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Transcript of Gestalt
Jason Kurtz “I do my thing, and you do your thing. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you, and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, it’s beautiful. If not, it can’t be helped.” Fritz Perls Beginnings Born July 8,1893 in a Jewish ghetto on the outskirts of Berlin. Moved three years later to the fashionable center of Berlin. Typical “modern” Jewish family- wanting to be German, maintaining some Jewish customs, but unaccepted by German and Jewish society Youngest of three children, having two older sisters Close to his sister, Grete; however, never liked Else, his oldest sister, who was legally blind and clung to her mother. When she died in a concentration camp, Fritz wrote candidly that he “did not mourn much” (Clarkson, 1993) (Shephard, 1975) Fritz Perls Growing Up At 10, he stole a gold coin that his father had saved for Else, took it and “spent it on stamps for a Christian boy whose friendship he had hoped to buy” Although he was top of his elementary school class, his strong rebellion against hard discipline and anti-Semitic environment of the Mommsen Gymnasium got him expelled from it after three years of failing grades Fritz would steal from his mom’s purse, skip school, and forge his parent’s signatures on school correspondence. He would ridicule his mother, run from her punishment, and mock her. (Clarkson, 1993) (Shephard, 1975) In personal notes, Perls often describes himself as “confused” and describes
events as “confusing.” A keen and intelligent student, he was still a late developer in terms of his aptitude for science, which did not emerge until later college life. His first love was theater, though he also considered law before opting for medicine Mother and Father had tense relationship. Perls described his childhood as happy, although he hated his father “and his pompous righteousness”. His father frequently verbally abused Fritz. Influencing Events He was influenced directly by Karen Horney and Wilhelm Reich, and indirectly by others. Perls was especially influenced by Wilhelm Reich, who was Perls' analyst in the early 1930s, and "who first directed my attention to a most important aspect of psychosomatic medicine -- to the function of the motoric system as an armor" Part of central nervous system Marriage to Laura in 1930. Both of them had Psychoanalytic training. Laura Posner Perls cofounded Gestalt therapy together with her husband. Laura's influence upon husband was widely known. She also contributed to the book Ego, Hunger and Aggression. One chapter in it was written by her. When Laura met Fritz Perls, she was a student and studied phychology. In 1932 she received the D.Sc. degree in the Frankfurt University. She was also influenced by Martin Buber and Paul Tillich, who were existential theologians. Her contribution to Gestalt therapy is great, though there is little she wrote about the subject under her name. (Clarkson, 1993) (Shephard, 1975)
(Perls, 2008) (Rosenfeld, 1978). Studied medicine at the University of Berlin where he acquired his M.D. World War I broke out when he was only 21 years old. Perls served active duty, seeing first hand the carnage of war. Perls went to Frankfurt-am-Main in 1926 as an assistant to Kurt Goldstein at the Institute for Brain Damaged Soldiers. He was exposed to Professors Goldstein and Adhemar Gelb and he met his future wife, Laura. At that time Frankfurt-am-Main was a center of intellectual ferment and Perls was directly and indirectly exposed to leading Gestalt psychologists, existential philosophers and psychoanalysts. Fritz Perls became a psychoanalyst. Perls and Religion Born Jewish, but thought of his parents’ religion “an undignified insurance policy” against “some vengeful God lurking about”
Joked in his later years of being a “Zen Judaist,” even denied his Jewish-only heritageGestalt is very similar to the Eastern concept of Tao. Perls spent time in Japan to learn Zen Declared himself an atheist by age 13, and remained atheistic to his death. (Shephard, 1975) (Woldt, 2005) Main Premise of Gestalt Therapy Gestalt therapy seeks a smooth transition between experiences that are the focus of awareness and experiences that form the background (Parrot, 2003, 205).Two terms for experiencesFigure- experiences that are in focus and in a client’s current awareness
Ground- experiences that form the background and not currently in client’s awareness Principles of Gestalt Therapy (Corey 2009) (Tan 2010) Holism
a.Focuses on the whole person
i.Gestalt is a German word that means a whole that cannot be broken down without losing its nature
b.Gestalt therapists focus on the client’s whole being as essential to the therapy process
v.Dreams Field theory
A client’s life experiences are influenced by the client’s environment Organismic Self-regulation
a. A person’s ability to move toward growth and wholeness by being aware of his/her present needs or desires and working towards balance
b.“requires knowing and owning- that is identifying with- what one senses, feels emotionally, observes, needs or wants, and believes” (Yontef & Jacobs, 2008, 329). The Now
Emphasis that Gestalt therapy places on the power of the present to prevent clients from being stuck in the past or obsessed with the future. Unfinished Business
a. Past events and emotions that have begun to affect a client’s present
b. Can be feelings of anger, guilt, grief, abandonment
c. Can also be manifested in obsessions with sex or money Contact and Resistances to Contact
a. Contact- connection between a client and other people or the client and his/her environment
i.Contact is seen by the Gestalt therapist as crucial for change and growth
ii.The Gestalt therapist helps the client have authentic relationships with others and his or her environment without becoming co-dependent on others Contact Boundaries
Processes that the client uses to connect with or separate from other people or the environment.
