Articles:     Articles are Reader Members Only material, you may subscribe below

Articles, includes the numerous journal and website material that has come my way and sparked enough interest for me to download or otherwise hold on to.  Some 'articles' may be a complete journal issue - and this applies to UKAPI (UK Assocaition for Psychotherapy Integration).  UKAPI is no longer active and all their journals are now publicly available.  Articles are displayed in order of last modified

Articles is a part of Members pages that also include

Research, comprises material that has related interest to the variety of topic I have, or am, exploring.  Much is material that gets posted into my inbox, and where possible I will include a link to the source.

Essays is composed of of my writings, academic and otherwise, that I am choosing to share.  These include assignments from my training (now many years ago) at The Sherwood Psychotherapy Training Institute (SPTI) towards my MA in Gestalt Psychotherapy; other material comes from workshop material and notes; there are also poetic expressions - poetry; other writings appear here that might otherwise have been in the Scribbles page - which is public.

Book Notes, which focus on material from theory books (mostly Kindle copies) that hopefully provide a coherent précis of the subject matter using the actual text.  The text represents quotes from the original source book and are suitable for (academic) referencing using the appropriate page or kindle location reference.

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The Voice of Shame as Intervention

shame is an ever present and intrinsic possibility wherever human beings seek connection with one another. And if self in Gestalt theory is the activity of working out the integration of person and environment … then shame is the underbelly of self process, the ever present possibility of disrupted connection.

McConville, M., 2011, The Voice of Shame as Intervention. Gestalt Review, 15(3):239-249

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25 August 2022

Self and Shame

this article examines the terms of the underlying assumptions about self and relationship that have informed our traditional clinical models and offers a new model of shame, support, and their dynamic interplay in self-process and self-integration.

Wheeler, G., 1997, Self and Shame: A Gestalt Approach. Gestalt Review,1(3):22l-244

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25 August 2022

Is Shame All There Is?

In The Secret Language of Intimacy, Robert Lee offers us the view that shame and belonging are the opposite ends of a polarity of intimacy. This book follows his earlier one on the secret language of shame, and forms part of a series of his writings on shame. Lee’s theory of intimacy hinges on the role of shame in preventing connection.

Greenberg, L., 2011, Is Shame All There Is? Gestalt Review, 15(3):287-295

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27 August 2022

Attachment in the consulting room: towards a theory of therapeutic change

Effective therapists need guiding models, but, paradoxically, the benefits of psychoanalytic psychotherapy may not flow from its espoused theories. Using an attachment framework, it is argued that psychoanalytic psychotherapy in common with all therapies has three principal components: an attachment relationship; meaning-making; and change-promotion. Secure and insecure models of attachment help understand how therapists guide the therapeutic relationship in helpful or unhelpful directions. Freedom of meaning-making is a mark of secure attachment. Change is promoted by placing clients in a ‘benign bind’ characterised by: close engagement; discrepancy between client transferential expectations and therapist response; and exploration and verbal descriptions of the feelings arising from these discrepancies. An attachment meta-perspective helps reconcile apparent differences between differing psychoanalytic and non-psychoanalytic theoretical perspectives.

Jeremy Holmes (2011): Attachment in the consulting room: towards a theory of therapeutic change, European Journal of Psychotherapy & Counselling, 13:2, 97-114

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23 October 2021

Beyond Empathy: Attunement and Presence

In 1967 I was selected as the psychotherapist for a group of nursing students in Chicago after a mass murderer had entered the student’s dormitory and killed several of the student nurses. I provided individual and group psychotherapy for the 19 and 20 year old students who were experiencing stress reactions that included a myriad of relational problems, learning difficulties, a lack of goals and orientation and a mixture of fatigue and restlessness. At that time in my professional life I knew little about post-traumatic stress disorder. Over the ensuing years, a number of clients have repeatedly taught me about the relational importance of attunement and presence in healing the wounds of both acute and cumulative trauma.

Erskine, R. G. 2007 Beyond Empathy: Attunement and Presence. Voices: The Art and Science of Psychotherapy, Vol. 43, No. 3, pp 7-13.

