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Gestalt Theory

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Natasha Williams

on 19 July 2013

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Transcript of Gestalt Theory

The Therapeutic
Theraputic goals
Key Concepts
Frederick "Fritz" Perls
Laura Posner Perls

View of Human Nature
Key Concepts
Holism- "Gestalt" means "whole or completion, or a form that cannot be separated into parts without losing its essence."
...Key Concepts
View of Human Nature-
History of Gestalt
Fritz Perls-
-Main Originator and developer of Gestalt therapy.
- Born in Berlin in a lower-middle-class Jewish family.
- Earned a medical degree and specialized in psychiatry.
-In 1916, he joined the German army and served as a medic in WW I.
- After the war he worked with soldiers who had brain damage. He came to the conclusion that it is important to view people as a whole rather than a sum of functioning parts.

Gestalt Video Example
The Client's Growth
This is where clients reach a new realization about their situation or themselves. They may look at someone in a different light and might be surprised by what is discovered.

This is the recognition that there is a choice and there is an expansion of awareness of the world. These new choices follow Coltri’s artisan metaphor-- initially, the new blueprints and tools may be awkward to use; they do not follow the level of comfort that the client is used to experiencing. Through therapeutic support the client gains more skills for coping with difficult situations.

This is where client’s learn how to influence their environment, both internally and externally. Clients may take a stand on something important to them, are able to make choices that help them get what they want out of life, and there is an improvement of confidence.

The experiment in gestalt therapy: Experiments grow out of interactions between therapist and client. Proposing an experiment to a client is meant to help them be active in self-exploration.

The Role of Confrontation: Clients are encouraged to look at their attitudes, behavior, and thoughts by the therapist.

Gestalt Therapy Interventions:
Internal Dialogue - empty-chair technique
Making the Rounds - use vulnerability to grow and change (forces interaction)
Reversal Exercise - look at an opposing side
Rehearsal Exercise - tryout new behaviors
Exaggeration Exercise - exaggerate improper body language to show client its uselessness
Staying with the Feeling - confront unpleasant feelings
Dream work - interpreting dreams
Field Theory- The organism must be seen
in its environment, in its context, as part
of the constantly changing field.
The Now-

Unfinished Business-
Contact & Resistances to Contact
Energy and Blocks to Energy-
Field Theory
The Now
Unfinished Business
The Continuum of Experience
The Here and Now
The Paradoxical Theory of Change
The Experiment
The Authentic Encounter
Process-Oriented Diagnosis
The Authentic Encounter
Process-Oriented Diagnosis
The Experiment
The Continuum of Experience
The Here and Now
The Paradoxical Theory of Change
"It" Talk: "I have trouble making friends"
"You" Talk: Substitute "you" for "I"
Questions: Using statements rather than questions to express themselves
Language that Denies Power: Omit qualifiers such as "maybe" or "I suppose"
Listening to Clients' Metaphors: "I feel like I've been put through a meat grinder!""
Listening for Language that Uncovers a Story
-2 Agendas:
1)Move client from environmental support to self-support

2)Reintegrate "disowned" parts of one’s personality

-Awareness brings capacity to self-regulate

-"Be" vs. "Should be"
2 Functions of Boundaries:
1)To connect
2)To separate

Contact Boundary Disturbances

"Focusing on the past and future can be a way to avoid coming to terms with the present"

Phenomenological Inquiry
Asking questions such as, "What" and "How" to help clients make contact with the present moment
Can create feelings of resentment, rage, hatred, pain, anxiety, grief, guilt, and abandonment. These feelings can result in self-defeating behavior, and will persist until the individual faces the unfinished business.

Gestalt therapist encourage clients to pay attention to the bodily experience, and bring awareness to the assumption that if feelings are unexpressed they can occur in physical problems.

Impasses: The therapist is to help the client come to terms without rescuing or frustrating them.

Our emotions carry energy
a defensive behavior to avoid feeling unwanted "energy"
Therapist's Tasks:
1) Help client identify ways they block energy

2) Transform blocked energy -> more adaptive behavior.
Historical background continued...
Perls emigrated to the U.S. in 1946.
- Established the New York Institute for Gestalt therapy in 1952. Later he settled in California at Esalen Institute where he gave workshops and seminars.
Laura Perls-
-Graduate degree in Gestalt psychology and made an intensive study of philosophy.
-Met Fritz and collaborated together which led to Gestalt therapy.
-Married in 1930
-Founded the New York Institute for Gestalt therapy.
-As a team, they made significant contributions to the development and maintenance Gestalt Therapy.
Laura's main perspective was that whatever is intergrated in our personality becomes support for what we use technically.
Full transcript