Gestalt coaching or Gestalt therapy?

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AoEC Conference 2009 Presentation overview.
Marion Gillie & Marjorie Shackleton.

The presentation covers ethical and professional considerations when working with clients' emotional material in the course of executive coaching. It considers when coaching becomes therapy, and what the implications are for the coach. References are included, together with a link to a longer paper on the subject.

Published in: Business, Technology

Gestalt coaching or Gestalt therapy?

  1. 1. Gestalt Coaching or Gestalt Therapy? Gestalt Coaching or Gestalt Therapy? Ethical and Professional Considerations Ethical and Professional Considerations on Entering theon EnteringWorld of the Client Emotional the Emotional World of the Client Marion Gillie & Marjorie Shackleton Marion Gillie & Marjorie Shackleton
  2. 2. Outline of a presentation at the Academy of Executive Coaching Conference September 2009, London Gestalt Coaching or Gestalt Therapy? Marion Gillie & Marjorie Shackleton. AoEC conference presentation, September 2009
  3. 3. Our Gestalt approach to engaging with the Emotional World Aim is to raise awareness of what really matters and to mobilise energy for the appropriate actions to meet real needs, by…  Working with client's immediate experience in the here and now  Sharing your own observations, reactions, images  Suggesting experiments that raise awareness or mobilising energy for action The human body is the gateway to the client's affect, so Gestalt is more likely to evoke emotional responses than some other approaches Gestalt Coaching or Gestalt Therapy? Marion Gillie & Marjorie Shackleton. AoEC conference presentation, September 2009
  4. 4. When does coaching become therapy?  When the client thinks it's therapy?  When we move from working on current relationships to working on past relationships?  When your intent is to 'cure' the past: resolve the unfinished?  When we work with anyone who is not healthy and wishes to grow (e.g. the worried well, the neurotic, the psychotic?)  When the presenting issue is personal and/or emotional? Gestalt Coaching or Gestalt Therapy? Marion Gillie & Marjorie Shackleton. AoEC conference presentation, September 2009
  5. 5. Questions  Certain kinds of coaching require a level of psychological competence, without necessarily requiring coaches to become psychologists or psychotherapists. (Bluckert; Lee; Milan & West; Gillie & Shackleton). Do you agree?  Is there a place for therapy within coaching?  What questions arise in the course of your conversation? Gestalt Coaching or Gestalt Therapy? Marion Gillie & Marjorie Shackleton. AoEC conference presentation, September 2009
  6. 6. Conversation groups a) In your coaching work, when would it be appropriate to explore childhood influences? How do you do this? Can you articulate your rationale for doing so? b) Does working with strong emotions equal therapy? Your client arrives furious about something that's happened/breaks down in tears… what do you do?/not do? What do you attend to and why? Where do you draw the line in terms of your own expertise in your ability to work with emotional material? c) In terms of personal issues, what would you work on/not work on with a client? What do you currently contract for upfront in terms of the potential for coaching to touch on personal/emotional areas? d) When would you decide to suggest therapy to someone and not take them on as a coachee? When would you offer a referral as well as taking them on as a coachee? Do you know what resources are available to offer a client further support (inside, beyond their organisation)? And if you do make a recommendation but they don't take you up on it… what do you do? Gestalt Coaching or Gestalt Therapy? Marion Gillie & Marjorie Shackleton. AoEC conference presentation, September 2009
  7. 7. Fact… …internalised messages from childhood (fixed Gestalts) do impact adult effectiveness at work. However, a critical question to ask is: Who is the work in service of? Therapist: "the client sitting in front of me" Executive Coach: "the client sitting in front of me, their organisation and the relationship between the two" Gestalt Coaching or Gestalt Therapy? Marion Gillie & Marjorie Shackleton. AoEC conference presentation, September 2009
  8. 8. Our conclusion… …helping a client to make the links between past and present and breaking the 'hold' the past may have is part of our work And, therefore, our responsibility is… …to do this ethically and professionally, fully contracted, within our expertise and fully grounded in the client's present Gestalt Coaching or Gestalt Therapy? Marion Gillie & Marjorie Shackleton. AoEC conference presentation, September 2009
  9. 9. The Gestalt approach to engaging with the Emotional World "The Gestalt coaching encounter offers a safe arena where vulnerability, strong emotions, and failure can play themselves out in the service of learning and growth" (Siminovich & Van Eron, 2006) Gestalt Coaching or Gestalt Therapy? Marion Gillie & Marjorie Shackleton. AoEC conference presentation, September 2009
  10. 10. Overall conclusions  Internalised messages from childhood do impact adult effectiveness, making links is part of our work  Some approaches intentionally focus on affect, so be clear and grounded in your practice  Know why you do what you do  Contract for the work at all levels and at all stages  Know how to re-ground a client in the present  Know your limitations and have good supervision Gestalt Coaching or Gestalt Therapy? Marion Gillie & Marjorie Shackleton. AoEC conference presentation, September 2009
  11. 11. References Bluckert, P. (2006) Psychological Dimensions of Executive Coaching. London: Open University Press, McGraw-Hill. Gillie, M. & Shackleton, M. (in press) Gestalt Coaching or Gestalt Therapy? Ethical and Professional Considerations on Entering the Emotional World of the Coaching Client. (a copy of this paper is available for download at http://www.thegilliepartnership.co.uk/Gestalt-coaching-or-Gestalt-Therapy.pdf ) Lee, G. (2003) Leadership Coaching: From Personal Insight to Organisational Performance. London: CIPD. Milan, M. & West, L. (2001) The Reflecting Glass. Hampshire: Palgrave. Siminovich, D. & Van Eron, A.M. (2006) The Pragmatics of Magic: The Work of Gestalt Coaching. OD Practicioner, Vol 37:4. Gestalt Coaching or Gestalt Therapy? Marion Gillie & Marjorie Shackleton. AoEC conference presentation, September 2009
  12. 12. Presenter biographies Marion Gillie has a background in organisation development, works internationally as a coach and organisational consultant, and is based in the UK. She is a Chartered Occupational Psychologist and Gestalt Psychotherapist, with Masters degrees in Organisational Psychology and Gestalt Psychotherapy. She is Programme Director of the Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Executive Coaching and the Master Practitioner Programme at the Academy of Executive Coaching in the UK, and she is a coach supervisor for programmes at Oxford Brookes University Business School. Marion is also a 'Next Generation' Faculty member of the Gestalt International Study Center in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Marjorie Shackleton has a Masters degree in Social Work from the University of Kansas. She spent the first part of her career as a clinical social worker and systemic family therapist in the U.S. before returning to the UK where she trained and practised as a Gestalt Psychotherapist before taking advanced coach training. She now works as an executive coach and coach supervisor. She is a senior Faculty member of The Academy of Executive Coaching and core faculty for Certificate Programmes in Gestalt Coaching Skills and the Psychology of Coaching. She also teaches on the MSc in Executive Coaching at the University of Portsmouth Business School. Gestalt Coaching or Gestalt Therapy? Marion Gillie & Marjorie Shackleton. AoEC conference presentation, September 2009
  13. 13. Contact details Marion Gillie Marjorie Shackleton marion.gillie@TheGilliePartnership.co.uk Marjorie@ms-coaching.com www.TheGilliePartnership.co.uk Gestalt Coaching or Gestalt Therapy? Marion Gillie & Marjorie Shackleton. AoEC conference presentation, September 2009

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