Gestalt Psychotherapy, Counselling, Supervision and Couples Work Cardiff, Penarth & Online

Sunday Seminar: Changing Stories, Narrative Approaches to Psychotherapy and Counselling

For psychotherapists, counsellors and coaches

Date: 13th October 2019
Venue: W2 Canton
Gather from 9.45 with coffee and croissants. Workshop starts promptly at 10.30 and ends at 1pm.
Cost £20
For more information and to secure your place, contact Miriam on 07967 353 373.

Training and Supervision. Story

Workshop Description

Humans have been tellers of tales since our long-ago ancestors gathered around the fire at nightfall. Their voices, and the echoes of all the other storytellers, come through to us in the company of Homer, Shakespeare and J.K. Rowling. Whether spoken or written down, stories preoccupy the human animal. Unsurprising, because, as the phenomenologists understood so well, the making of meaning is what defines humankind.

As psychotherapists, counsellors, coaches and facilitators, stories are the currency of our profession. We hear the stories our clients bring and, with attention, resonance and understanding, create with them a new story that can lead them (and us) along a path towards a more fulfilling destiny.

Since Freud turned to the house of Thebes to identify what he called the Oedipus complex, therapeutic theory and practice has involved paying attention to story. We will explore these traditions, as well as, maybe, creating some of our own.

1. The place of imagination in the psyche: myth, archetype and folktale as the language of what lies just beneath the surface of awareness.
2. Script Theory from Transactional Analysis. What was your favourite fairy story as a child? What does this reveal about you, and how has it directed the unfolding of your life?
3. The structure of story: protagonist and antagonist, the ‘inciting incident’ that sparks the beginning of a story, the succeeding conflict and resolution.
4. Creativity and Expression.
5. Six Stage Storytelling, an approach to healing.
6. How all this can be applied in work with clients.

As usual in the seminars, the emphasis will be on connection, creativity and collegial sharing of expertise.

Gerrie Hughes MA is a UKCP reg. Gestalt psychotherapist and supervisor and author of ‘Competence and Self-care in Counselling and Psychotherapy’ (Routledge, 2014) as well as other articles for professional journals.

A beginning story from Gerrie:
Long ago, when the world was younger than it is now, and certainly before the days of social media, I was invited to try out as a storyteller at St Fagan’s Museum of Welsh Life. It was a winter lunchtime and visitors were sparse, although we did manage to find an older couple and a teenage boy who were willing to sit in one of the cottages, where there was a fire, and listen to my offering. I remember telling a traditional tale of a Changeling, the mayhem that happens when the fairy folk substitute one of their own for a human baby, taking the human child back under the hill with them. While it has been a long road between Changeling stories at the museum, and ‘Changing Stories’ at a Sunday Seminar, the reverberation remains present and poignant. How many of us carry being ‘off with the fairies’ in our imagination? J.M. Barrie understood the importance of this connection when he asked the audience of Peter Pan to ‘Clap if you believe in fairies’. In our chaotic times, it is comforting to believe in something that increases our connection with the world around us, both seen and unseen. By the way, I did happen to be offered the work as a storyteller at Saint Fagan’s after that try-out

Sunday Seminar: Theories of the Self

For psychotherapists, counsellors and coaches

Date: 2nd June 2019
Venue: W2 Canton
Gather from 9.45 with coffee and croissants. Workshop starts promptly at 10.30 and ends at 1pm.
Cost £20
For more information and to secure your place, contact Miriam on 07967 353 373.

Training and Supervision. Leonardo

Workshop Description

Whatever the theoretical orientation underlying your practice is, there will be For psychotherapists, counsellors and
For more information and to secure your place, contact Miriam on 07967 353 373.
about what it means to be or to have a self. Most are likely to be explicit, but some not so clear. In this workshop, we will explore the theories of the self that inform our practice, highlighting some well known ones:
Freud’s Id, Ego, Superego
Transactional Analysis Parent, Adult Child
Jungian typologies: extravert/introvert, thinking/feeling, intuiting/sensing, judging/perceiving
Psychosynthesis ‘egg diagram’
Gestalt theories of self being created at the ‘contact boundary’

The assumptions we hold influence how we are, and how we work with our clients. Some of us are finding that many people, particularly those who are young, are concerned about issues of identity: gender, sexuality, nationality, religion etc. How much of Being is open to choice, and how much is constrained by physical limitations, and what can be supported in the environment? Understanding there are no absolute right answers, it is probably important that those who work therapeutically or facilitatively with others have at least considered the possible implications for themselves, their clients and society in general in order to explore the issues effectively.