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19 August 2021

Attachment, Relational-Needs, and Psychotherapeutic Presence

Humans require the contactful presence of another person who is attuned and responsive to relational-needs. Insecure attachment patterns are the result of repeated disruptions in significant relationships. This article describes eight relational-needs that, when repeatedly unsatisfied, lead to insecure attachment patterns based on the fears of loss of relationship, vulnerability, violation, and invasion. The healing of insecure attachment patterns occurs through a contactful psychotherapeutic presence that occurs when the attitude, behavior and communication of the psychotherapist consistently respects and enhances the client's integrity while responding to relational needs

Richard G. Erskine 2011, Attachment, Relational-Needs, and Psychotherapeutic Presence. Institute for Integrative Psychotherapy

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23 October 2021

9 Clues That You May Be Dealing With a Psychopath

The neuroscience of psychopathy reports some intriguing findings.  Psychology Today UK Posted Jun 08, 2017

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5 August 2021

A Gestalt Therapy Approach To Shame And Self-Righteousness: Theory And Methods

Shame and self-righteousness are intrapsychic dynamics that help the individual defend against a rupture in relationship. This article discusses how, from a life script perspective, shame is comprised of the script belief 'Something is wrong with me',… from a Gestalt therapy perspective, shame involves a diminished self-concept in confluence with criticism, a defensive transposition of sadness and fear, and disavowal and retroflection of anger. Furthermore, shame may be an archaic fixation or an introjection.

Erskine, R. G., 1995 A Gestalt Therapy Approach To Shame And Self-Righteousness: Theory And Methods. British Gestalt Journal 1995, Vol.4. 107. 117

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27 August 2022

A journey from shame to sharing

This paper highlights the wider challenges and personal obstacles of becoming published within the field of counselling and psychotherapy. My hope is that it will inspire other graduates to consider taking the final step to re-present their research from their degrees and share their participant’s stories within the counselling and psychotherapy community, and beyond.

McPherson, A. S., 2020. Dissertation to published article: A journey from shame to sharing.  European Journal for Qualitative Research in Psychotherapy. Vol. 10, 41-52

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25 August 2022

Shame in Organisations

This article explores shame in the context of organisations, and as a field present condition that is always in the background of contact and relationship. The four hypotheses put forward suggest how shame can manifest itself in organisational settings. The article then explores ways of working with shame individually and in the system as a whole.

Bentley, T., 2012, Shame in Organisations. Gestalt Review, 16(1):88-109.


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25 August 2022

Shame and Belonging

This article examines the neurobiological research literature involving the role and importance of relationship in structuring neural circuits in the first and second year of life, as well as what this information means from a Gestalt constructionist, intersubjective perspective.

Robert G. Lee, R. G., 2007 Shame & Belonging in Childhood: The Interaction Between Relationship and Neurobiological Development in the Early Years of Life. British Gestalt Journal Vol 16 No 2, pp38-45

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25 August 2022

Gestalt Therapy and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: The Irony and the Challenge

The purpose of the present study is to review the theoretical, strategic, and tactical/technical contributions of Gestalt therapy to the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and to examine its contributions to the professional literature. From a theoretical point of view, the conceptualization of PTSD as a special case of “unfinished business” posits Gestalt therapy as a treatment of choice for this syndrome. From a strategic point of view Gestalt therapy offers phenomenology and IThou dialogue as effective therapeutic components

Gestalt Review, 7 (1): 42-55, 2003

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14 October 2021

Integrating Expressive Methods in a Relational-Psychotherapy

Therapeutic Involvement is an integral part of all effective psychotherapy. This article is written to illustrate the concept of Therapeutic Involvement in working within a therapeutic relationship – within the transference -- and with active expressive and experiential methods to resolve traumatic experiences, relational disturbances and life shaping decisions.

International Journal of Integrative Psychotherapy, Vol. 1, No. 2, 2010.  Date of publication: 13 June 2011

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14 October 2021

Change through the Frame of Attachment

This article is based on a Case Story presentation at the GANZ Conference Melbourne 2012: Elements of Change: Context Connection Complexity.

What I hope to do is to explore how change can occur when we bring context and connection together via attachment theory and Gestalt therapy. I will introduce some of the ideas I have been interested in and how they have translated into my therapy room. The concept of a co-created experience is a foundation of Gestalt therapy and being aware of my own attachment style as well as the clients’ can create a complex and supportive experience for the client.

Phoebe Riches 2012 Change through the Frame of Attachment Gestalt Journal of Australia and New Zealand Vol 9 No 2 Pages 27-35

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23 October 2021

Beyond ESTs Problematic assumptions in the pursuit of evidence based practice

There has been much confusion in the literature of psychotherapy between the broad concept of evidence-based practice and the narrower set of criteria that have been employed in designating certain treatments as “empirically validated” or “empirically supported.” In contrast to the appropriate concern with examining the evidence for the efficacy of various approaches to therapy and for the theoretical assumptions that underlie them, the “empirically supported treatments” movement has been characterized more by ideology and faulty assumptions than by good science. This paper examines in detail the scientific and logical limitations of the “EST” movement and aims to place the empirical investigation of theory and practice in psychotherapy on a sounder basis.

Paul L. Wachtel, 2010, Beyond ESTs Problematic assumptions in the pursuit of evidence based practice. Psychoanalytic Psychology Vol. 27, No. 3, 251–272, American Psychological Association.

