TURNING TOWARDS NATURE – Listening to Country: Gestalt Therapy as Ecological Practice


Turning to nature….

There is a growing disconnect between humans and the natural world, contributing to both a mental health and ecological crisis. Gestalt therapy has an opportunity to restore our human-nature relationship to strengthen the wellbeing of both humans and nature. We are on the verge of what Chidiac and Denham-Vaughan (2018) have called an ecological turn.

In this 1 day workshop in the Currumbin Valley hinterland we will explore together new developments in gestalt thinking which seek to extend the relational field to include not just humans relationship with self and others but also with the natural world. This includes trees, mountains, rivers, skies, oceans, animals, rocks and insects. We will look at how the split between humans and nature is a false and harmful dualism, that was recognised by the founders of gestalt therapy. Together, we will explore how gestalt today can make this split whole.

Date: September 16, 2023

Time: 9am – 4pm

Location: 1226 Currumbin Creek Rd, Currumbin Valley QLD 4223 (Currumbin Community Farm Campus) **Across from Currumbin Rocks Pools and Currumbin Valley Primary School

Cost: $220

Food: BYO lunch. Morning tea and coffee/tea provided.

Category: SKU: N/A


Who is this workshop for?

–       Therapists/Counsellors

–       Teachers

–       Youth workers

–       Social workers

–       Psychologists

–       GTB students and graduates

–       Anyone interested in connection to country

Participant Outcomes

–       A greater awareness and embodied experience of the human/nature relationship.

–       An appreciation of how gestalt can facilitate an ecological perspective.

–       A deeper understanding of how to incorporate this ecological relationship into therapeutic practice.

–       An understanding of how therapists can by guided by Indigenous knowledges and practices in a reciprocal way, with permission.


This workshop will offer you experiential exercises that support embodied contact with the land. Held on Kombumerri and Minjunbal Country of the Yugumbeh language region in the Currumbin Valley hinterland, you will be guided to expand your awareness of how this embodied and phenomenal connection to the living world can support both human and ecological wellbeing. Together, we will explore how developing an I-thou dialogue and relationship to the land can support mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, alienation and loneliness and how to bring that stance into the therapy room.

We acknowledge that these concepts are not new and that Indigenous cultures worldwide have devoted significant attention to deepening human-nature relationships based on respect and reciprocity for over 65 000 years. At this workshop you will be joined by First Nations educator Ken Brown who will be translating the “voice of Country,” offering guidance on how we can strengthen our relationship with the land from an Indigenous perspective. Drawing on Indigenous knowledges and practices, Ken will support you to experience how the different ways of caring for and listening to Country can deepen your connection, which in turn deepens connection to life and a healthy future for all. This workshop aims to inform and orientate therapists towards a collective understanding of Indigenous protocols and permissions, which also guide how we make contact with Country and Country’s Caretakers.

Presented by

Michael Burgess


Rhiannon Flavel


Ken Brown

Indigenous Australian Educator

Sharon Gray

Gestalt Educator



Additional information


GTB Student, Public