top of page

Doctorate in Gestalt Psychotherapy

General information and rationale:

The Doctorate in Gestalt Psychotherapy programme, is accredited by the MFHEA, MQF Level 8, part-time programme carried out over a timeframe of 4 scholastic years.

Modern society requires scientific verification of theory and practice for all helping professions including psychotherapy. In this respect it is required from psychotherapy to provide empirical support for the effectiveness of the therapeutic interventions and to develop, the so called, evidence based-treatments. Psychotherapy did a lot in this field throughout the past several decades. However, in order to accomplish that goal fully, psychotherapy needs adequate academic programmes that can facilitate the development of practitioners with a critical attitude and Research-orientation, able to give relevant contributions to psychotherapy theory and practice within specific approaches to psychotherapy.

On an individual level there is also a need for advanced education in specific approaches in gestalt psychotherapy. Such academic programmes do build on previous specializations, personal experience and knowledge and are adequate for highly specialised professionals in gestalt psychotherapy practice.

Professional doctorates with a taught component are specialist qualifications aimed at professional development in specific areas. As such these programmes represent just the right measure between theory and practice, science and everyday life, and offer the possibility for the development of specific professions in the direction defined both by society's and by the individual's needs.

The professional doctorate in Gestalt psychotherapy programme is carefully designed to offer both contemporary knowledge in Gestalt psychotherapy as well as practical knowledge in the research in this field. On the society level it offers education of the highest level to practitioners of Gestalt psychotherapy and a tool for further improvement of Gestalt psychotherapy practice. On an individual level it offers the possibility for personal growth and further development in the specific area of the chosen profession.

Course outline (Modules):

  1. Contemporary debates in gestalt psychotherapy theory and methodology 1

  2. Qualitative research

  3. Academic writing 1

  4. Practicum 1 - Supervision in small groups

  5. Qualitative research in practice

  6. Practicum 2 - Gestalt psychotherapy and specific subpopulations

  7. Contemporary debates in gestalt psychotherapy theory and methodology 2

  8. Practicum 3 - Peer supervision groups

  9. Quantitative research

  10. Academic writing 2

  11. Quantitative research in practice

  12. Practicum 4 - Personal psychotherapy

  13. Publishing qualitative research article

  14. Publishing quantitative research article

  15. Doctoral thesis proposal

  16. Doctoral thesis research preparations

  17. Conducting a research for the doctoral thesis

  18. Doctoral thesis

General pedagogical procedures:

Delivery of this course will primarily use enquiry-based learning; however, this is blended with direct instruction and cooperative learning. Thus, lectures are combined and followed by active learning in order to engage students to participate and involve themselves in the learning process. In modules where there is no taught component self-learning and hands-on hours are always covered by mentoring or supervising in order to facilitate learning and resolve emerging dilemmas as early as possible.


EAGTI-GPTIM finds it very important that every student has the possibility to show/present his/her knowledge and what was learnt experientially. In order for this to reflect the different styles and strengths of students together with areas for further growth, a variety of methods are used. All assessment methods value creativity and reflectivity and assess both theoretical knowledge as well as its application in practical assignments. Since the programme is at a doctoral level, discussion and critical opinion is expected, rather than merely reproducing learnt material.

Lecturers and speakers:

Bertram Muller 

Gianni Francesetti MD

Emilija Stoimenova Canevska PhD

Jan Roubal PhD

Jean-Marie Robine PhD

Lidija Pecotic PhD

Margherita Spagnuolo Lobb Dott.ssa

Michael Vincent Miller PhD

Peter Schulthess MSc

Talia Bar-Yoseph Levine PhD

Thomas Moore PhD

Dan Bloom JD, LCSW

Ivana Vidakovic PhD

Mira Klarin PhD

Total number of ECTS for course completion

181 ECTS




Article 1

1. The Regulations on Doctoral studies at the EAPTI-GPTIM (hereinafter referred to as: Regulations) regulate the setting up and implementation of Doctoral study programs at the EAPTI-GPTIM, NCFHE 2014-HFI-020, the institution responsible for the study, forms and duration of study, enrolment requirements, manner of implementation of study, teaching and research, procedure for proposing, evaluating and defending the doctoral dissertation, rights and obligations of the doctoral candidate in doctoral programs (hereinafter referred to as: doctoral candidate), methods of quality measurement, as well as other questions related to the setting up and implementation of doctoral studies.

