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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, organizations 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 will give direction to:

  • The importance of understanding the world we live in order to be effective in our everyday practice
  • The political role we all have in our everyday practice and
  • The connection between psychotherapy and the world from which it derives (and changing through time).

In particular 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.
We encourage and provide training and seminar for training Institutes and psychotherapists to include social, political and cultural dimension of the field theory in their programs and in everyday practice.


For the coming years (2016-2017) our Committee is committed to support 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.

  • After we have given care of two successful workshops in Kiev in 2014 and 2015 we are now developing and implementing a train the trainer program for (Gestalt) therapists and Psychologists working with traumatized adults and children in the conflict in Ukraine. After completing the program of 5 workshops of three days plus supervision the participants will be able to organize similar workshops for colleagues all over the country.
  • Our Committee started a training program for paid and non-paid professionals of is also in contact with Babel (Athens, Greece) - a Mental Health Day Care Centre for migrants and refugees with a psychic disease, among them torture survivors. We want to continue this program in 2016 and 2017, in cooperation with the local NOGT, working on similar subjects like how to deal with loss of identity, family, country, culture
  • We answer the call for support of international volunteers involved in the initial reception of refugees arriving on the island of Lesbos. A group of Gestalt therapist from different countries is available for distance support by Skype.
  • We continue our partnership with Peace Brigades International (PBI) and support this organization and its volunteers in all phases of voluntary work and on organizational level. (See below: partnership). Currently, we have more involvement in the Mexico project but we have also collaborated with volunteers in Kenya and Guatemala projects.
  • 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.

  • 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 was published in January 2015.
  • We have planned to be present with a panel workshop at the AAGT and EAGT Conference in Taormina Sicily in September 2016. We will present our aims and activities under the title: ‘Human Rights and social responsibility in times of crises’. After the panel we will meet in an interacting panel-participants dialogue to explore and discuss the theme of our presentation(s).

Partnership with Peace Brigades International.

Peace Brigades International (PBI) is an international grassroots NGO that promotes non-violence and protection of human rights since 1981. PBI’s international volunteers accompany threatened human rights defenders upon request. They are backed up by an international support network. PBI volunteers are currently placed in Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico and Kenya ( www.peacebrigades.org ).
PBI have their own mental health local support and they 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. PBI and the EAGT HR & SR Committee agreed to offer to PBI volunteers Gestalt Therapy professionals from EAGT during and after their engagement with PBI. EAGT also offers 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 (chair), Greece
Guus Klaren, The Netherlands
Nurith Levi, Israel
Peter Schulthess, Switzerland
Eduardo Salvador, Spain
Ivana Vidakovic, Serbia

HRSR meeting

Designed by Jaroslav Jira