West Coast Institute for Gestalt Therapy

with Children & Adolescents LLC

"Knowing What To Do and Why You Are Doing It."

540 Alisal Rd. Ste. 1
Solvang, CA 93463 USA
Certification Program
Gestalt Play Therapy with Children and Adolescents


To encourage and promote focused study and responsible practice of Gestalt theory and psychotherapy with children and adolescents as represented by the writings of Violet Oaklander, Ph. D. and other practitioners and trainers of Gestalt Therapy specializing in clinical work with children and adolescents. Upon verification of completion of the following minimal standards, the applicant will receive a certificate from the West Coast Institute designating the clinician as a Certified Gestalt Therapist with Children and Adolescents. Licensed (USA) / Certificated (International) professionals can enter into this program through the West Coast Institute. The process is self-paced and participants are responsible for completions and all documentation. This program requires demonstration of competence with both theory and clinical work by having completed the following.

Minimum Standards

  • Application with $350 USD administrative fee. Interested licensed or certified clinicians or counselors can submit an application which will include a statement of your experience and interest in being a Certified Gestalt Therapist with Children and Adolescents. Applicants need to include.
    • completed application form which will be sent upon request.
    • copy of current license or certification. Applicants must hold a credential qualifying them to provide counseling in the country where they practice.
    • current resume.
    • copies of certificates of training.
    • two letters of reference/recommendation from professionals familiar with your clinical work with children and adolescents.
    • $350 USD application fee. The fee will be returned in full if the application is not accepted

Accepted applicants will be supported to accomplish the following minimal standards. Applicants are encouraged to go beyond these minimal standards to continue to develop their theoretical understanding and clinical competence.

  • 85 hours of training programs by recognized trainers in Gestalt Therapy with Children and Adolescents. (certificates of completion are needed with application).
  • 50 hours of supervision by a recognized Gestalt Therapist (applicant is responsible for arranging and paying for supervision) Documentation of that supervision must be attached and signed by supervisor(s).
  • Demonstration of theoretical competence by responding to essay questions. A reading list of resources expected to be read will be provided. Applicant determines when he/she is ready for the examination. Topics for discussion will be provided and applicant is to complete and return essays with a given time. Applicant is under his/her honor for the completion of the theoretical essays.
  • Case presentation. Applicant is to write a narrative account of a recent child/adolescent course of therapy indicating your use of the Oaklander Model and the use of projective techniques and integrative processes. An outline for that presentation will be provided for those applicants who complete the theoretical essays.
  • It is recommended that applicants participate in Gestalt Therapy training by qualified Gestalt Therapy trainers/practitioners in addition to the above training hours required in Gestalt Therapy with children and adolescents.

Case Consultation

Case Consultation can provide an opportunity to develop a foundation in Gestalt theoretical principles and methods for clinical practice. The Gestalt perspective emphasizes the nature of the relational elf and the qualities of the therapeutic alliance. Gestalt Therapy offers the child therapist an alternative way of working relationally and creatively with her young clients. Gestalt Therapy continues to influence the theory and practice of most contemporary schools in psychotherapy as well as challenge the aassumptions of others. The fundamental principles of Gestalt Therapy are confirmed by attachment theory, relational neurobiology and neuroscience. The integration of these recent developments with contemporary Gestalt Therapy shape the perspective of the supervisory/consulting discussion.

There are currently over 20 participants in the Certification program of WCI.

All faculty of WCI are available for consultation through WCI. See Faculty tab.


There are many candidates who are well on their way toward completion and certification. It is the hope of everyone involved with WCI that many more will follow so that this theoretical and clinical approach will continue to have a voice within the field of child psychotherapy wherever children and families need our help.

These professionals who are certified Gestalt Therapists with Children and Adolescents are available to supervise / consult and coach others through the certification process. You can contact each through email.

Felicia Carroll, LMFT and RPT-S (see bio in faculty section) She can be reached through this website or fcarroll@west.net

Valente Orozco, LCSW and RPT-S (see bio in faculty section) He can be reached at vorozco@cloviscounseling.com

Stephanie Pawlowicz, LMFT (see bio in faculty section) She can be reached at stephaniepawlowicz@yahoo.com

Lee Weiser, Ph.D is a licensed clinical psychologist with a BS in Child Development and MA in Human Behavior and a Ph.D. degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Depth Psychology. She has specialized in training in expressive therapies and spent many years working with children, adolescents, and their families in school settings and private practice. She has been on the faculty and taught graduate level courses at major graduate institutions. She is a founding member of the VSOFoundation. She can be reached at: lweiser@me.com

Lillian Freeman, LCSW is in private practice in West Los Angeles. She has work for over 30 years with children, adolescents, and families. She has taught as adjunct faculty at major graduate institutions teaching the Treatment of Children. She has been a supervisor for 15 years with private interns. She is a founding member of the VSOFoundation. She can be reached at: lillianfreemanlcsw@earthlink.net

Patric White, Ph. D. is a Certified Gestalt Therapist in private practice in West Los Angeles He specializes in working with children, adolescents, and families. He provides supervision for interns and conducts training workshops on the Oaklander Approach to child therapy. He has been a consultant to numerous school districts in the mental health treatment of children within the school setting. He has worked with Violet Oaklander since 1979 and is a founding member of the VSOFoundation. He can be reached at Wpatricwhit@aol.com

Sarah Williams, PsyD, RPT-S is a licensed clinical psychologist, Registered Play Therapist Supervisor and Certified Gestalt Therapist with Children and Adolescents in Maui. She has completed postgraduate training courses with the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland and West Coast Institute for Gestalt Therapy with Children and Adolescents. A published author and founder of Lehualani Center, Dr. Williams has conducted presentations throughout the United States and internationally, most recently at the 11th annual GANZ Conference in Melbourne, Australia.

Denise Richman, MS, LMFT has expertise in somatic / movements and dramatic therapies as clinician and business management outreach and program development. She is a frequent presenter at Fox Studios child development center. She developed and presented the workshop fostering creativity in young children for parents who work at the studio. She is in private practice and is a workshop facilitator and guest lecturer. She is a Certified Gestalt Therapist with Children and Adolescents. She can be reached at ddb4@earthlink.net

Andrea Ximena Acosta Sarasola, Psychologist, is a Gestalt Psychologist in Montevideo, Uruguay specializing in Gestalt Therapy with children and adolescents. She has both in-patient and community experience. She has had extensive training in Uruguay and the United States with Post-Graduate studies in Gestalt Therapy. She is a happy mother of a beautiful boy who is a WCI teacher on organismic integration. Andrea can be contacted at www.gestalturuguay.com.

I am extremely proud of this designation. It means more to me than I can express at this time. The two year process has been invaluable in organizing and integrating so much theoretical and clinical information. Time and effort well-spent.

- Valente Orozco