4 types of contact boundaries
1.Body boundaries- which restricts or forbids certain bodily sensations
2.Value boundaries- beliefs and values that a client rigidly holds and finds hard to change
3.Familiarity boundaries- involves behavior or events that happen frequently and routinely without conscious effort
4.Expressive boundaries- behaviors learned early in life
Example- for men in American culture, not crying.
Five contact boundary disturbances
1.Introjection- total acceptance of views and beliefs of another without any analysis or criticism
2.Projection- disowning aspects of one’s personality by giving those traits to another
3.Retroflection- client does to himself/herself what he/she wants to do to someone elsea.Example- hurting yourself instead of someone you would want to hurt
4.Deflection- different degrees of withdrawing from contact with others or the environmenta.Examples- beating around the bush, being extremely polite
5.Confluence- boundaries between the client and other people become blurred Energy and Blocks to Energy
a.Energy- Paying attention to where energy is used in a client.
b.Energy blocks- Seeing as a therapist where and how a client is wasting energy as a defensive technique
i.i.e.- shallow breathing, closed posture, tension in particular body parts. Goals to Gestalt Therapy 1. There are no preset goals for clients
a. Overall goal is to see client achieve a greater awareness
i. This helps clients grow into fully understanding themselves
b. Perls believed that awareness may be curative for clients
2. Process of therapeutic change and growth
a. Miriam Polster described the process of change and growth as a three step integration process.
1. Discovery- when a client achieves a new perspective on themselves or on an old situation.
2. Accomodation- when client realizes that they have choices, and can experiment with different behaviors while having therapeutic support.
3. Assimilation- involves clients learning how to impact their environment by being more assertive in expressing their needs and obtaining them from others or from their environment.
3. Benner states that the goal of Gestalt therapy is “neither analysis or understanding; it is integration”
a.One must learn to use all their senses fully before being able to grow. (Corey 2009) Role of a Therapist 1. Therapeutic relationship is critical in effective Gestalt therapy
a. This relationship is more important than simply the therapy techniques of Gestalt therapy.
2.Hycner and Jacobs describes the relationship between client and therapist as dialogic(1995).
3.This focuses on an authentic meeting of individuals and understanding of each other more than any possible outcomes.
i.Corey states, “ Contemporary Gestalt therapists place increasing emphasis on factors such as presence, authentic dialog, gentleness, more direct self-expression by the therapist, decreased use of stereotypical exercises, and great trust in the client’s experiencing” (2009, 211).
4. Role of the therapist is not just centered on talking. There are elements of action.a. Some of these therapy techniques that require action are classified as games (Benner, 1987, 161). (Benner 1987) (Corey 2009) Therapy Techniques 1. General therapy rules
a. Communication is to be between equals and is always in the present tense.
i. No need to look backward at the past or forward to the future.
b. Clients must use personal pronouns in order to talk to someone instead of talking about them.
i.Gossip is prohibited.
c. Questions are usually discouraged.
i.“What” and “How” questions are used by the therapist to help the client get in touch with their immediate experience ii.Questions are converted into statements to help clients take ownership of their thoughts .
2. Exercise vs. Experiment
i. Set techniques that produce specific results
ii. Can be used multiple times with multiple clients
i.Spontaneous interactions between a therapist and a client that are unique experiences that cannot be duplicated
ii.Emerges from the dialog between the therapist and client (Parrot 2003) (Tan 2011) Major Techniques
a. Dream work
b. Playing the projection
c. Making the rounds
f. May I feed you a sentence?
g. Staying with the feeling
h. The Reversal technique
i. The Empty Chair Therapy Techniques (Parrot 2003) References Clarkson, P. & Mackewn, J. (1993). Fritz Perls. Key figures in counselling and psychotherapy. London: Newbury Park.Perls, F. S. (1969a). Ego, hunger, and aggression: The beginning of Gestalt therapy. New York: Random House.Perls, F. S. (1973). The Gestalt approach and eye witness to therapy. Ben Lomond, CA: Science and Behavior Books.Perls, F. S., Hefferline, R. E., & Goodman, R. (1951). Gestalt therapy: Excitement and growth in the human experience. New York: Dell.Shepard, M. (1975). Fritz [Electronic book]. Available from: http://www.fictionwise.comWoldt, A., & Toman, S. (2005). Gestalt therapy: History, theory, and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA.: Sage Publications. http://www.gestalt.org/fritz.htm - provides some personal notes written by Perls as part of his book Ego, Hunger, and Aggression, that were supposed to have been included in its introduction, but were omitted for some unknown reason. Also includes photographs.http://www.gestalt.org/wulf.htm - Rosemarie Wulf discusses the historical roots of Gestalt Therapy theory.