The Empty Chair. Tales from Gestalt Therapy

Forthcoming. Pre-orderable now at karnacbooks.com or click on the image

empty chair

Stress, communication & humanitarians

There is an increasing focus on humanitarian workers and stress. In certain situations, such as humanitarian crises, people - including humanitarian workers themselves - can easily become stressed and their communication violent, which in turn may contribute to more stress and violence around them. However, this cycle can be broken with sufficient support and awareness.

At a workshop in June 2015, I facilitated self-care, group debrief and communication sessions for senior gender advisers deployed by the Norwegian Refugee Council. This paper presents and discusses their experiences of stress, communication, and Gestalt interventions.


“‘Are we becoming bullies?’ A case study of stress, communication, and Gestalt interventions among humanitarian workers,” British Gestalt Journal, Vol. 26 No. 1 (2017)

Short story: Nanima & Roger Toilet

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Roger bonds with his boyfriend’s grandmother, and both become Buddha. Read the full story at Gaylaxy

Two palm trees

Two palm trees, tall, stand beautiful,
The background a pure blue, not a single cloud to tarnish it,
The two almost of equal height, with similar crowns,
A symmetry and order, it feels good,
But there’s something off,
Something slightly frustrating,
I notice they’re not entirely straight.
Then I hear myself think straight
And I start thinking of you and me and our love,
And I find another kind of beauty in these two trees,
A spaciousness and softness unnoticed till now,
Just as they stand here, queer,
And I wonder if completely straight palms exist at all.

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”Two palm trees”, Gaylaxy Magazine, 21 February 2016

Orlando, mi amor

Orlando, mi amor,

I heard, about the shooting. Sorry I didn’t get in touch sooner.

They say the gunman had seen you kiss.

It made me think of us again. Those tentative first touches, your smell, hearts racing. But outside the bed so brutal, my silly rationalizations: Public displays of affection are just vulgar, I said, it’s not about being less gay. 

Lo siento, mi amor. Of course it was. About being less gay. About the terror. I was terrified when you tried to kiss me at the station.

And then te acuerdas, that time I fell asleep on the bus, my head resting on your shoulder? I woke up to an angry voice, I did wake up, that white guy yelling at us, perverts, burn in hell, you yelling back. Hearts racing. I kept my eyes shut, pretending to still be asleep, only later asking qué pasó?

Lo siento, mi amor. I’ve been so proud of you. And I’ve been so ashamed of myself, for not fighting more, fighting for our love. 

But now, writing this, I also see that eyes closed pretending to sleep, I at least remained with my head on your shoulder. At least I did that. While you yelled back. I hope you felt that. 

And next time we meet, Orlando, for old times’ sake, for a future, let’s do a public display of affection. Hell, I’ll even sing your favorite song. Bésame, bésame mucho.

Also published on
qvakk.com and other queer lit sites

“Orlando, mi amor” My reading at appr 01:57, Open Xpressions 29 June 2016