Why an “Opening to Grace” Spiritual Retreat?
As an experienced Gestalt Therapist I have long held a desire to integrate Gestalt therapy with Christian spirituality, particularly from a contemplative spiritual perspective, and to offer a new style of spiritual Retreat. We call this new synthesis Transformational Gestalt and the main thrust of this contemplative perspective is working with embodied process – an unfolding in the present moment of what is essentially a deep healing process. This is as much a spiritual process as it is emotional and psychological, and moves us toward growth and profound healing. This is the place of deep healing, grounded in relationship, and open to what is greater than our ‘small self’.
When Barry and I were in the process of developing our ideas about this synthesis of Gestalt and Christian spirituality, we came across a book, Consenting to Grace, written by Tilda Norberg, a New York Gestalt Therapist, who has developed Gestalt Pastoral Care – a combination of Gestalt and spiritual companioning from a Christian perspective. I was blessed to spend several weeks with Tilda in New York in 2015 and attended one of her Gestalt spiritualRetreats, co-working with participants and soaking in her generous wisdom. I came away from that Healing Retreat with a growing passion to continue to develop our own particular synthesis of Gestalt therapy and Christian spiritual healing.
Early 2016 we offered several Opening to Grace workshops, and in October 2016 held our first 3 day spiritual Retreat at Kincumber on the Central Coast, NSW. This was such a deeply profound and sacred time together, and it has increased our desire to offer the OTG spiritual Retreats to everyone who is drawn to this healing work. There is an openness and spontaneity in the work that allows every Retreatant to participate as they desire, and to unfold their own healing process, with community support and encouragement.
We are scheduled to hold our third ‘Opening to Grace’ spiritual Retreat mid 2019, and have a vision for yearly spiritual Retreats and further development of the Transformational Gestalt model.