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Cyndy Sheldon, MSW

Cyndy 12-2020.jpg
Passionate About Gestalt Therapy

This holistic approach I follow implies "a way of life", which is the case with Gestalt, which has similarities to indigenous ways and larger philosophical systems. Finding balance in the here and now, personally and in our families and organizations, helps keep us alive and healthy.


My Background

My adult life began in the 1960s, when I went to social work graduate school in Berkeley California. Little did I know I'd be on the periphery of a student revolution, or working at the Navy Hospital during Vietnam with many young military men who became seriously disturbed. These events impacted my life a great deal.

From there I trained in Gestalt Therapy by one of the founders, Fritz Perls and his colleague, Jim Simkin. At the suggestion of Dr. Perls, I co-founded, with three colleagues, the original Gestalt Institute of San Francisco in 1967, where I taught until 1990. I was also trained in family and couples therapy, using a model developed by Virginia Satir, Reichian therapy, Kohutian and Object Relations work, and many other approaches throughout the years. Gestalt remained my primary approach because of its comprehensive philosophy and its focus on growth rather than illness.

Click here to learn more about The Original Gestalt Institute of San Francisco 1967-1995.

A natural outgrowth of doing this work is teaching it, which I have done for as many years as well. In addition to teaching Gestalt to therapists at centers in the US and abroad, I have taught family therapy, developing a unique framework for working with couples.

In the 1990s I was drawn to Arizona's spiritual center, Sedona, and the Navajo Nation, where I worked part-time at the Indian Health Center. Here I helped bring Navajo culture back to the people through traditional wellness conferences, promoted the hiring of medicine men and women at the health centers, and created opportunities for Navajo elders to feel useful to one another and the younger generations. During these 10 years I taught Native American social workers, through a pilot program at Arizona State University, and became immersed in the Navajo culture, which was a profound and wonderful experience for me, especially since some of the Navajo philosophy is similar to that of Gestalt Therapy Theory.

In addition to doing and teaching Gestalt for almost 50 years, I have been consulting with groups, agencies and businesses over the years, offering ways to improve the work environment through a class titled "Healing the Workplace" and facilitating groups and strategic planning.

I relocated to Bellingham Washington in 2006.

Professional History
  • MSW - Masters in Social Work

  • CL - Certified Counselor, Washington State, 2010

  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker California 1965-91 and in Arizona 1992-2006

  • BCD - Board Certified Diplomate, American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work

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