Sunday Seminar: Incorporating Gestalt

Embodied, Relational Approaches to Client Work

For psychotherapists, counsellors and coaches

Date: 3rd February 2019
Venue: W2 Canton
Gather from 9.45 with coffee and croissants. Workshop starts promptly at 10.30 and ends at 1pm.
Cost £20
For more information and to secure your place, contact Miriam on 07967 353 373.

Training and Supervision. Feet

Workshop Description

Gestalt is identified as an embodied, relational approach to learning and change because the concept of self it assumes is that of a dynamic, mutual exchange between a human organism and the environment in which it finds itself. In other words, each seemingly individual being is constantly impacting on, and being impacted by the whole. At its simplest, when humans breathe, we participate in an exchange of gasses that is essential for our own wellbeing and that of our world. If that exchange were no longer to happen, the only consequence is death, for us as individuals certainly and most likely for our planet as we know it too. We notice the proliferation of digital networks, yet tend to lose sight of the profound physical and energetic connection manifest in our bodies. In this workshop, we will focus on what this connection and mutuality means for one-to-one work with clients. Yet, inevitably, the energetic reverberations spread further than the practice, into families and society during our day-to-day work, and to the group as a whole in the context of our workshop.

Gestalt is an approach that values activity, so we will undertake experiments. Most people have heard of the ‘empty chair’ experiment, and we will use the wisdom collected by practitioners over the decades since Gestalt was conceived in the mid 20th century (and the millennia in which humans have been conscious of our selves in our world) to embody the experience we create. For completeness, we will recognise phenomenology, field theory and Buber’s dialogue as the theoretical ground that sustains us.

Training and Supervision. Turin

‘Only Connect’ Gerrie at Turin conference May 2019

‘It helps us to explore the connection to ‘other’ if we do it at an inter-personal level. It is here that, as professionals, our main concerns are often to be found. Yet the non-human is also present and is part of our networks of connection. Our ancestors lived in a world in which rocks and rivers were alive, frogs and starlings could talk and a guiding spirit was intimately concerned with all beings. We still live in that world, but we have lost awareness of it. We suffer for the burning of the rainforests, yet we deflect this pain and turn it into grandiosity, loneliness or depression.’

Visit Gestalt School of Turin

Sunday Seminar 2: Appetite

Training and Supervision. Food

Date: 4th November 2018
Venue: A Room for Psychotherapy W2, Central Cardiff.
Time: 9.45 for 10.30 start. Ends1 pm.
Cost: £20

To book your place please contact Miriam Handren on 07967 353 373.

Sunday Seminars are an opportunity for practitioners to access local, reasonably-priced CPD while connecting with a circle of like-minded professionals.

‘The whole thing was relaxed, so different to other training days.’
Jaki Hose, psychotherapist and supervisor.

A round-table for psychotherapists, counsellors and coaches.

Facilitator: Gerrie Hughes

Appetite is what guides us to make food choices that give pleasure and nourishment to our bodies. Yet there are other ‘appetites’ that bring delight and satisfaction to our souls and psyches.

As guides for others’ explorations, how can we as therapists and coaches support our clients to identify and partake of experiences that satisfy those other appetites, which are likely to include belonging and recognition, the need to create and a desire to connect with the numinous?

Few things reveal more about a person than what and how they eat, and with whom. Food production and consumption influences governments, financial institutions and, particularly crucially, the environment. So we will use food as a metaphor that will help us explore how to follow the trail of breadcrumbs that will enable us to support our clients to move towards what is truly satisfying, while also understanding the contextual impact.

We will begin to gather at 9.45 for coffee and croissants, creating an opportunity to catch up with existing colleagues and get to know new ones. People come from a whole range of different backgrounds, the atmosphere is welcoming and it’s fine to come on your own.

