Gestalt Institute of Cleveland moves to Berea

The Gestalt Institute of Cleveland has relocated to Berea after years in University Circle, serving as a possible opportunity for BW students to further their interpersonal skills and experience personal growth.

Susan Van Vorst, dean of the Conservatory of Music and board member of the GIC, has seen firsthand the ways in which the GIC’s training is beneficial.

“What the Gestalt Institute has to offer for anybody who participates in its programming is really quite transformational,” said Vorst.

Vorst said her experience with the GIC has taught her about herself and how she communicates, while becoming more comfortable with being vulnerable.

The training encompasses self-exploration, self-reflection and awareness building, said Vorst. The communication skillsets that are taught take communication to a vulnerable and meaningful level.

“Once you go through that kind of training it changes you,” said Vorst. “I think you’re able to access a different level of authenticity in your interactions with people.”

The hope is to somehow find a way for BW and the GIC to collaborate.

The challenging part is trying to figure out what we want to offer and how to deliver that, said Vorst.

Shareefah Sabur, the executive director of the GIC, said put together a three-year proposal plan to develop a relationship with BW.

Sabur said that year one involves getting acquainted, year two is developing a joint program, and year three makes a decision about their affiliation. The plan is still in year one.

“I see it as a possibility,” said Sabur. “Actually, it’s one of the things that I think influenced us relocating here to Berea.”

Sabur has been working with Connie King, director of BW Professional Development, to offer GIC training through their platform.

However, the goal is to eventually go further than just giving students the option to sign up for GIC training.

Vorst said that she is more intrigued by the idea of integrating faculty, finding a way to infuse the GIC’s principles into BW.

Some possibilities could include classes taught by GIC faculty, said Vorst. Another option could be BW faculty participating in one of their programs.

The GIC offers a series of programs, training individuals through class lectures and working in groups of different sizes.

“It’s so special in that it’s so different from just putting knowledge in your head,” said Sabur. “It is creating awareness about yourself that you didn’t even know.”

The GIC’s mission statement is “generating powerful positive change in individuals, groups, organizations, and communities.”

After reading the mission statement, Vorst said that is “indeed what it does.”

Vorst has been through two of their major programs; the Gestalt Training Program and Physical Process.

“Totally changed my life,” said Vorst. “Game changer.”

Both Vorst and Sabur have hope for future collaboration between BW and the GIC.

“We have this mega resource sitting right next to us, what are we going to do about that?” said Vorst.