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14 November 2024, 4pm (AEDT) - 17 November 2024, 3pm (AEDT)

St Josephs Spirituality & Education Centre

8 Humphreys Rd, Kincumber South NSW 2251, Australia

About our Gestalt Retreat

During the three-day gestalt retreat, participants will engage in comprehensive learning experiences, including the exploration of voice dialogue techniques, experimenting with various therapeutic approaches, and utilizing metaphors to deepen client understanding.

The retreat will also include an integrated field theory approach, emphasizing the interconnectedness of personal experiences and environmental factors, fostering a holistic approach to therapy, enhancing participants' skills in facilitating transformative and impactful client sessions. 

As part of the retreat it is our intention for the participants to gain new skills and experience a number of Gestalt techniques that they can incorporate into their own life as well as their client work. There will also be opportunities for group process and fishbowl work where the participants can explore their own dynamics, behaviours and patterns. 

The clinical teaching component of the Gestalt retreat will include therapeutic techniques and methods of working with clients in therapy sessions will be as follows:

The use of experiments in the counselling session:

This session will offer retreat participants insights into how they can allow their client to have an embodied experience rather than talking about what has happened to them. Experiments in Gestalt are designed so the client can develop self awareness of body language, voice tone, behavioral patterns and movement. This will be facilitated with the use of:

  • Role play

  • Enactment

  • Experiential exercises/activity that promotes awareness and change.

  • Ways to introduce Empty Chair work with your client, including facilitating role play and dialogue with the client’s parts of self or directing dialogue to another person.

Throughout this teaching component, there will be a demonstration and then working in pairs with one person as the therapist and the other as the client, where each person has an opportunity to introduce an experiment with their client.

The use of metaphor and imagery when working with clients:

In this session, the participants will learn about paying attention to themes and metaphors in the session, which can help the client gain access to a deeper and more embodied level of their experience. We will explore how metaphors are very common in everyday language and once you become attuned to listening out for them, then there is an opportunity for further connection and exploration.

Hence, in this teaching component, the participants will not only learn about the benefits, but they will gain practical skills on ways to introduce metaphors in the counselling session.

The teaching component will offer:

  • Examples of different metaphors

  • How to introduce them

  • How to pick up on themes with the client

  • Ways to reflect back to the client

  • Bringing in curiosity with the client session

  • Introducing guided imagery and projection techniques in the session.

Participants will have opportunities to practice with a partner using metaphors and imagery.

Working with the shadow - an introduction to parts theory:

In this teaching and experiential component of the retreat, participants will have an opportunity to explore the concept of working with parts of the psyche that clients may keep hidden away, such as anger, fear, resentment etc. These hidden or unacknowledged parts are often known as ‘shadow parts’ or the ‘shadow self’, which describes things that people repress or do not acknowledge.

This session will support the participant to gain a better understanding of themselves and their own shadow parts, hence having the capacity to integrate and own any projections. This self awareness will then allow the therapist to hold space and introduce this healing modality with their clients.

This teaching component will offer:

  • Experiential exercises on ways to assimilate the shadow and the persona so that a participant can learn how to manage impulses they usually ignore, such as anger and/or more positive disowned parts such as assertiveness or confidence

  • Ways to work with projections with your clients. Participants will work reflectively completing ‘Byron Katie’ worksheets on owning projections and addressing prejudices and judgments

  • Gain integration and acceptance of themselves

  • Understanding the challenges their clients many face with their shadow selves

  • When to introduce shadow work, pace and going slowly

  • Trauma informed - being mindful that shadow work can be difficult and upsetting

  • Practicing self-care and compassion when unexpected thoughts or feelings come up

  • Approaching the shadow self with a spirit of curiosity and acceptance

Participants will have opportunities to self reflect, share in small groups and practice with a partner using parts, projections and shadow work.

Field theory and the use of figure and ground in therapy session,
plus group dynamics

Weaved throughout the retreat will be the concept of working with the energetic field and the patterns between the individual participants and the group dynamics as a whole.

The theory component of the teachings will focus on:

  • The constant dynamic and changing field and how your individual energy can impact upon the client session.

  • How to use a phenomenological method of enquiry with your clients by remaining as close to the client’s experience as possible.

  • Exploring the concepts of ‘bracketing’ (holding and putting aside judgments), description (simply describing what you are witnessing in the now) and Horizontialism (all aspects of the behavior, expression, appearance are equally important).

  • Working with curiosity, whilst keeping the client in the here and now.

  • Working with the co constructed field and the relationship between the client and therapist.

  • Attending to what is figural for the client at the present moment but also attend to what is in the ground (background) of the client’s experience

  • Zones of awareness – inner, middle and outer zones


Participants will have opportunities to debrief group process dynamics and to practice with a partner using phenomenological enquiry and a field theory approach.


I knew I needed help. I didn't know whether I was grieving or grudging but I knew I was struggling. So I followed what was left of my instincts and took a step to see Tamika. Within 24 hours of reaching out, Tamika had phoned me, an appointment had been made and I knew someone was willing to help me.
One session with Tamika and I knew I wanted to see her again. She has a calm, composed and attentive presence that devotes itself to your story. Tamika does not rush you to tell your story but allows the conversation to follow its own course. You will find yourself later, reflecting on the wisdom that she shares as you talk. These gems sustain you because you recognise that they come from a place of deep awareness and understanding and that they apply to YOU.
I have seen Tamika several times and I have experienced an amazing shift in my belief about myself. I can hardly believe that it is me saying feel empowered, focused and willing to face the future. It is a feeling that has a permanence about it because Tamika helps you realise the truth about yourself and your life in a way that makes you want to face it, embrace It and love it
Thank you Tamika.

Judy, Sydney

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