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18 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Combines both
Eastern and Western philosophies

Gestalt means "whole," meaning

(a) Mind, body, soul are one.  (b) We "own" some parts and not others
-Are you extroverted/introverted? If extroverted, when are you introverted?
-You're both kind and mean.
Figure/Ground Theory
Vase/faces and old/young woman

What does the client see as the figure? What do the client and counselor agree to treat as the figure?

Figure may go in and out, or just be a single figure

- Fixed figure. Everything is seen as an exemplar of figure (for example, everything people do or say is seen as support of the idea that "people hate me.")

What is ground? (e.g., ethnicity, friends, what you had for lunch, GPA)? How does ground change the figure

If you get stuck as a counselor, ask what is figural for you? For your client? Putting figures out on the table and discussing them is a way of understanding what the other person is thinking
Cycle of awareness
Only major goal of Gestalt therapy is to help the client become more aware

Beginning: Sensation (of dryness in mouth) Awareness (aware that you're thirsty) and place where we can be choiceful Mobilization (go get water)
Middle of cycle: Contact (water hits mouth) connect with someone. else.
End of cycle:  Withdrawal need is satisfied       Integration (goal is met and moves into the background)

Brief period of nothingness. A second of stopping, just being.  If we don't make the whole circle, we get stuck. 
(1) Eating disorders: get stuck in sensation, but don't become aware of real needs that they satisfy.  (2) Want to make meaningful contact with a friend, a wide variety of ways we can do this.  When we do, can integrate.  We work towards good contact with Os. But do you really want contact 24/7 and with everyone?

b. The path through the cycle should be choiceful and aware, and based on current situation, rather than early experience.

c. Contact style, rather than defense mechanisms (deflection, confluency, differentiation)

d. why is contact avoided?
All of us want more intimacy than we can stand.  Karl Whitaker 
GT used to push for greater intimacy.  Now GTs respect both intimate contact and pulling back.  Awareness and choiceful decisions about when to make contact are now seen as more important than a compulsive search for intimacy.
If we made constant contact, we'd be overwhelmed
contact style

instead of connecting, use humor, get distracted or make the client angry
Match their style, connecting around similarities
Be different from the client: to calm them down, to take care of self, or to stimulate thought or action
Fritz Perls (of Wisdom)
Use of Self: I am always aware that I am an influence to the client.  May share these reactions to client, if in the service of client.

Here and now
be aware in the moment
Why do you? What makes it hard? "Do it rather than talking about it." Reasons why are sometimes important, but find ways wondering whether you trust me or not.

Paradox of Change Theory
Goal is to become more aware in the moment, just now. Give permission to be undecided, and then decide.

Slowing down
must slow down and breathe to be aware

role playing, pretending
Gestalt Therapy is Existential and Phenomenological
It is grounded in the client's "here and now"
Initial goals of Gestalt Therapy
for clients to gain awareness of what they are experiencing and doing now

Promotes direct experiencing rather than the abstractness of talking about situations
Rather than talk about a childhood trauma the client is encouraged to become the hurt child
Principles of Gestalt Theory
full range of human functioning includes thoughts, feelings, behaviors, body, language and dreams

Field theory
the field is the client's environment which consists of therapist and client and all that goes on between them
Client is a participant in a constantly changing field

Figure Formation Process
How and individual organizes experiences from moment to moment
foreground = figure, background = ground

Organismic Self-Regulation
Emergence of need sensations and interest disturb an individual’s equilibrium
Why some can't focus on the NOW
they may focus on their past mistakes or engage in endless resolutions and plans for the future

Unfinished business
feelings about the past are unexpressed
(associated with distinct memories and fantasies)
feelings not fully experienced linger in the background and interfere with effective contact

preoccupation, compulsive behavior, wariness, oppressive energy and self-defeating behavior
Interacting with nature and with other people without losing one’s individuality
Boundary Disturbances/Resistances to Contact
The defenses we develop to prevent us from experiencing the present fully
Five major channels of resistance:
Introjection • Deflection
Projection • Confluence
Six Components of Gestalt Therapy Methodology
The continuum of experience

The here and now

The paradoxical theory of change

The experiment

The authentic encounter
Therapeutic Techniques
The experiment in Gestalt Therapy

Internal dialogue exercise

Rehearsal exercise

Reversal technique

Exaggeration exercise

Staying with the feeling

Making the rounds

Dream work
Application to Group Work
Encourages direct experience and action

Here-and-now focus allows members to bring unfinished business to the present

Members try out experiments within the group setting

Leaders can use linking to include members in the exploration of a particular individual’s problem

Leaders actively design experiments for the group while focusing on awareness and contact

Group leaders actively engage with the members to form a sense of mutuality in the group
Limits of Gestalt Therapy
potential for the therapist to abuse power by using powerful techniques without proper training

may not be useful for clients who have difficulty abstracting and imagining

The emphasis on therapist authenticity and self-disclosure may be overpowering for some clients

The high focus on emotion may pose limitations for clients who have been culturally conditioned to be emotionally reserved