If all life goes inevitably towards its end, we must, during this life, tint it with the colours of love and of hope.
Clinical Psychologist & Gestalt Psychotherapist – English and Italian
What is Gestalt Psychotherapy? Gestalt is a German word that means ‘shape’, and it is particularly described as a whole that is more than the sum of its parts. Starting from this point of view the Gestalt Therapy approach considers the human being holistically, as a whole being: our mind and thoughts are important as well as our body and physical feelings are. This because we are an entire person, our brain is part of our body, the so called central nervous system is tightly connected to the rest of our body, and these are constantly interacting and influencing each other. In more, as a whole being, we are continuously in contact with the environment, again affecting each other (for environment we consider both the physical world and the relational dynamics happening within the family, at school, at work, with friends, etc.) Lastly, Gestalt Therapy doesn’t focus on our past experiences and childhood nor on problem simply searching the cause and its effect, instead it focuses on the Here and Now, the present moment: when a person talks about her/his past events these memories are experienced in the here and now accompanied by feelings, and all this experience happens within the therapeutic relationship.
Therefore, a Gestalt Psychotherapist notes the reciprocal interaction between our brain (thoughts, emotions, feelings, etc.) and our body (body perceptions, muscle tension, pain, etc.) and works with the client on the awareness of their whole experience in the here and now. The main focus is on the present therapeutic relationship that the therapist and her/his client are building together. During these moments the client brings their unfinished businesses (unclosed relational situations linked to unrecognised and unsatisfied needs), the therapist helps her/his client to recognise their needs and work with her/him to finally meet these, possibly ending the perpetuating and painful situation. I wanted to add one of my favourite videos, at the bottom of this page, in which Fritz Perls, the founder of the Gestalt approach, explains the principles of Gestalt Therapy. I hope you enjoy it.
Who is it for? It is for everyone who experiences ‘psychological’ issues such as: anxiety, depression, difficulties in relationships, etc.
As a Gestalt Psychotherapist I have experience working one-to-one with people from age 18, with different multicultural backgrounds, and presenting different problematic aspects such as anxiety, depression, panic attack, trauma, bereavement, anger/emotional management problems, and so on. Please, fill free to contact me if you would like to know more about my expertise.
What else I do: I run workshops at the Manchester Gestalt Centre and national conferences, particularly with a focus on the ageing process. Attending the first international AAGT/EAGT Conference 2016, I presented a poster titled ‘Fear and Seduction in Encountering the Other’ which became a book chapter. I like writing and collaborating with organisations, institutes and other authors. My contributions are visible at ResearchGate.net. Below are my main publications:
Merizzi, A. (2018) “Virtual Dementia Tour®: limitations and ethics”, Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, https://doi.org/10.1108/QAOA-11-2017-0042
Merizzi, A. (2018) “Fear and Seduction in Encountering the Other” in M. Spagnuolo Lobb et al. (Eds.) (2018), The Aesthetic of Otherness: meeting at the boundary in a desensitized world, Proceedings. Siracusa (Italy): Istituto di Gestalt HCC Italy Publ. Co. (www.gestaltitaly.com)
Merizzi, A. (2019) “United Kingdom” section in “Gestalt en el mundo: notes from around the world on the state of Gestalt therapy and research by participants in the IV International Gestalt Research Conference, Santiago, Chile, 2019”, British Gestalt Journal
Merizzi, A. (2021) “Psicoterapia della Gestalt e invecchiamento” in M. Spagnuolo Lobb & P.A. Cavaleri (Eds), Psicopatologia della situazione: La psicoterapia della Gestalt nei campi clinici delle relazioni umane. Milan (Italy): Franco Angeli. ISBN: 9788835120315
Merizzi, A., Biasi, R., Zamudio, J.F.Á., Spagnuolo Lobb, M., Di Rosa, M., Santini, S. (2022), “A Single-Case Design Investigation for Measuring the Efficacy of Gestalt Therapy to Treat Depression in Older Adults with Dementia in Italy and in Mexico: A Research Protocol”, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Vol. 19 No. 6, pp. 3260. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19063260
Merizzi, A. (2023) “Gestalt Psychotherapy and Ageing” in M. Spagnuolo Lobb & P.A. Cavaleri (Eds), Psychopathology of the situation: A field-oriented approach. Oxon: Routledge. ISBN: 9781032322025
I am currently involved with the EAGT newsletter, the GPTI as Treasurer, and the Società Italiana Psicoterapia della Gestalt as Secretary. I have been an exec board member of the the Gestalt Publishing Ltd with the role of organising the BGJ annual Seminar Day. Additionally, I am working towards becoming an accredited Gestalt trainer and supervisor, for which I have been a trainer assistant at the Manchester Gestalt Centre as well as having obtained a Postgraduate certificate in Supervision of Counselling and Psychotherapy (UCLAN).
What do I do in my work with older people? As a clinical psychologist I am experienced in working therapeutically with older adults who live with brain conditions (dementia, stroke, brain cancer, etc.). I facilitate psycho-educational, therapeutic and cognitive rehabilitation groups for people with dementia and Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), and their family members/carers.
I collaborated in developing services for people with a diagnosis of MCI and I was part of the National FPOP (Faculty of the Psychology of Older People) MCI Workstream. Other activities included in my practice are administering neuropsychological assessments and offering one-to-one and couple psychological therapy with an integrative approach tailored to people’s needs. I am also involved in research; I have been the UK National Investigator for an international project titled “Developing a UK specific Driving and Dementia Decision Aid for individuals living with dementia”, and from 2021 I collaborate with the National Institute of Health and Science on Aging – INRCA-IRCCS in various projects.
As a psychotherapist I volunteered for Age UK in Stockport and Manchester – home based counselling and psychotherapy service – and I successfully helped older adults with psychological issues such as anxiety, social phobia, bereavement, etc.