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29 Cards in this Set

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Fritz Perls
developer of Gestalt therapy and used it to help ppl become deeply aware of themselves.

-Started out as psychoana.

-He, like his work, was vital and perplexing.
Gestalt Therapy: Theory of Personality
We are biological organisms and have end-goals (daily goals) that need to be met- hunger, sex, survival, shelter and breathing. It is the continual process of bringing completeness toour needs, the process of forming wholes or Gestalts that he says is the one constant law of the world.

In a spoiled society we content ourselves with social games that are nothing more than social means to natural ends, and once we start to see social means as end goals, we identify with them as part of our ego (ie your a student). Practicing our roles make them habits, which set our social character and give us a fixed personality. This transform our basic natural existence into a pseudo-social existence.

For Perls responsibility means simply to say "I am I" and "I am what i am"

The healthy person doesn't obsess over social roles; they review every second afresh - they discover that there are always new and fresh means whereby they can complete their end goals.
when support withdraws before children have developed the capacity for inner support. Can get child stuck in the maturation process.
Catastrophic expectations
child's overbearing parents make him projection his own fears of independence onto the parent.
only through parents not spoiling their kids can kids learn to develp own resources
Gestalt - Theory of Psychopathology
Patho. person has gotten stuck in the natural process of growth aka growth disorder (instead of neuroses). There are 5 diff layers:

1. the phony
2. the phobic
3.the impasse
4. the implosive
5. the explosive

Phony = level of existence in which we play games and enact roles; act like big shots; act like anything that we're not.
We create a fantasy life called maya. It's part of the phony lvl of existence that we construct btwn real selves and real world, but live as if maya is a reality. It's a defense, protecting us from rejection.
must face these to be authentic, ie act like saint to keep from being devilishly sexy. Patho ppl try to hide unacceptable opposites by pretending that their lives are composed entirely of phony characters
Top Dog and Under Dog
most famous polarities

TD is our conscience, the righteous part of us

UD is the slavish part of us that goes along with TD's demands but in fact controls through passive resistance. UD acts stupid, lazy or inept in order to keep TD from succeeding
Phobic layer
to try to face all that we are, to be whole, we confront the phobic layer of our patho; we are phobic about the pain that ensues from facing how unhappy we are with parts of ourselves
most critical lvl of psychopathology because it is the point at which we are stuck in our own maturation. aka the SICK POINT. The pt at which we are convinced we have no chance of survival becasue we cant find the means within ourselves to progress when environmental support is gone.
Implosive Layer
is to experience deadness, the deadness of parts of ourselves that we have disowned; neurotics would exp. the deadness of their ears, heart, genitals or their very soul depending on what they were runnng from.

Perls compares this layer to a state of CATATONIA in which the person is frozen like a corpse. Catatonia is due to the investment of energy in the dvlpmnt of a rigid, habitual char. that seems safe and secure but oh, so dead. To go through it you have to shed your identity; person is threatened with experiencing their own death in order to be reborn.
Explosive Layer
to let go of one's roles, habits and char. is to release tremendous energy that has been invested in holding back from being a responsible and fully alive human -- now confronted by explosive layer of neurosis which includes an emancipation of life's energies. Size of explosion depends ont he amount of energy built up on the implosive layer. To become fully alive the person must explode into orgasm, anger, grief, joy, and the person moves into the joy and sorrow of maturity.
Gestalt - Therapeutic Processes
Conscious Raising and Catharsis:

Explosively breaking out of a neurotic life is exciting, cathartic expereince - brings a profound wholeness and humanness. Need to raise your consciousness before you can explore this though
Consciousness Raising
Aims to liberate people from maya by "losing our minds and coming to our senses". This loss of mind is a radical change in consciousness from future-oriented thinking to present-oriented sensory awareness.

The Client's Work: say in the here and now.
Patient asked to participate in Gestalt exercises like moving chairs - sits in one as TD an shouts at other, then sits in another as UD and gives excuses. Makes them more aware of their phobic layer, and see what's interfering with their ability to engage in the here and now.

The Ther's Work: frustrate the patient, can't be committed to "help" the patient - "You do your thing and I do mine"; ther. needs to be mature and thus have enough inner support to not need client to like him. Perls would even take a snooze during sessions.
within consciousness raising, means ther. cant use any predetermined pattern of exercises. can use empty chair technique to stop clients from drifting back into the resentment of the past.
Gestalt Exercises to call on in consciousness raising
Games of dialogue - patients carry on a dialogue btwn polarities of their personality (like masculine and fem)

I Take Responsibility - where clients are asked to end every statement about themselves with "and i take responsibility for it"

-Playing the projection - where clients play the role of the person involved in any of their projections, like playing their parents, or video girl playing daycare moms

Reversals, where clients act out the very opposite of the way they usually are in order to experience some hidden polarity of themselves

Rehearsals - where clients reveal to the group the thinking they most commonly do in prep for playing social roles, including role of patient

May I Feed You A Sentence? - where ther asks permission to repeat and try on for size a statement about the client that the ther feels is sig for the patient.

Gestalts dont interpret clients words.
Gestalt thers...
-dont interpret
- ask clients to attend to their non verbal cues and even become their expression, become their crossed arms or even penis
Client's work: take resp. for continuing in ther when they most want to run; they can and often do leave the hot seat before the fireworks begin; to take back what has been dead within, the need to participate in Gestalt Dream Work- dreams are used because they represent a spontaneous part of personality; clients must act dreams out and become each detail.

