GTIP is led by two directors, with support from administrative staff. The directors, who are all distinguished and experienced Gestalt Therapy educators and therapists, also serve as senior faculty for the training program. The Directors are joined by faculty and adjunct faculty members, many of whom are GTIP graduates offering expertise in specific areas of Gestalt Therapy theory and practice.
Mary Lou Schack, PhD
I am fascinated by moments of mutuality: those inspired, energized instants when we find ourselves on the same wavelength as someone else. These are the times when relationships are born, and when a sense of connection occurs and deepens. How can we encourage these moments to happen is the important question. I believe that the obstructiveness of conflict diminishes as mutuality develops.
We are born with the ability to heal and grow. But when we are emotionally damaged or traumatized we creatively adjust in order to survive and live on. Yet in that adjustment, we frequently limit our possibilities, so that life becomes more manageable, though less fulfilling. The role of the therapist is to create safe emergencies in which people can experiment with moving beyond their created defending to begin fully experiencing themselves and the world again. The job of Gestalt Therapy is to help people grow beyond their self-imposed limits into lives that are vivid and lively.
Mary Lou is a clinical psychologist, working with individuals and couples and supervising therapists in her Bala Cynwyd, PA, practice. She received her PhD in Psychology from Temple University and has been training therapists in experiential methods for more than 30 years. She herself trained in Gestalt Therapy with James Simkin, Isadore From, Laura Perls, and Erving and Miriam Polster. She is, with the late Joyce Lewis, one of the founders of GTIP. Mary Lou's current areas of theoretical interest include mutuality and connection in relationships, the experience of time, scapegoating phenomena, body/mind functioning, forgiveness, and the healing of early psychological wounds.
Mary Lou Schack: 610-207-9930
David S. Henrich, LCSW, BCD
My first exposure to Gestalt Therapy was among four very gifted teacher-therapists: Susan Friedberg, Sal Fusaro, Helen Kramer, and Marilyn Rosannes-Barrett. Each had a distinct personal style, yet all showed tremendous patience, respect, and sensitivity toward their clients. I learned that dramatic, flashy techniques had little value compared to highly developed skill and understanding. Gestalt Therapy is inherently respectful of the client, and I was fortunate to be introduced to this idea early in my career: it is an important part of how I practice.
Humor is also important to my practice, and I am fascinated by how it works. Most people agree that humor can facilitate communication, and I also believe it can be a powerful therapeutic tool. It can help people flip their understanding of a situation and move into other dimensions. I'm very interested in how paradox, creativity, and humor are connected.
David is in private practice with GKSW/Crystal Group Associates in Wyndmoor, PA, where he works with individuals, couples, families, and groups. He also trains and consults in human services for a wide variety of institutions. David received his Master of Social Service from the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research, Bryn Mawr College, and is a graduate of the Gestalt Center for Psychotherapy and Training of New York. He has studied Gestalt Therapy for more than 30 years, including study with Sonia Nevis for more than 10 years. David is a faculty member of the Family Institute of Philadelphia and has taught at the Gestalt Associates for Psychotherapy-New York City. His current areas of interest include responding to major illness, grief and loss, conflict resolution, the use of humor in therapy, and addictions.
David S. Henrich: 215-233-3994, x21
Philip Lichtenberg, PhD: Emeritus Director and Faculty Member
I would like the graduates of GTIP to be good clinically and to be good citizens. My hope is that they will want to inform their citizen life by Gestalt Therapy principles. Too often people segregate the two. But these principles are concerned with nothing less than creating a truly democratic society — one that is egalitarian in all of its dimensions and promotes every voice being heard and respected.
We run GTIP this way: we challenge each other, respect each other, support one another. We also work this way with our trainees: we want them to rise up from their own style or approach to invite growth and welcome difference. We are trying to build a small community on Gestalt principles, and we hope that graduates will take this model and build on it in their own communities.
Philip is a licensed psychologist who taught at the Bryn Mawr School of Social Work and Social Research for more than 35 years. Philip received his PhD from Case Western Reserve University and his formal training in Gestalt Therapy at the Gestalt Training Center in San Diego with Erving and Miriam Polster. He also studied with Isadore From in New York. He has authored six books, including Community and Confluence: Undoing the Clinch of Oppression and Encountering Bigotry: Befriending Projecting Persons in Everyday Life. He has also written many articles and monographs. Philip regularly conducts training abroad. His areas of theoretical interest include the use of Gestalt Therapy in the larger world of social action and social organization.