The purpose of the Association for the Advancement of Gestalt Therapy is to support professional and personal associating and advancing of persons interested in participating in a forum committed to the preservation and advancement of the philosophy, theory, practice, and research of Gestalt Therapy and its various applications. AAGT encourages the development and application of principles and practices in the organization consistent with the following tenets:
- That an organization can be created, rather than imposed, and that it will grow out of our contacting; and
- That a structure will emerge in response to our shared needs, interests and concerns; and
- That by believing in the unity of theory and practice, an organization which so creates itself, is itself an experiment, an on-going organic process of Gestalt formation and destruction, in which old forms are destroyed and new figures emerge through contact that is bright and lively, energetic, graceful and fluid; and
- That such an organization provides the ground for the enrichment, articulation and support of the constantly emerging figure that is Gestalt Therapy!
The form and forums of all AAGT meetings are based on Gestalt Therapy principles of organismic self-regulation, good figure/ground formation, quality contact and respect for the functional resistances necessary for structure that supports sufficient flexibility to provide nourishing ground for personal and professional integrity, meaningful interpersonal interaction, inclusionary decision-making, personalized networking, and professional development among the members of the Association.
In accordance with the Gestalt principles which precipitated and guided the inception and development of AAGT, the form and forum for the decision-making process of the Association is concerned with the human and decisional processes as well as with the outcome and products of those decisions. Community Meetings are conducted for the presentation and discussion of issues pertinent to the Association.
Because Gestalt therapists encourage, respect and support alternative voices, value non-confluent relationships by owning and expressing differences, engage with resistances as “the energy,” not the “enemy,” identify and work with polarities in the field, and honour dialogical processes as the heart and soul of Gestalt methodology, the Covenant of Community was created to provide supplemental guidance for and a commitment to creating and sustaining dialogue in our Gestalt community. The Covenant of Community invites AAGT members to subscribe to the following dialogical processes, particularly when encountering dramatic differences:
- As AAGT members we will undertake and encourage one another to engage in ongoing dialogue with one another and to remain open and in contact when choosing to withdraw temporarily from dialogue.
- We will undertake to recognize, acknowledge and own our projections, to check out our assumptions, and to encourage one another to do so.
- We will undertake to maintain community through patience and understanding.
- We will undertake to support the needs of the members of our community.
- We will undertake to stay with even difficult dialogue, acknowledging the need for space and refreshment when hungry, tired and frustrated, but not abandoning one another.
- We will undertake to get and remain interested in the impact our behavior, words and intentions have on one another.
- We will undertake to put our desire for and interest in power (in whatever form) out on the table along with being honest and direct in other arenas.
- We will undertake to attend carefully to language or other communication that objectifies the other.
- Moreover, as AAGT members we will undertake in whatever way emerges through our experience with the larger social field to support the purpose and ethical values of our community, which include the human worth and dignity of every person. In this way we declare our commitment to social equality and justice among persons within our community and in the wider, external community.