Opening address at the XIV EAGT Conference 2023, September 21st

Change takes courage.
We must continue to aim to be agents of change!

Dear all,

It’s wonderful to meet you all, both in Madrid and online! It is with great pleasure and excitement that we gather here today to embark on a transformative journey. We are meeting for the first time at an EAGT hybrid and bilingual conference.

It is an experiment aimed at bridging the gap between familiar ways of contacting the novelty and diversity of our Gestalt community and all those who have not previously been able to participate in EAGT’s English-only events and, therefore missing for so long, too long.

Community and interconnectedness are the most powerful foundations of our human compass.

May it be time for us to take advantage of the fullness of diversity that flows from different cultures and different ways of embracing the situation without language barriers! Current technological solutions make it possible, and it’s only up to us if we want to use them in building a strongly engaged Gestalt community. 

The title of the conference, “Gestalt Therapy as an Engine of Change,” is a bold invitation to embrace the now-for-next.

More than two years into a pandemic that coexists with multiple national crises, war in Europe, economic downturn, and political polarization in more and more countries, many Gestalt therapists are deeply challenged. It is likely that the global state of perpetual crisis has actually led to more frequent emotional and even abusive behavior.

Experiencing oneself in all facets of uncertainty and, at the same time, helping clients to stay grounded in the same field is an unprecedented task. We’re just not meant to live under this level of tension for such a prolonged period.

The tensions are also visible on a broader political level. Just take the recent elections in Spain. This is another example of the increasing polarization of societies, including Europe. Importantly, in this challenging situation, something unexpected happened for those familiar with the Spanish political scene. The hope is still in the field.

We need to get together and speak up!

We need to act with courage. It’s essential for people to show up and make a difference and bring about real change. A success, even if it seems incomplete, is a success! Spanish society has been given time and space to seek a new point of balance instead of focusing on one thing over another.

The polarity, especially bipolarity, is simple and allows us to define and evaluate the difference quickly, that is, the non-familiar, dis-similar, opposing Other. As a result, the lines of polarization shift within families, institutions, and organizations and also cast a shadow between us. We are in prominent and growing confusion and thus in rising fear.

The old signposts have lost their value, and the new ones are not there yet. Moreover, we are already clearly seeing transhumanism, artificial intelligence, infodemics with their excess of information and fake news, the threat of pathogens released from the former permafrost, the unpredictability of the weather, and much more. This is a new reality of scattered ground and a melting sense of grounding that we are all experiencing.

How will Gestaltists, Gestalt associations, and companies where Gestaltists are present respond to the call “Gestalt therapy as an engine of change”?

As Gestaltists, we have all seen great action plans being created, only to be shelved and never implemented. Will we provide input to effect change and then wait for someone else to step into action to implement it? Or will we take the lead by engaging in the public debate and taking real action on the issues we have the most direct impact on?

I encourage Gestalt activists to get involved in the community because if you don’t, who will? We are still underrepresented at all levels of the psychotherapy field, often not recognized by national lawmakers and governments, so we must continue to strive to be better agents of change!

Choose a path informed by Paul Goodman.

Recently I received an email and read an important line that a Gestalt colleague wrote: “… to choose a path informed by all that Paul Goodman modeled for us: ears that listen, minds that think, hearts that care, voices that dissent and bodies that take a stand in the public square.

I believe it’s the core of social activism, and it’s all we need to continue the courageous mission of the agents of change.

I’m so happy to meet you in Madrid and online to experience the togetherness and interconnectedness. 

Renata Mizerska,
Former President of EAGT
President of the Polish Council for Psychotherapy – Federation of Associations

Madrid, 21 September 2023

Thank you and goodbye! Letter from President of EAGT 2020-2023

You can reach me via private e-mail

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