Our line of research


  • From 2001 onwards, the Institute has been pursuing a line of research initiated by Professor Daniel Stern of Geneva University on the scientific connections between intersubjectivity and Gestalt therapy. The results of this research have been published in the following works: Stern D., Bruschweiler-Stern N., Harrison A., Lyons-Ruth K., Morgan A., Nahum J., Sander L., Tronick E. (2000). Lo sviluppo come metafora della relazione, in: Quaderni di Gestalt, XVI, 30/31, pp. 6-21; Stern D. N. (2006). L’implicito e l’esplicito in psicoterapia, in Spagnuolo Lobb M (Eds.), L’implicito e l’esplicito in psicoterapia. Atti del Secondo Congresso della Psicoterapia Italiana, with DVD, Milan: FrancoAngeli, pp. 28-35; Stern D. N. and the Boston Change Process Study Group (2003). On the Other Side of the Moon: The Importance of Implicit Knowledge for Gestalt Therapy, in: Spagnuolo Lobb M., Amendt-Lyon N. (Eds.). “Creative license: The Art of Gestalt Therapy”, Vienna and New York:Springer, pp. 21-35.
  • In 2008, the Institute expanded its research interests to include the study of primary relationships, under the supervision of Professor Elizabeth Fivaz-Depeursinge of the Lausanne School of Medicine, who founded the “Lausanne Trialogue Play” research method. The aim of this research is to compare the classical LTP dimensions with some relational dimensions that are intrinsic to the epistemology of Gestalt psychotherapy. The Institute has organized training sessions on the Lausanne method, which were also attended by members of faculty of local universities. Later, the Institute established a permanent research group on the observation of conflict management at the contact boundary between family members. The group is currently elaborating an observation tool for the modified LTP situation with a conflict element. The outcomes of this research have been presented at national and international congresses. If you wish to participate in this research group, please write to Dr. Susanna Marotta – [email protected]
  • Starting in 2005, the Institute has been engaged in the study of contemporary pathologies. This line of research has led to numerous publications, including Francesetti G. et al. (Eds.) (2007), Panic attacks and postmodernity. Gestalt therapy between clinical and social perspectives, Milan: Franco Angeli; Francesetti G. et al. (Eds.) (2012), Gestalt Therapy in Clinical Practice. From Psychopathology to the Aesthetics of Contact, Milan: Franco Angeli; and Francesetti G. and Roubal J.(2013), Gestalt Therapy Approach to Depressive Experiences. In Francesetti G., Gecele M., Roubal J., Gestalt Therapy in Clinical Practice. From Psychopathology to the Aesthetics of Contact, Milan: Franco Angeli. The Institute has been participating since 2008 in an international research project on the efficacy of Gestalt psychotherapy in the treatment of the panic disorder. The method used in this project has been described by Francesetti in the abovementioned books. If you wish to participate in this research group, please write to [email protected]
  • In 2009, we started a fruitful scientific exchange with Professor Vittorio Gallese of Parma University, with the aim of confirming one of the basic hypotheses of Gestalt. According to the Gestalt approach, therapy is successful when it provides support to the patient’s intentionality. Thus, we aim to confirm the idea that the core therapeutic element is represented by the energy and vitality that the patient “offers” to the therapist. This line of research is being conducted through the study of Gestalt psychology and of video-recorded therapy sessions. If you wish to participate in this research group, please email us at [email protected]
  • Finally, starting in 2010, the Institute has been working on the definition of Gestaltic relational dimensions, in order to come up with a diagnostic tool that can help detect risk and resilience factors in interactions. Such tool should be applicable to a variety of clinical and evaluation settings. If you wish to join this research group, please email us at [email protected]

Research agreements with universities and other institutions

The Institute has been part of official research partnerships with other universities and institutions in Italy and abroad since 2008. The constant supervision of our scientific coordinator, Professor Angela Maria Di Vita, helps us maintain academic rigour and effectively ensure the connection between clinical research and theory development.

  • In 2008, the Institute entered into a research Cooperation Agreement with the Psychological Counselling Department of Moscow City Psychological and Education University. The two institutions are currently jointly working on some research protocols on primary family relationships.
  • In 2009, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the Psychology research group of the Educational Processes Department (directed by Professor Di Nuovo) of Catania University. The partnership focuses on research in the field of perception in primary triadic relationships from a Gestalt perspective.
  • Also in 2009, the Institute concluded a collaboration agreement with the Turin School of Management (S.A.A.) for the organization of advanced training courses.
  • In 2010, the Institute signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Psychology Department of Palermo University. The Memorandum concerns research and intervention projects to be carried out on the topic of primary triadic family interactions.
  • Also in 2010, the Institute renewed an agreement with the Catania University PhD programme in Humanities and Conservation of Cultural Heritage (directed by Professor Savoca) for the organization of seminars on Psychology and Literature.
  • Finally, the Institute has signed accreditation agreements with Catania University and “Kore” University of Enna for its undergraduate and graduate internship programmes.

The Institute also collaborates with the following institutions:

  • Interdisciplinary Department for European Studies (DISEUR), Catania University, directed by Prof. Savoca: collaboration with the department’s PhD programme;
  • Clinical Neuroscience Department (directed by Prof. La Barbera), Graduate School of Psychiatry, Palermo University: didactic and scientific exchange for students enrolled in the University’s residency training programme in Psychiatry;
  • Interdepartmental Centre for Educational Research (directed by Prof. Di Vita), Palermo University: organization of study seminars;
  • Catholic University of Milan: organization of study conferences.