experientially based, participants at all levels of experience will have many opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Participant Outcomes

Participants will have the opportunity to:

  • Understand the difference between Hotseat work and Interactive Gestalt Group Work and develop greater facility with both styles
  • Develop skills in co-creating a “Safe Container” for group members to explore and grow
  • Define Relational Development in its Self-Activating and Intimately Connected Aspects
  • Distinguish between “The Affective Current” and “Affective Processing”
  • Gain greater facility in working with the “Group as a Whole”
  • Identify and work effectively with leadership roles: Emotional Leader, Defiant Leader and Scapegoat Leader
  • Identify scapegoating in group, and learn techniques intervention when the group engages in scapegoating
  • Develop skills in identifying experiences of rupture in the group
  • Develop skills in working toward repair of group ruptures
  • Develop skill and understanding of “Shadow of the Leader” work, both as a group member and group leader

Event Details

Start date: 23 August 2020

End date: 24 August 2020

Start time: 08:30 a.m. AEST

End time: 01:00 p.m. AEST

Venue: Online

Directions: Join details will be sent to registered participants closer to the date.