Covenant of Community
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 honor dialogical processes as the heart and soul of Gestalt methodology, the “Covenant of Community” was developed and approved at AAGT’s 2002 Gestalt Conference, with a recent addition of item “I” at the 2013 Annual General Meeting following a months-long AAGT members’ Internet dialogue on social equality and justice. This was done to provide supplemental guidance for and a commitment to creating and sustaining dialogue in our Gestalt community. The “Covenant of Community” invites IAAGT members to subscribe to the following dialogical processes, particularly when encountering dramatic differences:
- A. 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.
- B. We will undertake to recognize, acknowledge and own our projections, to check out our assumptions, and to encourage one another to do so.
- C. We will undertake to maintain community through patience and understanding.
- D. We will undertake to support the needs of the members of our community.
- E. 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.
- F. We will undertake to get and remain interested in the impact our behavior, words and intentions have on one another.
- G. 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.
- H. We will undertake to attend carefully to language or other communication that objectifies the other.
- I. Moreover, 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.