2. The Regulations set down the minimum conditions for the activities listed in Paragraph 1 of this Article.

Article 2

The meaning of specific terms in the context of these Regulations: 

1. The European Accredited Psychotherapy Training Institute – Gestalt Psychotherapy Training Institute Malta (EAPTI-GPTIM) is fully recognized and officially accredited as a Higher Education Institution by the National Commission for Further and Higher Education (NCFHE) within the Ministry of Education of Malta and is licensed by it as 'Higher Education Institution'. EAPTI-GPTIM is responsible for the implementation of the Doctoral study program which is fully accredited by the NCFHE, and of supporting doctoral students towards concluding the procedure of earning a Doctorate in Gestalt psychotherapy.

2. The Doctoral Study Council is the body in charge of the Doctoral Study Program. The composition of the Doctoral Study Council is determined by EAPTI-GPTIM.

3. The Doctoral Study Council is responsible for evaluation of the dissertation topic, for appointments of the mentor, for evaluation of the dissertation, and the Dissertation viva.

4. The Mentor is a holder of a PhD, Doctorate, or any teaching or research rank who directs the Doctoral candidate in his or her work on the Dissertation.

5. The Doctoral Candidate Portfolio is a Portfolio containing all the relevant information on the Doctoral candidate from enrolment into Doctoral Studies to graduation.  

The EAPTI-GPTIM is responsible for collecting and filing data in the Portfolio.

6. The Dissertation Approval Committee is the Committee appointed by the Doctoral Study Council in order to consider, process and approve the Dissertation topic and who the Mentor will be.

7. The Committee for Dissertation Evaluation is the committee appointed by the Doctoral Study Council in order to evaluate and assess the completed Dissertation.

8. The Dissertation Defense Committee is the committee set up to follow the Defense process of the Dissertation and is appointed by the Doctoral Study Council.


Article 3

1. Doctoral studies at EAPTI-GPTIM are founded in the practical, research and theoretical areas of Gestalt Psychotherapy.

2. EAPTI-GPTIM Doctoral studies can be founded and implemented only in the areas in which the EAPTI-GPTIM is responsible.

3. The basic characteristics of Doctoral studies at the EAPTI-GPTIM are: personal growth and development in the specific area of interest through personal therapy and supervision; applied and experiential learning through research-related placements; taught and applied aspects of quantitative and qualitative research; refining academic writing skills; remaining up to date with existing contemporary research literature and methodologies; producing, presenting and publishing doctoral level articles and literature; adopting an interdisciplinary and international approach; having a stance motivated by ensuring highest quality level and transparency.




Article 4

The goals of EAPTI-GPTIM Doctoral Study Program are: 

1. the generation of new and relevant knowledge, insight and practices, as well as application there of;

2. education of researchers and experts in the chosen area;

3. enabling doctoral candidates to pursue an independent, research-based and interdisciplinary approach to problems, to conduct research independently, and to critically evaluate the work of others;

4. the acquisition of knowledge, experience and skills which must enable Doctorate students to approach the solving of complex problems creatively and research based.




Article 5

1. The central component of the EAPTI-GPTIM Doctoral Study Program is scientific research applied to Gestalt Psychotherapy practice.

2. The mandatory formats of work in the Doctoral Study Program are research seminars, workshops and discussion groups, designed for the purpose of critical thinking, acquisition of methodology and acquisition of generic skills and of developing research work under mentorship.





Article 6

1. Enrolment prerequisites, professional and financial, are determined by the Doctoral Study Council in accordance with existing regulations. In order to be the Doctorate student at EAPTI GPTIM all prerequisites must be met.