The seminar will begin at 10.30 and end at 1pm. Light food ‘tasters’ will be served at relevant points during the morning.

Using the physical senses as indicators of all forms of appetite.
When there is plenty for some, and lack for others, how can we decide what is really satisfying? Social implications.
Understanding how food can develop sensitivity to difference and diver


Date: 2nd September 2018

Venue: W2, Wellington Street, Canton, Cardiff

Time: Croissants and coffee from 9.45, Starts 10.30. Ends 1pm.

The event is being hosted by Miriam Handren, who is launching her

Room for Psychotherapy at that time.

All are welcome, but pre-booking is essential. For more information and to secure your place, contact Miriam on 07967 353 373.

Training and Supervision. W2 NEON

About the Workshop

Goal Setting?

Clients usually arrive with results they would like to achieve, even if it’s only to ‘feel better’. Then the work becomes a negotiation between what is desirable and what is possible. Some therapeutic approaches favour structured goal-setting, others are content with waiting to discover what happens as the work evolves. In practice, it is probably necessary to pay attention to both, depending on the particular circumstances and context.

The workshop will provide an environment in which we can explore our personal preferences as practitioners, and visit the biases and constraints that our chosen theoretical basis imposes. All orientations are welcome and the content will reflect an integrative relational approach with particular reference to phenomenology, philosophy and gestalt. The style of facilitation will be experiential and creative.

If you are interested in predicting outcomes, then possibilities might include:

Strategies for achieving goals more effectively (for clients and your self)

Deeper awareness around working with what emerges in the moment

Understanding the relationship between personal intention and what can and cannot be supported by factors in the environment

Increased transparency with clients

Otherwise you might just enjoy being with a group of like-minded people in an inspirational environment and discovering what happens…


Pschotherapists and Counsellors
I offer clinical supervision to psychotherapists and counsellors. I have experience with supervising practitioners in G.P. Surgeries, Student Counselling Services and Private Practice. My style is to provide solid and creative support, so that the therapist can offer the same to their clients. I have trained in using Hellinger’s Systemic Constellations and may involve that approach as a way of increasing the effectiveness of supervision, where it is appropriate.

Non-Managerial Supervision
In addition, I have experience of non-managerial supervision with groups and individuals working in challenging environments, for example, Women’s Aid. I have facilitated organisations with a non-hierarchical structure, to help them work together more effectively.

Supervision for Coaches
Increasingly being seen as necessary for quality control and coach personal well-being and professional development.

I am particularly interested in supervision on supervision (consultation).

My Approach to Supervision (and Consultation)

How can practitioners be resourced to work effectively and ethically with their clients? I believe the supervisory relationship is a significant factor. I think it is important to create an environment where people feel safe to be themselves, in both their resourcefulness and their vulnerability. In my experience this is best achieved by deep understanding of the complexity of the situations in which practitioners work, and a willingness to know them as unique human beings.

My psychotherapy training is in Gestalt and I bring its underlying principles and practice to the supervision and consultation process. Gestalt is profoundly relational and embedded in context. It acknowledges the fundamental importance of the field in our experience of being and connecting. Each of us has an individual field that is unique to us, although there is commonality with those of other human and non-human beings. Our family background, life experience and current state make our take on the world and our way of relating to it unique, while having to share a planet, the need for air, water and nourishment etc. are universal. Gestalt values the meeting of two (or more) individuals in the unique context in which it takes place, and considers it be the fundamental context for learning, growth and change.

Setting up in Private Practice

For practitioners of any discipline setting up in private practice can require a whole new set of skills. In addition to a high level of competence in the service we offer, we also need to develop entrepreneurial and business skills so that we can run our new business in a successful, safe and legal way. Most of all, perhaps, we need to feel solid and confident that we are offering something that is of real value to our clients. I can help you to:

Publicise your practice effectively so that you can attract the clients you want.

Set up in a way that is safe and secure for both yourself and your clients.

Keep accounts and deal with the Inland Revenue

Surround yourself with support and find your way to success!

