The IGW curriculum

The 'Instiut für Integrative Gestalttherapie Würzburg' (IGW) offers different curricula lasting from 2 to 4 years of training. In the following we fully describe the curriculum for 'Clinical Gestalt Therapy'. The IGW curriculum 'Clinical Gestalt Therapy' is recognized by the, 'German Association for Gestalt Therapy' (DVG) and the 'Swiss Charta for Psychotherapy' the 'Federation of Swiss Psychologists' (FSP) and the 'Swiss Professional Union of Applied Psychology' as continuing education.

In Austria the 5-year training (work accompanying) in Integrative Gestalt Therapy leads to a state licence in psychotherapy within the health care system.

In Germany the IGW is a state accredited institution for continuing education for psychotherapy and child and youth psychotherapy (state of Bavaria).

The IGW also has a regular teaching assignment at the University of La Paz, Bolivia, including a student exchange program.

The Institute

The 'Institute für Integrative Gestalttherapie Würzburg' (IGW) was founded in 1976 and started its training work in several cities in Austria and Germany and later on Switzerland and Croatia.
Since then we have conducted Gestalt therapeutical trainings for all psycho - social professions, thus being one of the oldest and leading schools in the field.
Our work was deeply influenced by the early path finders of Gestalt Therapy like Jim Simkin, Erv and Miriam Polster, Joseph Zinker and other teachers of the second generation and by constant cooperation with established American and other international schools.

In this tradition we have developed curricula for different target groups and professional fields, continually adapting to changing professional and cultural challenges.

4-year-training in Clinical Gestalt Therapy

The course 'Clinical Gestalt Therapy' is a work-accompanying professional training in psychotherapy.
Graduates of this program can apply for membership of the roof organizations DVG (Deutsche Vereinigung für Gestalt Therapie) and/or of the EAGT (European Ass. of Gestalt Therapy). Also membership of the ECP (European Certificate for Psychotherapy) is possible.

Regarding the possibilities of practicing as self employed psychotherapists we suggest to our students to follow the relevant legislation. At this point legislation in Germany requires university graduation in medicine or psychology, with restrictions also graduation in socialwork as well as a state license in psychotherapy.

For all other applicants a state license as non-medical practioner is required.

In Germany this training is also acknowledged by the 'Süddeutsche Akademie for Psychotherapy', a state approved institution, in the frame of 300 hours of theory plus individual therapy towards obtaining a state license as psychotherapist (for physicians, psychologists and restricted, also for social workers).

In Austria, Switzerland and Croatia the respective legislations apply.

1) Formal requirements for application

  • Applicants have completed a university course in medicine or psychology or have obtained a license as non-medical practioner.
  • They are working in their profession.
  • They are at least 24 years of age
  • They have sent in their application form completed with curriculum vitae and photo and have registered for one of the information seminars.

Information and Selection Seminar

Here the applicants can get to know the the specific approach of Gestalt Therapy and experience the individual styles of their perspective trainers.
Criteria for acceptance are:

  • Readiness to take risks and to experiment
  • Emotional steadiness
  • Empathy
  • Ability to perceive oneself and others
  • Contact ability
  • Readiness to value the integrity of other people

At the end of the seminar the two trainers decide on admission thereby integrating the feedbacks of all participants. At the written admission of the institute and the signed contract students are accepted in the training.

2) Duration of training

The training consists of at least 2102 hours and lasts 4 years in a work accompanying mode.

Participants are trained in a continuous group:
284 hours of self experience (max 16 p.), 596 hours of theory (Theory-practice seminars, methodology), 232 hours of supervision in the group.
In addition, students complete an individual therapy of at least 100 hours and individual supervision of at least 50 hours (100 hours in Switzerland and Austria).
600 hours of supervised therapeutic practice are required.
At least 8 different therapeutic processes should be controlled.

200 hours are asked for participation in a leaderless peer-group and 40 hours are reserved for preparing a written thesis.

Individual therapy should start during the first year, supervision during the third year.
Each year starts in Sept/Oct. and ends in June/July.

Students form so-called leaderless peer-groups at the beginning of the training which will stay together for the whole duration of the course. Here they work through the required literature, practice methods and techniques and develope a supporting social network with colleagues. At the end of each year feedback seminars take place with the purpose of reflecting the individual state of development. Stipulations can be given if necessary.

Participation is documented in a personal booklet.
After completing all requirements students receive a certificate by the institute.

In order to secure quality seminars are regularly evaluated.

3) Content

1. Year
39 days=312 hours+ 50 hours peergroup

Self experience/ Theory I (6x3 days=144 hours)
Theory II/ Basic -Skill-Training (4 days=32 hours)
Sensory awareness (4 days=32 hours )
Feedback I, Self experience I (3 days=24 hours)
Compact Training I (10 days=80 hours )
Peergroup= (50 hours).

2. Year
(38 days=304 hours+ 50 hours peergroup)

Theory III (4 days =32 hours)
Self experience II, methodology (5x3 days)
Group processes (3 days =24 hours)
Gestalt diagnosis (3 days=24 hours)
Feedback II, methodology (3 days=24 hours)
Compact Training II (10 days=80 hours)
Peergroup (50 hours).

3. Year
(31 days 248 hours + 50 hours of peergroup)

Gestaltdiagnosis II (4 days=32 hours)
Family dynamics (3 days = 24 hours)
Supervision I (5x3 days = 120 hours)
Clinical seminar I (3 days=24 hours)
Gestalttherapy in organizations (3 days= 24 hours)
Feedback III/ Supervision I (3 days=24 hours)
Peergroup (50 hours).

4. Year
(31 days = 248 hours + 50 hours Peergroup)

4.1 Body diagnosis (4 days = 32 hours)
4.2 Clinical seminar II + III (2x3 days = 48 hours)
4.3 Crisis intervention (3 days = 24 hours)
4.4 Supervision II ( 5x3 days = 120 hours)
4.5 Final Feedback / Supervision II (3 days= 24 hours)
4.6 Peergroup (50 hours)

4) Supervised practice in Gestalt Therapy

600 hours of supervised practice and 8 completed therapeutic processes have to be documented by the student or confirmed by the employer.

5) Written thesis

Candidates write a thesis about a continuing therapeutic process (individual or group) of at least 20 hours including theoretical reflection.
Other subjects ( f.i. a mere theoretical subject) can be chosen after arrangement with the trainers.
The thesis is sent threefold to the institute at least 12 weeks before the final examination date (colloquium).
It will be evaluated by two trainers and can be accepted or refused.
Acceptance of the thesis is conditional for the invitation to the colloquium.
In case of the thesis not being accepted the student can present a new thesis after at least 4 months.

Formal conditions for graduation are the successful participation in the training as well as the evaluation by the trainer team concerning the professional and personal qualification of the candidate.

The student has produced:

  • The personal study booklet
  • Certfication by the training therapist about the hours of individual therapy
  • Certification by the supervisor about the hours of supervision
  • Certification about the hours of certified practice
  • The thesis
  • Receipt for examination fees

All conditions fulfilled students can apply for he final colloquium.
Two trainers will talk about the thesis with the candidate and will reflect and acknowledge acknowledge his or her competence.
A new colleague will receive his or her certificate at the end of this ritual.


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