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Certification Program


Gestalt Play Therapy with Children and Adolescents

**Effective January 1st, 2022**



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 $400 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.

    • $400 USD application fee. The fee will be returned in full if the application is not accepted


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

  • 108 hours training programs specific to Gestalt Therapy with Children and Adolescents. Candidates to the WCI Certification program are to have completed the 60 hour Basic/Intermediate Program through West Coast Institute and a minimum of one Advanced Course through WCI OR an equivalent with one of the endorsed training programs.

  • Several of WCIs trainings/workshops are offered on-line and all candidates are encouraged to participate in WCI trainings, workshops and/or consultations. (certificates of completion are needed with application).

  • 50 hours of consultation specific to Gestalt Therapy with Children and Adolescents with a  WCI Certified Therapist or one approved by WCI Directors. Documentation of that consultation must be attached and signed by consultant(s). Twenty-five hours of group consultation is also accepted as part of the 50 required hours. Two hours of group consultation qualifies for 1 hour of individual.

  • Demonstration of theoretical competence by responding to essay questions. A reading list of resources expected to be read will be provided. Candidates determines when he/she is ready for the essay topics. Topics for discussion will be provided and candidate is to complete and return essays with a given time. Candidate is under his/her honor for the completion of the theoretical essays.

  • Case presentation. Candidate is to write a narrative account of a recent child/adolescent course of therapy indicating your use of the Gestalt/Oaklander approach and the use of projective techniques and integrative processes. An outline for that presentation will be provided for those candidates who complete the theoretical essays.

  • It is recommended that candidates 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 self 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.

Certified faculty of WCI and Certified International Professionals are available for consultation. See certified professionals below.

Certification Program Coordinator: Felicia Carroll, LMFT

"I am now an Associate INSTRUCTOR!!! The entry standard is very high, similar to those with WCI. I had to go through numerous levels of tests and assignments. I also had to compete with all the candidates who were Ph.D. holders. It is my Certification with WCI that gave me the edge. It also has prepared me to begin my teaching. I am so excited! Thank you for your support in getting through!"

- DW. WCI Certified 2021


Our purpose is to provide the highest quality training for effective Gestalt Therapy with children and adolescents to all trainees at WCI and to support those who commit to attaining even higher standards of professional development. The WCI Certification is not a licensure to provide mental health services. Candidates must meet any and all requirements of any state or regional regulations or laws for professional credentials in order to provide psychotherapeutic services. The Certification Program Director and the Faculty of West Coast Institute for Gestalt Therapy with Children and Adolescents, LLC will support the successful completion of the Certification Program by all candidates who select to meet all requirements. However, West Coast Institute for Gestalt Therapy with Children and Adolescents, LLC does not assure any candidate’s final approval and can decline to grant the Certification to any candidate. In such a case, the candidate will receive in writing the basis for that decision by the Certification Program Director. Candidates for Certification will be approved by the Certification Program Director and the Clinical Consultants. If during the review of the theoretical essays it is determined by the Certification Program Director that the responses are inadequate or not to the standards for Certification a candidate can write a second set of essays for no additional fees. In some cases, the candidate may be provided feedback and/or given suggestions for how to improve the candidate’s performance. Additional consultation/training may be recommended for approval. The candidate is financially responsible for any expenses incurred for additional consultation/training.  



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 WCI Certification process. You can contact each at there contact below. Many of these certified professionals have started training programs and Institutes in their respective locations. WCI is proud to recommend them and their trainings.

*** Felicia Carroll, LMFT and RPT-S (see bio in faculty section)


*** Valente Orozco, LCSW and RPT-S (see bio in faculty section) 


*** Stephanie Pawlowicz, LMFT (see bio in faculty section)

*** Denise Richman, MS, LMFT (see bio in faculty section)


*** 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. 


*** 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. 


*** 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. 


*** 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.


*** Sock Kuan Lee (Singapore) Sock Kuan Lee, MSSC, is a Registered Counsellor and Clinical Supervisor with Singapore Association of Counsellors. She has been working with children, couples, and families in a community setting and a private practice after completing her Masters in Counselling at Edith Cowan University. Besides her clinical practice, Sock Kuan also supervises and trains therapists, social workers and volunteers. She is also a Certified Practitioner in Therapeutic Play Skills with Play Therapy International.


