2019 International Gestalt-therapy Research Conference


 The Research Conference 2019

“Research In Gestalt Psychotherapy: Toward An Effective Practice”

The effort to establish a research tradition for gestalt therapy continues. Building on the conferences held in 2013, 2015, 2017 and the research methods seminar of 2014, we come to 2019 and beautiful Santiago, Chile. The international gestalt research movement is well under way.

We live and practice in an evidence-based world. Evidence-based practice requires that therapists be conversant with the research literature related to psychotherapy and use it to make what they do more effective. When we consider the establishment of a research tradition for gestalt therapy in such a world it is not just that we show that gestalt therapy works, but that we also help gestalt therapists learn to evaluate and utilize relevant research literature. Of course, we also hope gestalt therapists will become practitioner researchers and use research to refine our theory and practice.

We invite all those who have attended in the past and all those who may have heard of the research conferences but not yet attended to come join us in Santiago. Build your research expertise. Our Mentors-in Residence are John Norcross, Clara Hill, and Mariane Krause. We have a great venue that will support our workshops, presentations, and discussions. We will have time to socialize and to get to understand people from different cultures and experiences, from diverse understandings and approaches to research.
And we will have fun.

We hope to see you there.

Warm Regards,

Philip Brownelland Pablo Herrera


We are honored to be the hosts of the IV International Conference on Gestalt Psychotherapy Research in Chile, and to contextualize we want to tell you about the Gestalt Psychotherapy Center of Santiago and about Chile.

Chile is a peculiar and paradoxical country; it has the driest desert in the world and the most southern inhabited region in the world. The north and south of Chile are of great contrast and enormous distances, at the same time the east and west join us in an embrace assimilating all the differences in a narrow strip of land.

Also the Chilean Gestalt has unique characteristics such as its geography, on the one hand two great pioneers of the Spanish speaking Gestalt, Claudio Naranjo and Adriana Schnake (Nana) are Chilean. Added to having the first and the main publishers of Gestalt books in Spanish, such as the publishing house « Cuatro Vientos » by Francisco Huneeus who, with his translations and first texts, contributed enormously to the dissemination of Gestalt in Spanish speech. Even so, paradoxically, how the geography of our country, the Gestalt in Chile took a long time to emerge and have the strength and breadth of other neighboring countries.

Adriana Schnake, together with Francisco Huneeus since 1973, began to leave Chile and formed the main Gestalt therapists who in turn created the first centers in Argentina, Peru, Brazil, and other Spanish-speaking countries. Adriana continued her work later in Chiloé in southern Chile. Claudio Naranjo, for his part, had not lived in Chile for years and devoted himself completely to the training of therapists in the USA and Spain. In Chile, there were formed therapists and a few pioneers, but clearly there was a need to create a center that could be an important nucleus of formation and dissemination of Gestalt in Chile.

It is in this environment that in 1995 we founded the Gestalt Psychotherapy Center of Santiago. Marina Varas Schnake and Antonio Martínez Ribes, with the support of Adriana Schnake, created the Santiago Gestalt Psychotherapy Center in Santiago. Starting from the way and teachings of Nana was incorporating an existential vision with a very important attention to the phenomenological approach, integrating visions and ways of « east » and « west » in the likeness of our geography that unites us in this narrow strip of land and it helps us to reconcile the mountain range and the sea.

In this context of Chilean psychology and psychotherapy, it seemed important to collaborate with universities in order to offer a Gestalt university master’s degree, so we started to teach the Gestalt Master since 2008. What has allowed the Gestalt in Chile to be seen with greater respect and validation by Chilean psychologists colleagues. However, our interest in research in Gestalt appears strongly from the meeting with two people who came to our Center independently. On the one hand, Otto Glanzer German gestalt, who told us about the situation of the German Gestalt who was left out of the health system due to lack of empirical demonstration of efficacy. That news impacted us deeply. And on the other hand a meeting with Pablo Herrera, our former student and Doctor in research in psychotherapy. That he proposed to us to investigate in Gestalt and today he is coordinator of the research department of our center. From these two meetings we started a new and beautiful research project in Gestalt psychotherapy.

In the IV Conference we want to offer you a sample of the research done and how we are doing it, with few resources but with the creativity of the Latin American countries.

We would like to convey the joy and passion that gives us to investigate Gestalt, because we are confident that Latin America can become a very powerful core of Gestalt and research. We know there are Gestalt centers and therapists
in several countries, such us: Argentina, Uruguay, Peru, Mexico, Brazil and other countries that are investigating and working with universities to validate Gestalt in our region.

This IV Conference aims to be a space to meet and be able to collaborate, supporting each of us by contributing their experience to facilitate and strengthen research in Gestalt in Latin America and the world. In addition to creating links with projects and Gestalt centers that are researching Gestalt in other regions of the world.

We are waiting for you in May 2019 in Chile, a geographically polar country, united and composed of an East and a West condemned to embrace each other. In Santiago de Chile, a pulsating and living city at the foot of the Andes mountain range.

Antonio Martínez Ribes
Marina Varas Schnake
Local Co-Conveners

Information : check out the official conference website here

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