Connecting dreams is a form of Corrective Emotional Experiencing, and it entails Dramatic Relief.

Empty chair is good to get out unfinished business with an unavailable or dead person (like eat pray love)

Ther's Work- acts as a director for the Dream Work (haha DreamWorks), ther listens for a process diagnosis- the emergence of markers of particular types of affective problems. When a marker comes up, the ther will facilitate conflict-resolution.

ie splits = marker for 2 chair dialogue; vulnerability = marker for empathic affirmation

clinician is an artist/director, humourous
Gestalt - Ther. Content - IntrApersonal Conflicts
Most imp probs are within the ind, between TD and Ud, btwn person's Social and Natural self.

Anx and Defenses:

anx is the gap btwn the now and then, the here and there; so anx is solved by living in the here and now.

Most avoid anx through dfs:
-Projectors - distort exps by attributing the disowned parts of selves to others

-Introjectors- take in the world, but in a passive manner that never integrates new exps - the gullible oral characters that swallow anything others tell them

-Retroflectors - withdraw from envmnt by turning back on selves what they would like to do to someone else, or by doing to themselves what they'd like someone to do to them

-Deflectors- avoid direct contact by acting or reacting in an off-target manner; go off on tangents when speaking, etc to avoid impact from others, by experiencing selves as bored, confused or in the wrong place.


low is a consequence of neurosis; solid self-esteem is a natural reward of discovering that we have the inner strength to be
Gestalt - Ther. Content - IntrErpersonal Conflicts
Intimacy and Sexuality:

intimate rlshps begin with a cmmt to ourselves, not others.

As we relate we accept diffs as opportunities for growth, not as reasons for conflict. What we like and dislike is a statement about us and not a put-down of our partner. Compromising your whole self will lead to smoldering resentment.


more focus on nonverbal.
Talk in imperative and be direct- say I, and instead of "want to go to the movies?" say "lets go to the movies!"


probs with hostility are a boundary prob. We exp. things within boundaries are lovable and kind, outside as alien.

"We despise that in others which we fear most in ourselves" - shadow self


either hypochondriac or perfectionist; need to give up need to control others to be healthy
Gestalt - Ther. Content - Individuo-Social Conflicts
Adjustment vs Transcendence:

Perls believed we were living in an insane society and so we needed to transcend it. Alienation and feeling like an outsider is thus a condition of the healthy, fully aware person.

Impulse Control:

Seeking food when hungry and sex when aroused are not dangeorus to the ind, rather completing these organismic needs is what creates an ind.
Gestalt -Ther. Content - Beyond Conflict to Fulfillment
Meaning in Life:

meaning that comes from living in the now is found in the awareness that every second in our existence is being lived afresh. no fuller life can be imagined. no regrets, b/c regrets are the plague of the past.

Ideal ind:

ideal outcome is ppl discovering that they do not and never really did need a psychotherapist; ideal clients accept that, despite all their manipulations to the contrary they have the inner strength to stand on their own.

From their core they find the strength to take the risks of being spontaneous and unpredictable, including the risks of being ostracized or crucified if that is the ultimate consequence of being themselves (Socrates!). In return for risking, the ideal ind earns the freedom to be creative, to be funny, to dance with joy, to be overwhelmed with grief, to be outraged with anger, and to be totally engaged in orgasm.
Gestalt - Ther. Rlshp
Compare to Rogerian: Perls idea of thers being more mature = Rogers idea of thers being congruent

Gestalt = I-Thou relationship;
Rogerian = genuine encounter

-Criticized as playing TD, forcing client to be UD. Perls rejects Rogerian unconditional positive regard. Gestalt instead has a SAFE EMERGENCY - place where you can challenge shitty behavs
Experiential Therapies
= a class of psychosocial tmts in humanistic tradition started in 60s as a reaction against psychoana and behav POVS- core construct of personality and the central axis of change is therapeutic experiencing.

Personality = potential for inner way or being/experiencing

Some people include Rogerian and Gestalt into experiential ther. Also Les Greenberg's PROCESS-EXPERIENTIAL THER as alt to Gestalt.
Les Greenberg
Process-experiential therapy as alt to Gestalt; combines emotionally focused couples therapy, it's an emotion focused therapy (EFT).

Believes humans are profoundly shaped and organized by emo experiences and that emo is the creative force in our lives. Process- experimental therapy is now called EFT - emotion focused therapy.

EFT - helps clients with Affect Regulation (use strategies to increase adaptive emotions)
Affect Reg is meant to help ppl become aware of feelings and transform old emo responses into new ones.

Goals are met via CATHARSIS and CHOOSING (a new way of being).

EFT blends Rogerian with Gestalt.

Warm, empathetic rel is crucial.

For dep:
bonding, evoking emotions,generating adaptive emotions and consolidating new meaning.
Emotion Focused Couples Ther
by Les Greenberg and SUE JOHNSON!! Focus on struction of the emo exp and interpersonal drama of a distressed couple as it unfolds in the present. Focus on attachment bonds and emotion.
Gestalt and Experiential Thers- Effectiveness
Gestalt- enhance functioning, not recovery of sympts
G is sig better than nothing but barely better than placebo

Exp - consistently good