*** Andrea Acosta Sarasola (Uruguay) Andrea is a licensed clinical psychologist and LMFT with a Ph.D. degree is Gestalt Psychotherapy, Eneagram and Somatick movement. She works both in private practice with children, adolescents, adults, and families. As an Educational Psychologist she works in kindergarten, school and high schools. She has community experience in working with critical context populations, domestic violence and suicide prevention. She has extensive training Uruguay and the United States in Gestalt Therapy and Gestalt Play Therapy with children and adolescents. She is the first South American to complete the WCI Certification Program. She gives training, workshops, and supervision in Montevideo and Costa de Oro, Uruguay. She is a happy mother of a two beautiful boys who are WCI Professors of organismic integration.


*** Susana Millan Cruz (Mexico) Susana is the head and founder of Instituto de Terapio Gestalt para ninos y adolescents, a Gestalt Therapy Institute for training therapists under the Oaklander Approach in Leon, Mexico. She holds a Master’s degree in Gestalt Therapy. She has studied in the United States with various teachers in Gestalt Therapy with Children and Adolescents, including Violet Oaklander, as well as in Mexico. She is actively involved on government commissions to improve the lives of children in Mexico.


*** Seema Ashroff Omar (Sri Lanka) Seema has been a professional counselor in Colombo, Sri Lanka for over seven years. She holds a Master’s of Arts degree in Applied Psychology from Annamalai University, India. She specializes in working with parent education and counseling, as well as conducting workshops and trainings for counselors. She has studied in the United States with various teachers in Gestalt Therapy with Children and Adolescents, including Violet Oaklander. She has a special focus on art and drama and dance as a means of therapeutic expression and resilience building.


*** Dr. Giandomenico Bagatin (Italy) Dr. Giandomenico Bagatin, is a Gestalt psychotherapist, trainer, and supervisor in Trieste, Italy. He teaches at Gestalt training programs in Trieste, Florence, and Barcelona. His first book publication came out in 2015. Giando has been a leader in Gestalt Therapy Associations as well as psychological associations in Italy.


*** Leeseon Choi, Ph.D. (South Korea) is a Gestalt Psychotherapist in private practice in South Korea. She has specialized in training in Counseling and Educational Psychology in Sookmyung Women’s University. She spent many years working with children, adolescents, and their families in school settings and private practice. She has taught graduate level courses at major graduate institutions. She is also a Theraplay Certified practitioner, training trainer, supervisor international.


*** Hyunjung Shin, Ph. D, RPT (South Korea) teaches and supervises student on child/adolescent psychotherapy as a university professor. She has been published in books on conducting qualitative research focused on the phenomena related to therapeutic approaches as Gestalt and Theraplay, as well as human development. She has been working with children, adolescents, and parents in private practice as well as conducting training and supervision in Theraplay and Gestalt Therapy with children and adolescents. she is a Certified Theraplay trainer and a WCI Certified Gestalt Therapist with Children and Adolescents.


*** Claudia Clair Pasa Tessari (Brazil) Graduated in Psychology at the University of Caxias do Sul- UCS-Caxias do Sul / RS, specialist in Clinical Psychology at CFP, Gestalt Therapist since 2000, studious of Familienstellen. Internationally certified by the West Coast Institute as Gestalt Child and Youth Therapist. Director and founding partner of the Re-Criar Center for Advanced Studies in Medicine and Psychology, where she works as a pedagogical coordinator and teacher.


Clínica Tessari where she works as a clinical psychologist serving children, adolescents, adults and their families. She coordinates therapeutic and clinical supervision groups. She teaches courses in Gestalt Therapy, ventures into writing collaborating with articles and collaborates as a free teacher in training and graduate courses, is a daughter, sister, wife and aunt.

*** Doreen Wong, (Singapore), MSc is a Certified Gestalt Therapist with Children and Adolescents with West Coast Institute (WCI) for Gestalt Therapy with Children and Adolescents. She is a registered counsellor with the Singapore Association of Counseling and a Clinical Member with the Association for Play Therapy. Doreen has been an educator for more than 20 years where she works as a counsellor with the local government agency. She has extensive experience working with families and community agencies. Her research interests include neurobiology and the science of the mind. 