2. A public call for application for enrolment to the doctoral study is published at least a month before the beginning of classes, and the criteria for evaluating the applicants will follow existing regulations. Interview with the applicant is an obligatory part of the enrolment procedure. At the time of enrolment, all the necessary conditions for completion of study in the allotted period need to be clearly defined.

3. Enrolment quotas are determined on the basis of availability of research, teaching and mentorship capacities.

4. If the doctoral candidate’s quality of work is assessed in annual evaluation procedures carried out by the Doctoral Studies Council as unsatisfactory, the Council can determine on the forfeiture of the candidate’s right to continue his or her studies.




Article 7

A person can be appointed Mentor if he or she:


1. is a holder of a PhD, Doctorate, or any teaching or research rank who directs the Doctoral candidate in his or her work on the Dissertation, or an equivalent rank if the potential mentor earned an academic rank abroad;

2. is professor emeritus, or the decision on mentorship is made by the Doctoral Study Council of the EAPTI-GPTIM.


​Article 8

1. The Doctoral Study Council determines the number of doctoral candidates a Mentor can supervise at the same time.

2. A Mentor who is not a member of EAPTI-GPTIM needs to sign an agreement of cooperation and responsibility with the Director of the EAPTI-GPTIM.

3. A teacher of EAPTI-GPTIM may serve as a Mentor at another Institution, if granted permission by EAPTI-GPTIM.

4. A Mentor who assumed mentorship before retirement can serve as a Mentor until the Doctoral candidate’s completion of study, with the consent of the Doctoral Study Council.

5. For the purpose of assuring the quality of the Dissertation, a dual mentorship is required, in the case of interdisciplinary research, or conduct of research at different institutions.




Article 9

1. The Mentor is required to direct and support the Doctoral candidate over the course of the work on the Dissertation, monitor the quality of his or her work, encourage him or her to publish, and enable him or her to participate in research projects.

2. If there is a dual Mentors, each one takes on the responsibility of a part of the research and a part of the procedure of working on the Dissertation, as agreed upon at the outset.

3. The Mentor is required to fill in and submit to Doctoral Study Council: 

Annual Mentor’s Report on the work of the Doctoral candidate. 


Article 10

1. The Doctoral candidate is required to submit to the Doctoral Study Council a report on his or her work including a research presentation, using the EAPTI-GPTIM Form: 

Request for Approval of the Dissertation Topic and appointment of a Mentor

2. The Doctoral candidate has a right to change the mentor or the topic only once, on submission of a written request and a statement by the person who has acted as Mentor hitherto, using the EAPTI-GPTIM form: 

Request for Change of Topic and/or Mentor.





Article 11

1. The Dissertation is a research work subject to public scholarly evaluation.

2. The Dissertation can be written in the English language or in another language.

3. The title, abstract and key words of the Dissertation have to be written, in addition to the original, in the English language. The abstract should allow understanding of the Dissertation objectives, methods of research, results and conclusions. 

4. The graphic layout of the Dissertation is regulated by the EAPTI-GPTIM as per document:

Dissertation Layout Guidelines.





Article 12

1. In the first and second year of the Doctoral program, several modules prepare students towards beginning to reflect on what areas they are interested in researching in the field of Gestalt Psychotherapy. Through the various modules, they will be encouraged to develop research questions, research themes, and to begin looking for literature in related areas. 

2. By the time students begin their third year of Doctoral studies, they will already have a clearer idea of what topic and area of specialization, they would want to research. 

3. During the fifth semester of the Doctoral Study a student will specify the topic of interest and propose the mentor by filling and submitting to the EAPTI-GPTIM the form: 

Request for Approval of the Dissertation Topic and for the appointment of a Mentor.


4. The Doctoral candidate initiates the procedure of the Doctoral Dissertation topic approval by submitting a request, which contains general information of the Doctoral candidate, the curriculum vitae, bibliography, title of the proposed topic, information on the proposed mentor and his competences, explanation of the topic, an anticipated original scholarly contribution of the research proposed and a statement that the Doctoral candidate has not submitted a Dissertation proposal with an identical topic at another Centre of study.

