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Skills in Gestalt Counselling & Psychotherapy

Skills in Gestalt Counselling & Psychotherapy

Third Edition

February 2014 | 320 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

This practical guide to the Gestalt approach has successfully introduced thousands of trainee therapists to the essential skills needed in Gestalt practice. Now in its third edition, the book includes:


·          New chapters on working with trauma, and building client resources

·          New material on depression and anxiety

·          Expanded content on working with more challenging client issues

·          Integration of leading ideas from contemporary trauma therapies.


The authors offer practical guidance on the entire process of therapy including setting up the therapeutic session, creating a working alliance, assessment and treatment direction, managing risk, supervision, adopting a research approach, and managing difficult encounters.

Preparing for the Journey
Phenomenology and Field Theory
The Therapeutic Relationship
Assessment and Diagnosis
Treatment Considerations
Strengthening Support
Contact Styles: Modifications to Contact and Polarities
Unfinished Business
Transference and Counter-Transference
Embodied Process
Ending the Journey
Assessing and Managing Risk
Resourcing the Client
Depression and Anxiety
Trauma Part 1: Assessing and Stabilizing
Trauma Part 2: Processing and Integrating
Brief Therapy
The Reflective Practitioner: Research in Gestalt
Diversity, Culture and Ethics
Spiritual Counselling

I am delighted to endorse this version of Skills in Gestalt Counselling and Psychotherapy. Having kept their original two versions close by for many years, both as a therapist and as a trainer, this new edition continues to confirm what I already believe about the authors’ rich and scholarly theoretical and practical response to the challenges and experience of Gestalt practise.

This new edition is (again) full of practical suggestions, experiential exercises and detailed, precise attention to the moment by moment, unfolding experience of being in therapeutic relationship. The authors provide a comprehensive review of current literature and research, and interweave this with sound recommendations for practise. The chapters on Trauma are timely, thorough, and extremely practical in their guidance on working with people who experience such devastation 

The whole tone of the writing is exemplary of the authors' commitment to relational gestalt practise, whilst acknowledging contributions from the wider field

I strongly recommend this book to students and experienced therapists alike.

George Bassett
Course leader of the Diploma in Gestalt Psychotherapy, Nottingham Psychotherapy Training Institute

This is a lovely book! It is not easy to write about skills in gestalt therapy without reducing our theory to a set of techniques. Joyce and Sills have found a way to offer skills while at the same time drawing the reader into a nuanced consideration of the complexity of any clinical moment. They also offer creative experiments in self-exploration that support the therapist to develop skill at attending to and working with their continual co-implication in the therapeutic process. Add to that a delightful writing style, and you have a book that would serve any teaching or training program quite well.


Lynne Jacobs, Ph.D.
Co-founder, Pacific Gestalt Institute, USA

The main adjective that comes to mind as I read this book is 'lucid'.  The authors claim that this book is practical, which it certainly is, but not theoretical.  I think they do themselves a disservice.  The principles and philosophy of Gestalt come flying off the page through their simple explanations and deft descriptions.  Gestalt, while it is grounded in Existential philosophy and phenomenological method, is primarily a way of being in the world, which is both beautifully simple but at the same time profoundly challenging.  They have provided us with a book which is both simple and profound, accessible and full of the wisdom which is best conveyed by stories.  It is down to earth and wise, practical and theoretical and in that sense is true to one of Gestalt's core principles of holism.  I recommend this book as core reading to any Gestalt practitioner.



Profesor Bill Critchley
Faculty of the Ashridge Masters in Executive Coaching

This is an essential read for all those wanting to learn about effective Gestalt practice.

Dr Lynda Osborne
former Head of Gestalt Department, Metanoia Institute

great resource for students to understand the principles of Gestalt therapy and how they can apply them in practice. Well structured with helpful ideas and suggestions on practice.

Mrs Imelda Hatton-Yeo
School of Public Health & Clinical Sci, University of Central Lancashire
March 1, 2016

Very useful, readable introduction to gestalt and its potential for supporting clients in their life decisions

Mr Peter Beven
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Northumbria University
July 6, 2015

This book helps trainee/qualified counsellors to have a more in-depth undertanding of Gestalt counselling skills and how to be effective with clients.

Mrs Susan Simpson
Scarborough Campus, Hull University
June 22, 2015

This is an excellent book, particularly for students studying specifically in this approach. it give good clear discriptions of the concepts, examples and is written in a way that is very reader friendly for students.

Ms Deana Friel
Health and Social Care , North West Regional College
March 20, 2015

This is a great teaching text - both staff and students have found it invaluable.

Ms Lesley Spencer
School Of Psychology Early Years Therape, University of South Wales (Newport)
March 10, 2015

A useful book for those students who wish to understand both theory and practice of Gestalt.

Dr Bonnie Meekums
School of Healthcare, Leeds University
March 2, 2015

- New material on other approaches and techniques that can be integrated into the Gestalt framework (sensory motor therapy; mindfulness; EMDR etc

- Two new chapters on trauma

- Expanded discussion of Managing Challenging Encounters and other evidence based techniques 

- Expanded discussion of shame

- New perspectives on treatment plans

- New perspectives on transference and counter-transference, include the authors’ own new model  

- The latest research

- Updated references

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter One: Preparing for the Journey

Phil Joyce

Phil Joyce works in West London as a trainer, supervisor, psychotherapist and consultant and has also worked in a variety of mental health settings since 1979. He has worked as an approved psychiatric social worker in London and has considerable experience of multidisciplinary teams and working with disturbed people. He is a primary tutor on the MSc course in Gestalt Psychotherapy at Metanoia Institute, London and a visiting tutor on the Integrative psychotherapy programme also at Metanoia Institute. He has given many presentations at International conferences over the last 15 years and is an active member of the Gestalt community. Phil’s... More About Author

Charlotte Sills

Charlotte Sills is a UKCP registered psychotherapist in private practice and a supervisor, trainer and consultant in a variety of settings. She has been working in the field of psychological therapies since 1979 and is a BACP senior accredited supervisor, a Teaching and Supervising Transactional Analyst and a Visiting Professor at Middlesex University. Until 2007 she was also part of the Leadership Team at Metanoia Institute where she remains a member of the faculty. Another interest is in the interface between therapy and coaching and she is a member of faculty of the Masters in Executive Coaching and Professor of Coaching at... More About Author