European Association for Gestalt Therapy


Mission, vision and plan of activities HR&SR Committee EAGT.


With the installation of the Human Rights and Social Responsibility Committee at the EAGT Conference in Prague 2003 we continued the footsteps of our founders. In their opinion Gestalt therapy was not only psychotherapy but also a way of taken responsibility in our society.
In recent decades the psychological concept of Gestalt therapy has dominated. In today’s fragmented world manifests the need to restore human connections among people, communities, organisations and worldwide among nations.
Gestalt therapists are faced with individual suffering of people. Individual suffering is also an expression of suffering of the world and pathology of the world.
A consequence of our field theory, the on-going exchange organism-environment is that we also have a job to do on social, ecological, cultural and political level.


The mission of the HR&SR Committee in general is to contribute to the improvement of mental health, quality of life and psychological growth and specific for vulnerable societies, groups and communities to strengthen their capacities for the adjustment to the rapidly changing society.
Our focus is to strengthen self-organization and self-responsibility of societies and to empower them with necessary skills.


The HR&SR Committee wants to contribute to the European Society and other places where EAGT is active, where human rights are curtailed and (vulnerable) groups need support in the restoration of human connections.


The HR&SR Committee aims to establish and promote good practice in work with (vulnerable) groups, to advocate in front of stakeholders and decision makers. The Committee plans actions in direct work with (vulnerable) groups or indirect through training, supervision and (team) coaching people working with them.
The committee also started actions to influence Training Institutes to include social, political and cultural items in their programs by a list of goals we worked on together with the Training Standards Committee of EAGT.


Action plan.
For the coming years (2014-2015) our Committee is committed to support small local projects where gestalt therapists, psychotherapists of different modalities and social workers provide professional assistance to people and situations in which human rights are violated.

ü Currently we are preparing a program to send a trauma specialized Gestalt therapist to Kiev to lead a workshop for professionals dealing with the immediate traumatically situation in the Ukraine. We are also ready to provide helpers with supervision and a workshop preventing burnout and second traumatization.

ü Our Committee is also in contact with a day-care centre for tortured refugees in Athens, Greece. We are planning a workshop for paid and non-paid professionals to deal with loss of identity, family, country, culture.

ü We will continue our partnership with Peace Brigades International (PBI) and support this organization and its volunteers in all phases of voluntary work (see below: partnership) and on organizational level.

ü We are looking for possibilities to create a platform where Israeli and Palestinian helpers can meet for exchange and support about the human suffering, reconciliation and mutual acceptance on both sides of the on-going conflict.

To raise more awareness about the social political dimension of Gestalt therapy in a broader environment we will be active in different platforms and situations.

ü After our successful conference ‘Social, political and cultural relationships as therapy’s ground’ in Venice in 2010 we edited the book ‘Yes we care!’. This book explores how human rights and social responsibility are inextricably contained in the theory and practice of Gestalt therapy. A second revised edition will be published summer 2014.

ü We have planned to be present with workshops and lectures at the World Congress of Psychotherapy in Durban in August 2014 and the conference of the United Kingdom Association of Gestalt therapy (UKAGP) in London in September 2014.


Partnership with Peace Brigades International.
Peace Brigades International (PBI) is an international grassroots NGO that has promoted non-violence and protected human rights since 1981. PBI’s international volunteers accompany threatened human rights defenders upon request. They are backed up by an international support network. The objective of PBI's presence is to protect the political space of human rights defenders and other civil society activists that suffer repression for their non-violent work in favour of human rights, peace, and social justice. PBI volunteers are currently placed in Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico and Nepal (  ).
PBI and HR&SR Committee of the EAGT discussed the aims and objectives of both organisations and the services needed for PBI. PBI has developed minimum standards for providing emotional support for volunteers in the different phases of voluntary work: preparation, field work and reintegration in their own situation. EAGT and her members offer additional support to PBI volunteers on a voluntary basis. PBI volunteers have access to mental health professionals from EAGT during and after their engagement with PBI. EAGT also offers other forms of support such as training of buddies or the possibility of coaching teams in the field.




Members of HR&SR committee
Dieter Bongers, Switzerland
Michela Gecele, Italy
Joanna Kato, Greece
Guus Klaren (chair), The Netherlands
Nurith Levi, Israel
Peter Schulthess Switzerland

Eduardo Salvador, Spain
Ivana Vidakovic, Serbia