Want to know more about studying at the Gestalt Centre? Here’s a first-hand prespective from some of our successful students.

Naomi Akwei-Sturdy

I received excellent counselling training from my tutors from the Gestalt Centre counselling diploma. This helped me to turn around what could have been a life headed for a downward spiral. With the Gestalt Centre’s commitment of professionalism I was able to realise the importance of personal therapy, supervision and adhering to BACP ethical conduct. I have worked as a counsellor for ten years and have co-ordinated the African and Caribbean counselling service for Greenwich Mind for the last five years. I manage the service as well as supervising a team of five counsellors, some of whom are on counselling placement or are working towards accreditation.

Over the years I have worked cross-culturally, specialising in counselling around domestic violence and childhood abuse, issues of cultural racial identity, sexual identity and mental health issues. I completed a Masters in Intercultural Group therapy and plan to pursue a doctorate soon! I feel that becoming a Gestalt counsellor and training at The Gestalt Centre has been as challenging as it has been positively life enhancing, helping me to maintain positive counselling feedback.

Ilaria Calussi

I became interested in Counselling during my studies in Psychology and at the same time I started Gestalt Therapy as a client. During the Counselling course I started working with families affected by parental mental illness and I worked therapeutically with children. I was attracted to training in Gestalt Therapy because of the changes I had experienced myself, in particular through practicing awareness and developing creativity with experiments and bodywork.

Once I completed the Counselling Diploma, I continued on the Pg Diploma of the psychotherapy training and last year I was awarded the MA in Gestalt Therapy Theory Studies.
I am now a BACP Accredited Counsellor: after working for various charities in mental health, recovery from alcohol addiction and in primary schools with children, I am now working as a freelance Gestalt Therapist and as School Project Manager for The Place2Be.

Kay Lynn

I worked at a University which supported my training. I gained experience by working for a voluntary organisation where I was a facilitator of groups and did outreach one to one counselling. This organisation offered me further training, and monthly supervision with a strong and well-qualified clinical manager. After completing my training at the Gestalt Centre and my work at the University ending I went onto develop a private practice.

I integrated my life-long work in education by developing a specialism in movement and with the body. This has opened up other opportunities to run groups in a Health Centre; a one day workshop at the Gestalt Centre and has expanded my approach to my psychotherapy practice. This specialism within a Gestalt frame has often been the reason a potential client has picked up the phone to ask for psychotherapy.

Karen Stainsby

Prior to becoming a counsellor, I worked in the fields of cancer, HIV and Immunology. My introduction to Gestalt was, like many counsellors, via the client route. Never having previously heard the term counsellor (let alone Gestalt), I entered therapy via the recommendation of a friend. Questioning some important areas of my life, I subsequently decided to train as a counsellor at the Gestalt Centre. This abundant and enriching experience made a significant and enduring contribution to my career and life.

Since graduating in 1996, I have run a busy practice in Surrey, providing brief and longer-term counselling to individuals and organisations. Trained as a supervisor with Cascade, I enjoy working with both qualified and trainee counsellors. I hold BACP Senior Accreditations as Supervisor and Counsellor. Using valuable experience gained as a Tutor and Corporate Trainer, I now develop and deliver independent training to counsellors and other healthcare workers in areas such as Gestalt and Working Creatively. I enjoy writing articles and publish books on counselling and associated topics. Also, as a qualified hypnotherapist, I offer hypnosis to those who wish to experience this way of helping others.

Jeremy Weinstein

I came to the Gestalt Centre via social work, first as a practitioner and then as a lecturer. I enjoyed academic life but did miss the direct work with clients and so I experimented with Gestalt, attending a couple of workshops. I enjoyed the experience so I then bit the bullet and enrolled with the Gestalt Centre. Here, however, it proved hard to move on from my social work ideas, also to shift roles from university lecturer to student. It all took longer and went deeper than I had ever anticipated! I did, however, qualify, in 1999 and now have a practice as a psychotherapist and supervisor, run workshops on mental health and also aspects of loss and bereavement and mental health.

I also published my first book, “Working with Loss, Death and Bereavement: A Guide for Social Workers” in 2007. I am always pleased to return to the ‘mother ship’ for short courses in supervision, brief therapy and CBT. So, a tough training, but well worth it.

Gilead Yeffett

I started my training as a Gestalt therapist nearly six years ago having graduated with a degree in psychology from Birkbeck College UCL. While I enjoyed the research and search for evidence that psychology involves, I also wanted to work with the human element that is not necessarily and easily measured and quantified.

I chose Gestalt because it is practical, emphasises personal responsibility and focuses on the present moment in a person’s life. I chose the Gestalt Centre because of its reputation as a rigorous and non-compromising institute, in simpler words I was told it was the best Gestalt training institute in the country; it is also the only one in London to offer Gestalt Group Therapy training.

At the Gestalt Centre I have learnt that while my struggle was ‘internal’ as it were, it was in relation to others and that how I interacted with others and they with me would define my struggle. Through the hard work of being a member of a weekly group, I have learnt that I have an impact on others and they on me. I have also learnt that being independent is a false notion and that self-reliance is a limiting behaviour, part of taking responsibility for myself was being able to seek support around me. And mostly I have learnt to build enduring, sustaining and enriching relationships.

I define the training at the Centre as providing Goldilocks conditions – just right. More support would mean holding my hand risking me not finding my own path and less support would mean risking not pointing me in the direction I could benefit from. I have recently graduated from the Centre as a Gestalt psychotherapist after nearly six years of training which, I feel, have prepared me well for my new role.


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