Training and Supervision. Library Image: Baby 1


The word epiphany is often used in literature when a character comes to a new realisation that leads to a change of heart, freeing them to act differently in a particular situation. Traditionally, Christians have used the name epiphany for the visit of three wise men to the child in the stable at Bethlehem. Celebrated on January 6th, it marks the end of the Christmas period. The wise men have been so long in coming because they had a huge and difficult journey to undertake. Guided by a star, and encouraged by one another, they carried gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh towards a yearned-for destination. Did they know what they would find at their journey's end? Or even if their arduous journey would actually lead anywhere? They had faith in their chosen marker, that bright, unfamiliar star and they trusted that their gifts would be adequate when the moment arrived. Maybe we could take comfort from them on the difficult journeys each of us has to take to arrive at an end place that has meaning and significance - a new way of being in the world.

Posted 29th December 2013

Training and Supervision. waterlily


The characters in Jane Austen were always concerned with their connexions, their extended family and contacts. Knowing the right people seems to have been important for success from the earliest times. Traditionally, children from prominent families would meet at school, then the circle would be widened at university. David Cameron's cabinet choices are a present day example of how this works. I've been researching how to improve my web presence, which has meant that I have set up some new pages on Facebook, and plan to be involved with Twitter. It seems strange to ask people to 'Like' what I include, even though I'm assured it's what they expect (and I dutifully 'Like' things when others invite me to). Social media is demanding a new approach to connecting with others. This very piece of writing is an example. You are reading my words, yet we may never have met and possibly never will. Or maybe you are someone I know well. I guess the 'Like' button gives you an opportunity to let me know that you are out there, and we have made this small connection. So, if you want it, here's a chance to respond to me now.

Posted 18th September 2013.

Training and Supervision. sunflower

The Living is Easy

It's summer. My book is with the publisher and I've been in France on holiday.You may have noticed that I'm using the time when I'm less busy to update my website. More changes coming soon.

Posted 19th August 2013

Training and Supervision. Library Image: Leaf and Water

Where did that time go?

The buds have finally dared to emerge after a few days mild weather. I am still writing, and still working too. Deadline soon, so it will be just a few days more until I can blink at the sky and start make new plans.

Posted 19th April 2013

Training and Supervision. Library Image: Cyclist

The Power of Regular Practice

In this I have clearly fallen short. My resolution to write something new each week on my blog page seems to have been swept away by all the bad weather. Happily, it is never too late to start again, so this is what I am doing. Part of the reason for my being distracted from the blog is that I am writing a book. The deadline is the end of April and I'm feeling a huge pressure of time. The only way I can deal with it is by making sure I write, at least a little, every day. Sometimes that doesn't happen because of work commitments and, to be fair, time off just to enjoy myself, but I notice that if I lose the discipline of regularity it is hard to pick it up again. Writing gurus like Julia Cameron (Author of 'The Artist's Way', a guidebook for reclaiming creativity) recommend that just deciding to set aside time do something: writing a book or a blog, learning meditation or a musical instrument, or a new language, and keeping to the commitment, whether 'in the mood' or not, is a powerful practice. WIll I be able to keep making regular entries to this blog? We'll find out next week...

Posted 30th January 2013

Training and Supervision. Library Image: Purple Flowers


After weeks of rain at the beginning of the summer, a person I met in a shop remarked that the weather was so bad you just had to laugh! I firmly agreed and we smiled together at the uncontrollability of torrential downpours. Maybe life events are a bit like weather. Sometimes it can feel like so much is going wrong the only thing to do is have a laugh about it. Rudyard Kpling's poem 'If' talks about meeting 'triumph and disaster and treat(ing) those two imposters just the same'. Perhaps this is what he meant! The passage of time brings calmness and perspective about any situation. We never know in which new direction a setback will take us. In any case, there is something about acclamation that can feel more hollow than disparagement. A former teacher of mine used to say, 'You either win or you learn.' And I suppose either of those is a gift.

Posted 24th July 2012

Old is Us

I recently heard a radio programme that referred to an entity known as 'The Elderly'. Of course, the discussion concerned people over a certain age. The presenters talked about that group as if they were something separate, remote and foreign. In fact, all of us will become 'elderly' at some time and, when we do, we probably won't feel much different from the way we do now. 'Elderly' is actually something to be desired - the alternative, after all is death.

