Gestalt therapy - Wikipedia
The goal of Gestalt therapy is to raise clients' awareness regarding how they All techniques used within the therapeutic relationship help clients to work. Martin Buber's existential philosophy of relationship and dialogue ("I - Thou"). experience of both the client and the therapist; furthermore, Gestalt therapy is . Gestalt therapy's techniques and attitude create a space in which the patient can . Gestalt therapists and their clients use creative and experiential techniques to the development of the therapeutic process and therapeutic relationship. The empty chair technique is a quintessential gestalt therapy.
In addition, the effect of the whole form cannot be achieved by simply describing the individual parts it holds keithyates. James Pomerantz, a professor at Rice University, concedes that translating this word into scientific terms is difficult and elusive.
Gestalt Therapy in Psychological Practice - Inquiries Journal
This vital formula fits well within the science of psychology: Gestaltists approach patients as whole products that are the result of various interacting systems, some evident and some not. For example, practitioners could consider aspects like temperament, personality, family history, beliefs, educationand cognitive processes of a particular patient and how those systems influence the whole that is seen.
A Note on Field Theory This therapy is based on the assumption that individuals can only be understood within the context of their continued relationship with the environment, an idea also known as field theory Corey, This scientific method rejects compartmentalization and unilinear, historical, cause-effect sequence Yontef, The notion of the field replaces the concept of discrete, isolated particles Yontef, Everything affects time and space in some way.
Further, what the patient directly sees and feels is considered more reliable for therapy than interpretation Yontef, Gestalt Versus More Traditional Theories How does this concept in psychology differ from other theories in psychological practice, such as behaviorism?
Gestalt Therapy in Psychological Practice
In psychoanalytic theory, behavior is caused by unconscious motivation which becomes manifest in the transference relationship. By analyzing the transference the repression is lifted, the unconscious becomes conscious. Gestalt psychology deems an action as only part of the whole—that certain factors were necessary in order to produce the visible result.
Gestalt therapy aims to help patients gain awareness of certain behaviors in order to change them and their outlook on life, whereas behaviorism focuses on observable behavior and changing that alone Corey, History and Influences Christian von Ehrenfels published his book On Gestalt Qualities in and used the term gestalt to describe a theory of perception within the field of psychology Woldt and Toman, InMax Wertheimer discussed his concepts of perceptual grouping and perception of movement consistent with the established gestalt tradition Woldt and Toman, Academics Fritz Perls and his wife Laura made a significant impact on Gestalt therapy starting in the s Wikipedia, Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality Wikipedia, Fritz and Laura ran it out of their Manhattan apartment Wikipedia, In the 50s and 60s, personal growth and human potential were emphasized within this framework Wikipedia, Existential phenomenology, Gestalt psychology, experiments, and other concepts have contributed to the development of Gestalt therapy.
It rose from its early stages in the s to flourishing popularity during the s and early s Wikipedia, Later on, the cognitive revolution and developments in behaviorism overshadowed Gestalt practices in psychology.
Traditionally, Gestalt therapists have spurned the demand for research to demonstrate the benefits of Gestaltism, and they have discounted the need to develop Gestalt theory and practice Wikipedia, However, many practitioners have renewed their interest in the implications for the application of Gestalt therapy. Concepts Unique to Gestalt Therapy What other characteristics and techniques achieve the gestalt of Gestalt therapy? Though not all ideas will be mentioned, the more significant concepts unique to Gestalt therapy will be discussed.
The Now The Gestalt approach holds that dwelling on the past and fantasizing about the future can be ways to avoid the present, and that there is power in facing the present Corey, For example, these questions are typical of a Gestalt therapy session: Existentialism Gestalt therapy has roots in existential philosophywhich attempts to address the condition of being human.
Existential therapy is applied to help people resolve dilemmas of contemporary life, to confront common feelings such as isolation, meaninglessness, confusion, uncertainty, or embarrassment Corey, Existential practice attempts to reconcile the limits and tragic elements of human existence with the possibilities and opportunities of human life Corey, Gestalt therapy, because it is existential in nature, is based on an understanding of what it means to be human Corey, Humans, then, are seen as self-aware beings, able to make choices.