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1 November 2021

Attachment Theory Some Implications for Gestalt Theory

Attachment theory has been developed over the last fifty years as one way of understanding the foundations of our capacity and need to make and sustain rel ationshi ps. It has made an important contribution, not only to the way that we view the development of the earliest relationships in our lives, but also to our understanding of the processes of separation and loss . The implications for psychotherapy i n general are becoming clearer, and in this article specific attention is paid to ways in which it may be useful for Gestalt therapists to be mindful of key attachment concepts, how they may emerge in our work, and how they may be used therapeutically.

Neil Harris, 1996 Attachment Theory: Some Implications For Gestalt Therapy. British Gestalt Journal, Vol.5. No.2.103-112

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23 October 2021

Affect, attachment and attunement: Thoughts inspired in dialogue with the three-volume work of Allan Shore

the relevance of bio-energetic metabolism within the contexts of body-psychotherapy: backgrounds to the relevance of the work of Allan Schore

David Boadella 2005 Affect, attachment and attunement. energy & character vo1.34 september 2005

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23 October 2021

Gestalt Phenomenology And Embodied Cognitive Science

Several strands of contemporary cognitive science and its philosophy have emerged in recent decades that emphasize the role of action in cognition, resting their explanations on the embodiment of cognitive agents, and their embedding in richly structured environments. Despite their growing influence, many foundational questions remain unresolved or underexplored for this cluster of proposals, especially questions of how they can be extended beyond straightforwardly visuomotor cognitive capacities, and what constraints the commitment of embodiment places on the ontology of explanations. This special issue aims to contribute to these foundational debates by drawing on important precursors to embodied cognition in mid-twentieth century gestalt psychology, its immediate successor ecological psychology, and their dialectical counterpart, phenomenology. Gestalt psychologists and phenomenologists wrestled with many of the same foundational questions that still haunt us today, in a manner that seems refreshing in hindsight, and poised to contribute constructively to contemporary debate. Looking back on this history reveals deep commonalities across competing embodied approaches, exposing fundamental tensions that remain unresolved, but also paving the way to a more ecumenical and conciliatory embodied cognitive science.

Isaac, A.M.C., Ward, D. Introduction. Synthese 198, 2135–2151 (2021.

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1 November 2021

Phenomenology of Practice

Phenomenology of practice is formative of sensitive practice, issuing from the pathic power of phenomenological reflections. Pathic knowing inheres in the sense and sensuality of our practical actions, in encounters with others and in the ways that our bodies are responsive to the things of our world and to the situations and relations in which we find ourselves. Phenomenology of practice is an ethical corrective of the technological and calculative modalities of contemporary life. It finds its source and impetus in practical phenomenologies of reading and writing that open up possibilities for creating formative relations between being and acting, self and other, interiorities and exteriorities, between who we are and how we act.

Max van Manen. 2007 Phenomenology of Practice. Phenomenology & Practice, Volume 1, No. 1, pp. 11 – 30.

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5 August 2021

Relational Group Psychotherapy the Healing of Stress Neglect and Trauma

This article is the Keynote Address given at the 4th International Integrative Psychotherapy Association Conference, April 17, 2009. In speaking to the conference theme of “Acute Trauma, Cumulative Neglect, and Chronic Stress” the article describes some of the principles of Relational Group Psychotherapy. The theory of methods is based on the concept that the healing of trauma, neglect and stress occurs through a contactful therapeutic relationship. Relational group psychotherapy draws from several developments in group therapy, particularly the cybernetic feedback and other-centered models. It emphasizes the healing power of relationships between group members and the importance of phenomenological inquiry, affective attunement, identification, and relational-needs. The leader’s tasks are to stimulate the flow of contactful dialogue and to teach about human needs and healthy relationships.

International Journal of Integrative Psychotherapy, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2010

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14 October 2021

Research Poetry and Meaning Making: Stanzas from an Autoethnography

The notion of liminality encompasses the uncertainty which is characteristic of the creative process, the difficulty of defining and explaining creativity, and the fact that creative processes occur in a range of spaces and contexts, from the individual to the cultural and political. The complex nature of creativity and its diverse manifestations suggests that multiple research methods and might be appropriate. The study under discussion incorporates an arts-based approach to enhance the enquiry,

Shelley Tracey 2008 Research Poetry and Meaning Making: Stanzas from an Autoethnography Quest Proceedings of the QUB AHSS Conference June 2008 Issue 6 Autumn 2008 pp177-188

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5 August 2021

Poetry as a Creative Process in Psychotherapy

Poetry and therapy promote healing and growth in similar ways; however, poetry also can enhance psychotherapy. Comparing poetry and therapy can facilitate new insights into how therapy works. In this presentation, several parallels between therapy and poetry are considered. With each of these themes, it is discussed how poetry can be integrated to enhance therapy with some clients.