The request for approval of the proposed Dissertation topic is submitted together with the request for the appointment of a Mentor, through the EAPTI-GPTIM form: 

Request for Approval of the Dissertation Topic and the appointment of a Mentor.

5. The Doctoral Study Council appoints a Dissertation Approval Committee for the evaluation of the Dissertation topic and Mentor appointment proposal. The Committee includes three members, with at least one member who is neither a teacher at the doctoral study nor employee of the constituent part that is the institution responsible for the study. The proposed mentor cannot be appointed chair of the committee.

6. The Dissertation Approval Committee then commences its own topic evaluation and Mentor appointment proposal. It recommends an evaluation of the original scholarly contribution, organizational feasibility of the proposed research, and confirms a Mentor. This recommendation is made formal by filling in the EAPTI-GPTIM form: 

Dissertation Approval Committee – Evaluation of the Dissertation Topic 

and passing it on to the Doctoral Study Council, no later than three months after submission of the request.

7. The Doctoral Study Council must respond to the recommendation of the Dissertation Approval Committee for topic evaluation and Mentor appointment by the end of the sixth semester. The Council gives its decision on approval through the formal process of filling in the EAPTI-GPTIM report: 

Doctoral Study Council – Decision on Approval of the Dissertation Topic

8. All scientific research with human beings must be carried out in accordance with regulations and obtain consent of the Ethics Committee of the constituent part or the EAPTI-GPTIM, as well as consent of the institution where the research is conducted, consent of all the research subjects individually, if they can give it, or of their proxies or legal representatives.





Article 13

1. Before the evaluation procedure of the Dissertation is initiated, it needs to be proved that the Doctoral candidate has fulfilled all the academic and financial obligations required by the study program. The Doctoral candidate is expected to present proof of having fulfilled all the above mentioned obligations to the Doctoral Study Council before the evaluation procedure of the Dissertation is initiated.

2. The Dissertation, accompanied by the Mentor’s written approval and assessment of the research conducted and of achievement of original scholarly contribution, is handed in by the Doctoral candidate to the Doctoral Study Council. If the Mentor refuses the Dissertation, he or she must provide a written explanation of reasons for doing so within 15 days. In both cases, the Mentor’s explanation is sent to the members of the Committee for Evaluation of the Dissertation, who take it into consideration in the process of evaluation.  

3. For evaluation of the Dissertation, the Doctoral candidate needs to submit the work both in printed and bound form and in an electronic format both in Word and PDF. 

4. The Doctoral Study Council appoints a Committee for Dissertation Evaluation. The Committee for Dissertation Evaluation includes three evaluators, with at least one member who is neither a teacher at the doctoral study program nor employee of the constituent part that is the institution responsible for the study. The Mentor cannot be a member of the Committee for Dissertation Evaluation. 

5. Members of the Committee for Dissertation Evaluation must have at least: the research or teaching rank of assistant professor or the rank of research associate, or an equivalent rank if the potential mentor earned an academic rank abroad or the rank of scholarship relevant in the international scholarly community who published scholarly work in the last five years related to the topic of the Doctoral research or the rank of professor emeritus or the decision to be a member of the Committee is made by the Doctoral Study Council of the EAPTI-GPTIM.

6. Simultaneously with the appointment of the Committee for Dissertation Evaluation, EAPTI-GPTIM publicizes the title and abstract of the dissertation in English or other languages on its official Website, and enables supervised access to the Dissertation to the interested members of the expert public. Members of the Committee for Dissertation Evaluation as well as anyone who has been given access to the Dissertation must treat the data and insights from the Dissertation with confidentiality until the publication of the Dissertation evaluation, for the protection of the scholarly contribution of the Dissertation and intellectual property.

7.  The Committee for Dissertation Evaluation is required to present a written report including a Dissertation evaluation within two months after its appointment. The chair of the Committee prepares a report on the basis of the collected written opinions of committee members, and the report is signed by all committee members. 

