A reflection on a year long programme of Certificate in Gestalt Group Dynamics:
It has been a couple of months since I have attended the final module of the Certificate programme and a good time to review the learning journey.
Prior to joining the certificate, I have participated regularly in various group dynamics and professional practice in action workshops by David Lines & Associates and was starting to gain insight into Gestalt. My main learning objective at the beginning was to learn more on group dynamics and to deepen my understanding of Gestalt. Gestalt felt very familiar to my existing beliefs and in many ways seemingly aligned with my heart, but I was not able to understand Gestalt yet then, and thus set a vague aspiration of wanting to be more comfortable in groups as part of my objective for learning Gestalt Group Dynamics.
A key principle of Gestalt quote by Kurt Koffka is that the whole is other than the sum of the parts, and this could not be more true in my learning journey. This journey have brought along transformation that go beyond myself and into my wider system. Coincidence? Perhaps. But by observing things that have happened and joining the dots, I will choose to believe that the ripples have been sent across from many decisions made as an outcome of increase in awareness, support and challenges by peers, mentorship given by the principal facilitator, David Lines and the embracing of a new belief system, Gestalt. At this moment of writing, I am still in the midst of allowing emergence from this fertile void and could not possibly share the breadth of the shift I am experiencing, except be grateful in awe of these possibilities and be thankful to be able to hold the space while it happen.
An important component of the Certificate that have grown very dear to me is the group. Perhaps as the law of proximity which states that objects perceived close to each other as forming of a group; diverse individuals whom are seemingly seeking answers in life at the moment, came together in this year long inaugural certificate programme. The universe have a reason for this connection, and it is in Gestalt fashion to honour this as supported by the principle of totality where the conscious experience must be considered globally because the nature of the mind demands that each component be considered as part of a system of dynamic relationships. Only when looking in hindsight, could I make sense of the relationships, how the encounters with the group over the year long programme have provided real life group dynamic experiences, help raised symbolism of past experiences and unfinished business, provided high challenges with high support, all while honouring and embracing the learning of Gestalt and it’s principles.
David has designed a seemingly structured certificate that magically lured the participants to a void space for deep conversations and reflections. The space he held for the group had always felt safe for exploring into our inner self. Holding the group together, David with the group had on more than one occasion made me feel safe and courageous to surface my other selves whom I have suppressed and ignored over many years. In these endeavours, David had always made me felt that he is right next to me while making me do the work. It is not easy, difficult, and painful, and I do sometimes wish that he could just do the work for me and close the loop for me. But he never slip, and that never happened. Despite the confusion and frustration which he coined as the verge of learning (which is true), I have always felt his emotional investment with group and myself, and I know this could never be the case had him not be passionate about the personal development of every single participant. In one of the group session, we joked that David has some magic fairy dust which he will sprinkle and trigger something to surface from the group dynamic which provide learning and reflection for our work. Why the magic fairy dust? It is because David’s facilitation happens on multiple layers and we often not seen the subtle shift he has done by going along with the ebb and flow of the group.
A well designed certificate, a fateful group and a dose of David’s magical fairy dust have brought forth a new beginning, or perhaps a newer beginning in my journey of self awareness. Self awareness is not an objective, but a journey as we are constantly in battle with our shadows. The journey of a Gestaltist as I am becoming one is to allow the surfacing our shadows, embracing them and become more whole as ourselves. The benefits of such learning is that I could better focus on my present experience and not let the shadows of the past or fear of the future take me away from the here and now. Going back to my initial learning objective of wanting to be more present in group, the certificate has given me far more, as I have gained an self awareness to help me be more present in my life at each existing moment. I might not be able to stay in the here and now all the time, but I do have the tools and languages to help me work through it, and of course which my fellow comrades in Gestalt I have gained through the Certificate, and a mentor who can sprinkle magic fairy dust.