Patients have freedom, but they are also assigned responsibility for actions and thoughts.
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They are challenged to take responsibility for how they choose to be now in the current moment Corey, Phenomenology is a discipline that helps patients stand aside from their usual way of thinking so that they can distinguish the difference between what is actually perceived and felt in the current situation and what is due to past events Yontef, Therapy that is both existential and phenomenological focuses on people's existence—relations with others, joys and suffering, and so on—as they are directly experienced.
In fact, Gestalt therapy treats feelings in the present and what is observed as palpable and pertinent data Yontef, Practitioner-Client Relationship Therapists have unique responsibilities when it comes to application of Gestalt psychology.
Because of its existential nature, the relationship is equal and person-to-person Corey, Laura Perls noted that the ideas of person and presence are more important than using techniques, and argued the client and therapist invent and create their relationship Corey, The client-therapist relationship, according to Coreymust be established before therapy commences, so that the client trusts the therapist. Trust is of paramount importance. Then, Corey notes, the client is likely to be able to achieve higher levels of awareness.
Therapists also need to be willing to express their reactions and observations as they occur, much like the patient is expected to do.
They provide helpful feedback. They are willing to explore existential episodes like fears and expectations with their clients Corey, Therapists are also viewed as artistic participants in the creative process Corey, Confrontation is a part of the client-therapist relationship in the Gestalt framework. Though the term sounds intimidating, confrontation is not an attack. It can be an invitation for clients to examine their behaviors, attitudes, and thoughts, and to notice incongruities between their verbal and nonverbal expressions Corey, Using this technique can be a chance for patients to learn more about themselves.
Themes that come up during these expressions are to be experienced in the here and now. The creative process, according to Zinkeris a chance for growth.
It is a problem-solving process. Unfinished Business When figures emerge from the background but are not completed or resolved, Gestalt therapists suspect that a person is left with unfinished business.
This is essentially unacknowledged or unvoiced feelings. They can manifest as grief, anxiety, guilt, anger, abandonment, and a host of other emotions. Because the client is not fully acknowledging what he or she experienced, the unfinished business lingers in the background and prevents the client from being fully self-aware. Gestaltists maintain that many times, when a person has unfinished business, unexpressed feelings result in some physical manifestation— nervous ticks or fidgeting, for instance Corey, Without frustrating or rescuing the patient, the therapist can present situations that evoke similar emotions, and then guide the person through them.
Dialogue The Gestalt therapist works by engaging in dialogue; contact with the client is straightforward but caring, warm, and accepting Yontef, Authenticity and candor between both parties is crucial.
Gestalt therapy, Yontef says, uses active techniques that clarify experience, and responsibility for the present is assigned to the patient.
When new patterns of thinking are introduced and practiced, healthy changes are possible. With the empty chair method, clients may locate a feeling or a side of themselves they had previously been denying; Corey notes that, rather than just talking about a conflicted feeling, clients are able to intensify the feeling and experience it wholly. The goal of this technique is acceptance of polarities and acknowledgment of conflicts that exist in everyone Corey, Attention to Body Language Body language is thought to be a subtle indicator of intense emotions.
When body language is noticed in sessions, many times the therapist asks the client to exaggerate a movement or tick. This is believed to intensify the feeling attached to the behavior, bring elucidation as to the inner meaning Corey, For instance, clenched fists, tight frowning, grimacing, crossed arms, or shaking hands may be highlighted in therapy.
What are you saying with this movement? Based initially on the insights of Gestalt psychology and traditional psychoanalysis, Gestalt therapy has developed as a humanistic psycho-therapeutic model, with a well developed theory that combines phenomenological, existential, dialogical, and field approaches to the process of transformation and growth, of human beings. At the centre of Gestalt therapy lies the promotion of "awareness". The individual is encouraged to become aware of his or her own feelings and behaviours, and their effect upon his environment in the here and now.