8. The Committee for Dissertation Evaluation presents a report recommending one of following:

- acceptance of the dissertation with the statement on achievement of original scholarly;

- revision of the dissertation and an evaluation;

- rejection of the Dissertation, where the Doctoral candidate loses the right to earn Doctor in Gestalt Psychotherapy degree. An explanation is a mandatory part of the report.




Article 14

1. The Doctoral candidate can have the Dissertation defense, after the competent body has accepted a positive evaluation of the dissertation within two months at the latest.

2. The Doctoral Study Council appoints the Dissertation Defense Committee which will have five (5) evaluators. The Dissertation Defense Committee and the Committee for Dissertation Evaluation can be made up by the same members. The Mentor participates in the Dissertation defense procedure, but cannot participate in the evaluation process. 

3. The Dissertation Defense is public. An announcement of the public defense must be published at least 8 days before the defense. The defense must be held on the premises of the EAPTI-GPTIM, that is, of its constituent parts, in the language in which the dissertation is written. The defense procedure is regulated by a protocol.

4. The Dissertation Defense Committee brings forward an evaluation after the defense. The defense evaluation can be: ‘has been defended’ or ‘has not been defended’. The evaluation is passed with a majority vote of the members of the Dissertation Defense Committee.

5. A record is kept of the defense procedure in the English language, and if the defense is conducted in another language, the record is kept in that language with short summary in English language.

6. The Dissertation can be defended only once. 




Article 15

1. The Dissertation in its entirety is publicized on the Web pages of the EAPTI-GPTIM, no later than a month following the defense. 

2. The Dissertation in written form is filed in EAPTI-GPTIM Archives.



Article 16

1.  The Doctoral candidate earns the rights of Doctorate in Gestalt Psychotherapy, D. Psych (GT) on the day of the successful defense of the Dissertation.


2. Within a month following the defense the Doctoral candidate must submit a bound dissertation as well as its electronic version for publication on EAPTI-GPTIM web pages.

3. The Doctoral Diploma is handed to the doctoral candidate by the Director of EAPTI-GPTIM at a promotion ceremony, at which the Doctoral candidate is required to attend in person.




Article 17

1. The Doctoral Study Council is required to provide a detailed record on the research work and other fulfilled study obligations of each doctoral candidate, the Doctoral Candidate Portfolio. The Doctoral Study Council is required to consider the work load and achievement of the Mentor, as well as to keep a record on the number of Doctoral Candidates currently enrolled and the number of those who have defended their Dissertations.




Article 18

1. These Regulations will come into effect on the eighth day following the date of their publication on the web pages of the EAPTI-GPTIM.

2. These Regulations are supplemented by particular forms, and the Regulations mandate their usage.

3. Should constituent parts of the EAPTI-GPTIM bring forward regulations and other rules on doctoral studies these cannot be in opposition to these Regulations.




Forms to be filled in by the Doctoral student:


1. Request for Approval of the Dissertation Topic and appointment of a Mentor

Download pdf

2. Request for Change of the Dissertation Topic and/or Mentor/s

Download pdf

3. Progress report by the Doctoral candidate

Download pdf

Forms to be filled in by the Boards of Dissertation or Mentor/s:


4. Doctoral Study Council: 

Decision on Approval of the Dissertation Topic and Mentor appointment proposal  

(during the V semester)

Download pdf

5. Doctoral Thesis Proposal: 

Ethical Committee Approval  

(during the V semester)

Download pdf

6. Dissertation Committee: 

Committee for Professional Doctoral Thesis Proposal Report 

(submitted during the V semester)

Download pdf

7. Dissertation Committee: 

Evaluation of the Dissertation 

(submitted during the V semester)

Download pdf

8. Mentor:

Annual Mentor’s Progress Report of the Doctoral Candidate 

(submitted at the end of 6th semester)

Download pdf

Other documents providing guidelines:

9. Dissertation Layout Guidelines

Download pdf

10. EAPTIM-GPTIM Code of Ethics -


11. Doctoral Thesis Proposal Defence Procedure via Zoom Guidelines

Download pdf

bottom of page