Mission Statement

The mission of the Gestalt Institute of Pittsburgh is educate, enlighten an excite individuals and trainees about the theory, integration and application of Gestalt therapy. Our faculty and staff provide the highest quality programs to individuals seeking training, personal development and support for their professional and personal endeavors. The Institute is guided by belief in the wholeness of human experience, adherence to the highest ethical standards and support of social justice values.

Statement regarding Core Competency Expectations

GIP recognizes that proficiency in core areas of Gestalt theory and practice is necessary for competent practice.  In all of our training programs we use as a basis the following essential aspects of Gestalt:


The history and development of Gestalt psychology, Gestalt therapy and foundational theoretical sources including yet not limited to:

  • Psychoanalytic Theory
  • Humanistic psychology
  • Eastern Philosophy
  • Existential Phenomenology
  • Medicine
  • Psychiatry

Definition- Translation, common terms and specific terminology of Gestalt Therapy                     

Essential Concepts of Gestalt Therapy

  • Self-regulating organism
  • Paradoxical Theory of Change
  • Present-centered approach
  • Awareness – Figure-Ground
  • Process and Content
  • Therapist as an Instrument of the Work
  • Response-ability
  • Contact and the Contact Boundary
  • Cycle of Emerging Needs
  • Contact Styles
  • Systems theory
  • Field theory
  • “The Experiment”

Statement on multicultural considerations

The field-theoretical and the phenomenological tenets as well as the principles of holism take, per definition, cultural differences into consideration.

Implicit in its field-theoretical understanding is the fact that human beings are not islands but impacted by social influences.  Human beings are also impactful on others. With respect to the existential field, each person shares a world with others in a variety of ways contributing to meaning and value. The belief in and the use of the phenomenological method in Gestalt therapy focuses on the client’s subjective experience and the meaning thereof for him/her, void of the question of right or wrong, true or false, accurate or inaccurate, and/or of any ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts’. Since the Gestalt therapist is non-judgmental and limits interpretation and analysis, it is exclusively the client who is the ultimate judge of accuracy and validity of any construction placed upon his/her experience. If reports, thoughts, experiences, etc., run counter to the therapist’s own experience of similar situations, due to cultural or ethnic differences, this will be addressed as part of the therapeutic process. An open dialogue of emerging differences will facilitate more awareness of therapists’ and clients’ “objective truth, “and this sharing will contribute to a more authentic and honest therapeutic relationship (Kirchner, 2000).

GIP Training Program Oversight Mechanisms for Addressing Diversity in Content Development

GIP Integrative Diversity Checklist

Statement on ethical considerations

To ask the questions with which this section is headed is to put ethical issues into a non-Gestalt orientation. To ask what is right and what is wrong is to assume that there is a right and a wrong, a good and a bad in the matters being addressed. In Gestalt therapy there is no “right” or “wrong” built into any matter or question. There are rights and wrongs, but they are aspects of the stance and choices of an individual or of a society in particular situations; their rightness or wrongness is a factor of attitudes and values vis à vis the issues:  they emerge in the process of interaction of the person with the environment or of the societal environment with the person.

The Gestalt therapist does assume that there are “good” things for each individual, that each individual has values and a valuing process.   The therapist also assumes that there are social “goods” and values.   These values have their origins in the self, in the culture, and in aspects of the social environment, particularly the family. The individual, however, in the Gestalt system is assumed to be responsible for increasing awareness of his value system and, based on his awareness and attention, his choices. The important point is that the “good” things in the Gestalt system are not actions; rather, they are attitudes that are to be encouraged as a Gestalt way of life (The Gestalt Center of Gainseville Inc., n.d.)

Statement on Financial Considerations

All of our programs are designed to prepare trainees in what we consider areas of core competency for contemporary gestalt therapy practice.  GIP is committed to increasing access to our programs for those applicants who are economically disadvantaged. In an effort to make our programs more affordable for those who are otherwise not able to bear the full cost of training, we will whenever possible make scholarships and internship opportunities available.  We also consider requests for adjusted payment schedules.