*** Ng Sook Wai (Singapore)  is a Registered Clinical Supervisor and Counsellor with Singapore Association for Counseling and Association of Play Therapy (Singapore). She has been providing therapy services to families, children and youths impacted by abuse, mental health issues, attachment injuries and trauma since 2007. Sook Wai currently heads the Therapy & Psychological Services Unit which she started in 2021.  Her focus is on supervision to therapists, social workers and psychologists and to extend therapy services to children, youths and families within the community setting. She was the Centre Head of HEART@Fei Yue Child Protection Specialist Centre up to 2023. Sook Wai received her Masters in Counseling from Edith Cowan University and is a Certified Practitioner in Therapeutic Play Skills with Play Therapy International. 

*** Guemwoon Kim, Psy. D, (South Korea) is Founder & Program Director of Saemsotneun Children & Adolescents Counseling Center.  She is a Registered Play Therapist, Registered Counseling Psychologist, Certified Developmental Psychologist (South Korea) and a Certified Gestalt Therapist & Supervisor by the Korea Gestalt Counseling Psychological Association. Geumwoon served as the 2016 President of the Korea Gestalt Counseling Psychological Association and has been a member of Board Directors of Korea Association for Play Therapy since 2015. 

Geumwoon has given lectures on ‘Gestalt Therapy’ and ‘Gestaly Play Therapy’ at the Korea Association for Play Therapy, ‘Gestalt Therapy with Children & Adolescents,’ and ‘Gestalt Group Therapy with Children & Adolescents’ at the the Korea Gestalt Counseling Psychological Association.  Geumwoon translated P. Clakson’s ‘Fritz Perls’ and L. Blom’s ‘Gestalt Play Therapy’ in Korean with a colleague. 

Geumwoon currently works in private practice in Gwangju, South Korea and offers training, supervision and consultation in Gestalt Therapy with adults, adolescents, and children.  She works with children and their parents as a Family Court Counselor and with teachers as a Professional Counselor at the Teacher Healing Support Center of the Office of Education.    

***Ricardo Arturo Escobar Gamboa, MCT, MCAFV, LCP (Mexico) Ricardo is a licensed clinical psychologist, with a master's degree in Child Abuse and Family Violence, and another in Child Therapy. He is the founder and director of the National Association for Attention to Children, Adolescents and Family (ANAF, for its acronym in Spanish), an institution dedicated to bringing together mental health professionals from different parts of the country and training therapists specialized in therapy with children, adolescents and their families. He has organized and participated in different national and international conferences, in addition to teaching seminars, courses and lectures in diploma courses, workshops, certifications and postgraduate degrees (master's and doctorate), on issues of developmental psychology, trauma, grief, loss and Gestalt Play Therapy. He currently works as a play therapist in private practice and as a supervisor at ANAF's Child Therapy Center in Zacatecas, Mexico. His line of work and research is mainly focused on the evaluation and repair of complex trauma in children and adolescents. 

*** Debbie Chen-Lin (Singapore) holds a Master of Arts in Counselling from Singapore Bible College and received a clinical award in Child Therapy at her graduation. She is a Registered Counselor with the Singapore Association for Counselling, a Professional Member of the Association for Play Therapy (Singapore) and a Member of EMDR Singapore. Her Certification in Gestalt Therapy with Children & Adolescents by WCI is opening doors for her to coach, train & supervise others.” As a counselor in private practice with cross-cultural experience, she works with adults, children & teens, couples and families. Her interest areas include anxiety, depression, trauma, grief, debriefing of cross-cultural workers & expatriates, pre-marital preparation, marital enrichment & parenthood coaching from a growth perspective.”

*** Sanja Obaha Brodnjak (Slovenia) holds a Master of Marriage and Family Studies, specializing in Psychotherapy. Sanja is the Founder and CEO of Družinski inštitut OBJEM (Family Institute HUG) in Slovenia.   She has dedicated her career to working with children, adolescents, and their families. She previously served as CEO of a Family and Youth Center, responsible for psychosocial programs and counseling services. She is the author and leader of the "Giants of Hope" program, an individual mentoring initiative for children and youth at psychosocial risk, and the "Pitfalls of Growing Up" program, which focuses on psychosocial development for youth and youth workers. 

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

- Valente Orozco, LCSW

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