There could be a temptation to separate people into recognisable life stages: we begin as children, become people and then progress into 'elderly'. I remember that, as a child, I resented very much being categorised that way. I imagine that I will feel similarly when people describe me as 'elderly'. One big difference is that children don't have an understanding of being grown-up or old; mature people know only too well what it means to be a child and an adult because they have experienced it.

Is 'elderly' something we recognise in ourselves, or is it something that others press upon us? At what point might that start to happen? The answers to those questions seem to be changing with the times.

The danger of creating a category called 'elderly' is that they/we become less than human. The results are the lack of care demonstrated in some contexts where vulnerable people could feel entitled to have their needs met, and a situation where a section of society becomes alienated, their/our voices not heard.

It seems important to stop going further down that road, not least because (hopefully) we will all arrive at that certain age someday, and would like to find it a comfortable place to be. Perhaps caring about the language we use may make a contribution. I would like to abolish the word 'elderly' and recommend caution about the word 'old'. Perhaps we could refer to 'older people' or 'retired people', and be aware of how very soon 'they' will become 'us'.

Posted 19th June 2012

Training and Supervision. Library Image: Path to oak Tree

The Possibilities of Reparation

Sometimes we find ourselves in a position where we have to take a decision and, whatever we choose, someone will be left feeling hurt or ill-used. This happens often in families, in workplaces and among friendship groups. Occasionally we have to take large, life-changing decisions that result in others being deeply hurt. The consequence can be a feeling of guilt that is hard to shift. Ancient religions recognise that human beings need to make reparation for the hurtful things we do. We may be able to make reparation to the actual person we've hurt. More often, there is no opportunity for that. In those circumstances we may choose to offer some service to other people as a way of making restitution. This could involve volunteering to help directly, or taking part in fundraising activities. It may also involve 'random acts of kindness' that we can indulge in as we carry on with our lives.

Posted 8th May 2012

Training and Supervision. Library Image: Doorway of Hope

Inspiration v Dedication

Inspiration feels like excitement and an impulse that carries me forward into action. It feels easy. WIthout inspiration there has to be dedication and hard work. It feels like an effort. Obviously, I prefer the lift of excitement brought by inspiration. But sometimes the discipline of just doing it anyway (whatever it is) takes me somewhere different. It is as though the tension of the clash with my resistance enables something fresh to occur. Of course, often there is just the slog...

Posted 15th May 2012

Training and Supervision. Library Image: Footsteps in Sand

Want? or Need...

How do we know whether we want something or need it? Is there a difference? One way of understanding what this might mean for you is to remember when you achieved or acquired something that felt very important, but afterwards left you feeling strangely flat and unsatisfied.

Various aspects of ourselves prompt us to think, feel and act in different ways. It is almost like having a crowd inside clamouring for attention. Some of the aspects are expressions of our authentic selves, others might be identities (or masks) that we have adopted in order to deal with difficult situation, or to fit other people's expectations of us. When we find ourselves chasing things we believe others think we should want, we might find that there is little pleasure in the achievement of them.

Sometimes it is worth taking a moment to ponder over which part of ourselves a particular desire would satisfy. Whether it is something we want because we have been 'programmed' to want it, or whether it is a need that will fulfil our deepest authentic selves.

Posted 1st May 2012

Training and Supervision. Library Image: New Growth Leaf

Creative Choices

As both a writer and a psychotherapist, I have been fascinated to find just how much art and life resemble one another. The classic progression of any story involves the ‘hero’, or protagonist facing challenges, and either overcoming them or being overwhelmed by them. The Harry Potter series demonstrates this clearly, but if you look at any book, film or television programme you will see a similar pattern, although it may not seem so obvious.

How misguided of us then, to imagine that life will be free of any challenges or obstacles. It seldom is, and any calm times that we may experience are usually very temporary. Just like the hero in a story, we encounter testing situations that put pressure on us to grow in order to be able to overcome them. For example, many people are being affected by the recession. Do we batten down the hatches and feel afraid? Or do we use the skill and strength we have to meet our challenges, and learn what we can from entering into the adventure?

The way we respond to difficult situations can tell us a lot about the person we are, and who we want to become. Literature and drama are daily sources of guidance that help us make choices about the unfolding of the ‘stories’ that create our own experience of living.

Posted 25th April 2012

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