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Copy of Gestalt Therapy

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Kelsey Morrissey

on 9 October 2013

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Transcript of Copy of Gestalt Therapy

Gestalt Therapy
The Therapeutic Process

1. The Continuum of Experience
2. The Here and Now
3. The Paradoxical Theory of Change
4. The Experiment
5. The Authentic Encounter
6. Process-Oriented Diagnosis
Application of Gestalt Therapy
past is dealt with in lively manner by bringing relevant aspects to present
therapists challenge clients in creative way
attention on verbal and nonverbal
talk to action and experience
creative and spontaneous
integrates theory, practice and research

older version has most limitations
emphasis on confrontation
de-emphasized cognitive parts of personality
high value on contact and dialogue between therapist/client
danger with inadequately trained therapists

experiments can easily "boomerang" without proper therapist characteristics
abuse of power from therapist
Introduction to Gestalt Psychology
Therapy Interventions
Top Dog Vs Underdog
Empty Chair Technique
Making the Rounds
The Reversal Exercise
The Rehearsal Exercise
The Exaggeration Exercise
Staying with the Feeling
Dream Work
Group Therapy Application
Well suited for group context
Based in direct experience and actions
"Here and Now" focus
Other members can enhance individual's progress and work
Creativity in interventions and designing experiments
Collaboration with clients to discover how to best help resolve difficulties internally, interpersonally, and in context of social environment
Experiment vs Exercises
Multicultural Understanding
opportunities if interventions are timed appropriately and used flexibly
evolved as a culturally sensitive and diversity friendly orientation
experiments are tailored to fit unique way which individual perceives and interprets his/her culture
therapists strive to approach each client without preconceptions
nonverbal behaviors may emphasize unspoken content of verbal communication

problems utilizing experiments with some clients too quickly
high levels of intense feelings
hard for emotionally reserved cultures
hard for those with strong cultural injunctions about not expressing emotions to parents
Preparing Clients for Gestalt Therapy
Therapists must establish a relationship with client so trust can be felt
Therapists must prepare and orient clients for the experiments that will be used on them
Let clients know they run the session. A commanding fashion will not be used
The power is in the client to ask to stop the process and then to explain why
Role of resistance and reluctance in therapy is huge

Goal is not to eliminate defenses of client but meet the
client where they are at

Goal is to expand client's awareness to help them try out new modes of behavior within the safety of the therapy session
The Therapeutic Goals
Therapist Basic Goal
Assisting the client to attain greater awareness
Awareness of acceptance of self, others, environment

The ability to make contact

Without awareness, personality change is not possible

Increased awareness is seen as a stand-alone cure
Therapist's Function and Role and Relationship
Therapist is a guide and a catalyst

Therapist assists clients in identifying the most pressing needs, issues, and interests

They design "experiments" that are tailored to each client

Therapists create optimal environments for clients to try out new ways of being and behaving
Client's Experience in Therapy
Clients are active participants and do much of the work. Through increased awareness the client can:

1. Make their own interpretations and meaning (discovery)
2. Decide what they will or will not do with their personal meaning, they have a choice (accommodation)
3. Influence their environment to meet their needs (assimilation)

Relationship is person to person (I/thou)

Therapist remains open and is fully present to client.

Authenticity is key, awareness develops from this context

Therapist attitude of respect, acceptance and presence considered paramount over any technique
View of Human Nature
Grow up, stand on own two feet, “deal with life problems themselves”
“Re-owning” parts of oneself that have been disowned

Existential, phenomenological, and process based approach based on idea people must be understood in terms of their relationship to their environment

Paradoxical Theory of Change:
authentic change occurs more from being who we are than from trying to be what we are not
Contemporary Gestalt Therapy
Supportive, accepting, empathic, respectful, dialogical, as well as challenging

Awareness, choice, responsibility

Always in process of becoming, remaking, and rediscovering

Here and now, what and how, & the I/thou of relating

Principals of Gestalt Therapy
Gestalt is German for "whole" or "completion" or "a form that cannot be separated into parts without losing its essence"

Nature is unified whole, and whole is different from the sum of its parts
Field Theory:
Everything is relational, in flux, interrelated, and in process
Figure-Formation Process:
describes how individuals organize and manipulate environment from moment to moment
Organismic Self Regulation:
process by which equilibrium is "disturbed" by emergence of a need, sensation, interest
The Now
Energy directed towards past and future diminishes the "power of present"
Bring past out of background and relive the experience while suspending preconceived ideas concerning meaning
Phenomenological Inquiry:
"what is going on now?" "what is your awareness at this moment?"
Unfinished Business
Unfinished business occurs when you bring negative emotional debris out of the background
If feelings are unexpressed, they tend to result in physical sensations of problems
An impasse, or a sticking point, occurs when external support or customary way of being does not work
By experiencing this, you become frustrated and accept whatever is rather than wishing you were different
Contact and Resistances to Contact

Contact is interacting with nature and with other people without losing sense of individuality
Energy and Blocks to Energy
Blocks are manifested by tension in some part of body, by not breathing deeply, by numbing feelings, etc
Find focus of interrupted energy and bring sensations to awareness
Exaggerate blocks in order to discover how one is diverting energy and keeping from a full expression of aliveness
ready made techniques that are sometimes used to make something happen in a therapy session or to achieve a goal
can be catalysts for individual work or for promoting interaction

techniques in Gestalt Therapy are considered experiments
cornerstone of experiential learning
creative adventure and a way clients can express themselves behaviorally
collaborative process with full participation of client
brings out internal conflict by making struggle an actualized process
crafted to fit individual in here and now

Discussion Questions
What are characteristics of Gestalt Therapy which may lead people to believe it is not scientific? Why do we practice something if it is not based in science?

What type of clients are going to be best fit for this type of therapy?

How do you think clients and the general public would react to Gestalt Therapy had it not evolved from what Fritz Perls used?
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