The way in which a he or she interrupts or seeks to avoid contact with the present environment is considered to be a significant factor when recovering from psychological disturbances. By focusing the individual on their self-awareness as part of present reality, new insights can be made into the their behaviour, and they can engage in self-healing.
Principal influences Wilhelm Reich's psychoanalytic developments, especially the concept of character armor and its focus on the body. Jacob Moreno's Psychodrama, principally the development of body experimentation techniques for the resolution of psychological conflicts Max Wertheimer's Gestalt Psychologywhich this therapy derives its name from, influences the application of the concepts about perception to a broader theory about the necessities of humans, and the relation of humans with their surroundings.
Kurt Goldstein's theory of the organism, based on Gestalt theory. Martin Buber's existential philosophy of relationship and dialogue "I - Thou". Carl Gustav Jung's psychology, particularly the polarities concept Some elements from existentialism and Zen Buddhism Being human The practice of Gestalt therapy is based firmly in the personal experience of both the client and the therapist; furthermore, Gestalt therapy is based on an elaborate theory that developed over many years since the s.
Consequently, the following points can give no more than a rough impression. The human being seen as a whole The human being is seen as an indissoluble entity; we cannot work with the mind without also taking account of the body. The two are closely related with, for example, particular emotions being associated with certain postures. Self-actualization, proceeds by the individual becoming gradually aware of the entirety of themselves and of all that that implies.
Generally we are not aware of the greater part of ourselves and we only identify with a lesser part. For example, in the extreme case of someone over-identified with their job, a person would define themselves through their professionalism, position, authority, responsibility, ability, organization, etc.
They will rarely mention other aspects of their identity, such as relationships with a partner or friends. Conversely, they will be strongly influenced by success in their career area, and events like being fired, jobless or retired, could trigger a crisis. The problem in identifying with a limited number of aspects of ourselves is that the we do not use much of our potential.
By assuming we lack of inner resources we look for external support, creating dependencies. Perls uses this distinction of figure-ground to establish a principle of human need. He conceived that needs are part of a continuum. The most pronounced need manifests as a figure until its resolution. This type of Gestalt is called a Gestalt controller since it guides the mental process.
An extreme example of the mental function of this mechanism is the case of a toothache. When we have a toothache, our whole world revolves round the pain. We do not care about other concerns. Until we solve our problem of pain, we can not attend to any other affairs with clarity. With psychological needs something similar happens; a need is considered in this plane to be like an unresolved situation or an unclosed gestalt. This is manifest as thoughts that seize the mind most of the time in involuntary ways.
For example our conscience may compulsively dialogue with us over an issue. Or it may manifest as a filter that makes us blind to certain information in our environment. For example, someone who has had a history of abuse in childhood might fail to observe issues of power and abuse in relationships in the present day.
The formation process and Gestalt closing is a natural process that works without human intervention or the control of our will.
We go through Gestalt processes everyday that form and close naturally in time. Nevertheless, situations sometimes occur which do not get resolved as they are supposed to, sometimes to a point that we forget the original problem exists or we believe that it has been resolved.
This class of perpetuatal problem can cause psychological difficulties. The Gestalt psychotherapist works with this unfinished mental content or filter forms. They help the individual to recognise them and work towards the closing of the Gestalt using various techniques suggested by the psychotherapist. Contact boundaries The human being establishes a relationship with his or her surrounding environment; this relationship defines a boundary.
This boundary is what allows a distinction to be made between self and non self, but it is also the area where contact takes place. In Gestalt therapy, it is defined as the ego boundary or the contact boundary. In Gestalt therapy it is considered that the relationships with other people are made at this boundary. When it happens in a healthy manner, then the boundary is flexible, which means that we are capable of distinguishing I from you, but also of forming a we.
We are capable of coordinating the appropriate needs with those that surround us and we can see each other as a complete person, and not only as a function of our needs and wishes. Generally, in a relationship with another person, we are each subject to number of conflicts of interest. In most cases, the individual-societal conflict faces us with a conflict between our needs and the demands of others. Concepts of obligations like must do transform themselves into ideals as to what we must do in a particular situation.
We then create rigid formulae for relationships which correspond to these must do obligations.
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