Louis Hoffman and Carrie V. Pate. 2014 Poetry as a Creative Process in Psychotherapy

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5 August 2021

The felt sense and how it can therapeutically be mediated by photographs

In mental health care the focus of diagnosis and treatment is too much on someone´s behavior and the cognitive aspects adhering to behavior. … We become conscious of the signals from our senses as sensations, which are translated into certain emotions or moods (for instance joy, excitement, despair and depressed feelings). Feeling “tense” or “down” or “cheerful” or “enthusiastic” can have a pendant in background feelings of tension or relaxation, of fatigue or energy, of well‐being or malaise, of anticipation or dread (Damasio, 1999, p. 52), … We posed the question: why not develop exercises in perceiving reality and model in this way the process of sensing the world as one that is inviting, vibrant and warm? Thus facilitating the appropriation of what until now for many persons with mental illness may have been a hostile world? We think that the creation of a positive felt sense or “guts” feeling, may be mediated by an aesthetic shock that makes your heart beat faster, gives you a boost of energy and that in the end (when it is reflected on and given words) may create the motivation to follow it up with action. … In the same way that you can be moved by music or a poem, an image or images can have an impact and change something in how you relate to your (existential) world. You feel or experience that you are alive and that you are lifted out of the limited perspective of being a person with mental health problems. Your horizon may widen.

Sitvast, J. (2021). The felt sense and how it can therapeutically be mediated by photographs. Academia Letters, Article 665.

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19 August 2021

The Mind Behind the Bully: The Psychology of Bullying - A Platform for Good

There’s a lot of information out there dedicated to protecting our kids from bullying and enforcing policies to ensure it doesn’t happen, but the real key to stopping this problem is understanding it. Bullies are definitely people like the rest of us, so what’s so different about them that their social skills are so drastically different?

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5 August 2021

Poetry as a Creative Process in Psychotherapy

Poetry and therapy promote healing and growth in similar ways; however, poetry also can enhance psychotherapy. Comparing poetry and therapy can facilitate new insights into how therapy works. In this presentation, several parallels between therapy and poetry are considered. With each of these themes, it is discussed how poetry can be integrated to enhance therapy with some clients.

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5 August 2021

The Historical Roots of Gestalt Therapy Theory

The theory of Gestalt therapy is itself a new Gestalt, though it does not contain many new thoughts. What its founders, Fritz and Laura Perls and Paul Goodman, did was to weave a new synthesis out of existing concepts. 

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5 August 2021

Generational Conflict. A New Paradigm for Teams of the 21st Century

Recent literature has been pointing to the fact that, in the workplace, there has been a growing state of tension and conflict between the Baby Boomers, those between 55 and 37 years of age, and Generation X, those between 36 and 18 years of age. A study was conducted to see if there were any significant differences between the Boomers and the Xers in the extent to which they valued teams. 

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5 August 2021

Let the Straw Man Speak Husserl's Phenomenology in Context

Gestalt therapy has long acknowledged its indebtedness to phenomeno­ logical philosophy in general and to Edmund Husserl in particular, but ironically in a fashion that disregards the organic context of this work. The result is too often exemplified by discussions of phenomenology that either misrepresent its contribution to Gestalt therapy or apply its insights in stilted or inappropriate fashion.

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5 August 2021

Relational Aggression and Why Kids Engage In It

Relational aggression is an insidious type of bullying that often goes unnoticed by parents and educators.  Consequently, teens and tweens that engage in relational aggression are often able to bully, control and manipulate others all under the radar of adults. In fact, some kids are so skilled at this type of bullying that no one would ever suspect them of hurting others.

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5 August 2021

Poetry Therapy as a Tool for Strengths-Based Practice

This article explores the congruence between poetry therapy and the strengths perspective of social work. It demonstrates the ways in which poetry therapy is consistent with the strengths perspective and discusses methods for its utilization in direct practice settings.

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5 August 2021

Love, Admiration, Or Safety. A System of Gestalt Diagnosis of Borderline, Narcissistic, and Schizoid Adaptations that Focuses on What Is Figure for the Client

Greenberg proposes a system of Gestalt diagnosis of Borderline, Narcissistic and Schizoid adaptations that focuses on what repeatedly becomes figure for the client during interactions with others. She reconceptualizes Borderline, Narcissistic and Schizoid personality disorders as relatively inflexible organizations of the organism/environment field that are made and remade at each moment at the contact boundary through figure/ground formation.

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5 August 2021

Surviving Relational Aggression: Tips for Adults and Girls

Establishing and maintaining healthy friendships is one of the most important tasks adolescents, especially girls, face in their daily lives. Many girls spend a large portion of their day either engaging with their friends or thinking about their friendships. Navigating this world can at times be likened to an elaborate game of chess, where each move is thought out and methodical, and strategies change based on the moves of others. 

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5 August 2021