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Gestalt, Critical Psychology, Transpersonal

Gestalt, Critical Psychology, Transpersonal - Gestalt...

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Unformatted text preview: Gestalt, Transpersonal, and Critical Psychology and Psychotherapy Basics­Gestalt Person: Conflict free, integrated and freely moving ego Illness: Disowned aspects of one’s self­ experience results in various kinds of symptomology Health: Live spontaneously and fully in the present moment, not paralyzed by “then and there” with responsibility/accountability Therapy: Integration and free/complete expression Foundational Premises Here and now rather than then and there; you and I rather than us and them, “knowing as” rather than “knowing about” (James), comments rather than questions, “I” rather than “you” Change happens in the present relational encounter—experience is what changes persons, not insight nor symptom alleviation Connected with the existential tradition in that it helps one experience “being all there” but refrains from telling a client how they should be Fully feeling something Finishing old business Full communication including body language and paralanguage Foundational Premises II Increased sensitization over anesthesia Living the dialectical tension of togetherness and “apartness” Contact, presence, boundaries (assuming and not assuming responsibility and accountability for not just actions, but feelings, ideas, projections, beliefs, etc.) Part of ownership is whether or not I am taking on the other’s desires for me to be what they need me to be, or have I owned it for myself Techniques Claudio Naranjo (Chilean born anthropologist and psychiatrist, human potential movement, mind altering substances, worked with Fritz Perls): suppressive, expressive, integrative techniques Suppressive techniques: stopping habitual avoidances and distractions in order to address matters fully Integrative: pulling in fragmented aspects of the self Expressive: fully expressing one’s being there Stop “shoulding” all over yourself Gendlin’s felt sense Techniques Continued Empty chair Hot seat: 2 chairs, each seating one side of a conflict (believed person can be free of conflict) ­­top dog: what you should do ­­underdog: what you want to do Kempler’s gestalt family therapy ­­living the tension between separateness and togetherness ­­Use “I” statements: I wish I could feel loved by you instead of: You don’t love me ­­Active, personal and transitive verbs: I want, I don’t want, I won’t, I like, I dislike ­­Action replaces verbs: show affection rather than tell someone you love them; depart rather than tell someone you are going; cry rather than tell someone you are sad; shout rather than tell someone you are angry ­­Assertive verbs, not defensive verbs: I want your interest instead of: I don’t want to seem unappreciative but… ­­Tense is present: Right now I want to love you forever Somatic Bodywork James Kepner: Disowning and projection of bodyhood (Boss and Heidegger’s term): from “It is tense” to “I am tense” ­­anchoring, touch, NLP “touch as ‘notice this here’” (James Kepner); grounding of the self in sensate focus Alexander Lowen, Bioenergetics and bodywork ­­the ring of tension: pharynx, mouth, jawbone, trachea, esophagus ­­readiness of change and the building of a “charge” ­­the face of fear: goal­“release the blocked fear in them” Wilhelm Reich and character analysis: ­­schizoid character: vacant and unexpressive ­­oral character: appealing look ­­psychopathic: either piercing eyes with intent to control or seductive or beguiling look ­­masochistic: suffering, pained, or confused look ­­rigid: hard, bright, but not losing their brightness, defense vs. sadness A Cautionary Word on Techniques Meta­analysis on successful psychotherapeutic outcome shows technique is less than 10% of impact on change Key issues: contextual issues: alliance/relationship, therapist’s presence, empathy, expectations and commitment for both therapist and client Will Barrett: The Illusion of Technique Cannot be isolated and genericized outside of personal contexts Cannot be applied to human existence as techniques are applied to machines and natural “objects” Cannot eliminate or fix what is only lived as a human being: ambiguity, the absurd, risk to trust and love, unsolvable paradoxes such as what it means to be alone and to be in connected, to live faithfully into the unknown The Gestalt Prayer (Fritz Perls, 1969) 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. Critical Psychology “…it is not the object of therapy to prescribe proper behavior, but rather to point out to people which ideas they hold because of lies told them what they should feel rather than accepting what they do feel. If therapists remove the mystification, people will be able to choose those ways of life that appeal to them most. The therapist whose range of alternatives can encompass many life styles will be most helpful.” Jeanette Hermes, On Radical Therapy Lineage and Directions Frankfurt School of Critical Theory: Habermas, Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse Liberation Theology and psychology Theoria, praxis, poesis: it’s collapse, commodification and utilitarian use toward de­humanization Basics Person: Ego/Self as shaped by social oppression; guided by moral values inherent in, and inherited by, social structures that guide decisions, ways of relating Illness: Result of structural oppression ­­caution to not commit error of misplaced attribution ­­one’s values are out of synch with dominant status quos values ­­attention to politics in diagnosing ­­Szasz: diagnoses are not diseases, but descriptions of behaviors, some of which society likes and some they don’t Health: “Relationship building” and “power­sharing” (Pritellensky, p.87) Therapy: Two goals (done simultaneously): (1) Personal empowerment and liberation­­liberation from more than physical or social oppression, but also from “remote control” valuations that control a person in any daily activity (Hermes: remove mystification) (2) Collective empowerment and social change­­merely changing individuals without addressing social oppression is therapy half­done; hence, the therapist is also an advocate The therapist Upper class, favors capitalist system and patriarchal attitude, mystified by his or her own status and diagnostic jargon, with a license that is itself a mystification needing rejection, with little permission to really help people, tends to be isolated (Hermes) In spite of RD Laing’s critique: We usually help people to become adjusted to an insane society, and stigmatize the sane one’s not adjusted to this insane society Can’t help others unless we understand what it means to be mystified by a capitalist system or commodification Mystification, borrowed from Laing: invalidation of one’s experience by those around him or her, which prevents seeing ways in which he or she is oppressed Contexts and Descriptions School and home: Power, indoctrination, and social control Business of mental health: Diagnostics, evidence­based best practices, and managed care commodification Cultural examples: Acceleration, efficiency, anxiety and depression Technology and human relationships “The woman who saw mice” Radical Implications Can there be non­oppressive processes of assessment, research, and/or therapeutic care? No more individual therapy? No more use of the words, patient or client? Is the licensed psychologist an agent of the state? Is psychology a bourgeois profession? No more standardized and/or normed testing or education, hence, no more grades? No more diagnoses, or “clinical” anything? Creation of alternative, therapeutic milieus…a movement towards it: Soteria House, and Geel, Belgium Further Critical Reflections and Cautions Utopia Absence of agency Deconstruction without construction Liberation from what to what? Self­righteousness and polarization Always what we want over what we should want….Kierkegaard’s aesthetic, ethical, and religious dimensions of existence The Transpersonal Spirituality…why so difficult to discuss? Psychology and Spirituality Lived Theology and Homo Religiosus Entheogens The Transpersonal: Opening Experiences Contemplative meditation One pointed meditation Directed Meditation: Opening the door From where do these experiences come? The Chicago School concentration in Spirituality and Psychology Why is it so difficult to talk about the transpersonal, the spiritual, or the paranormal? Is that which is immeasurable, invisible, ungraspable, ineffable, incommensurate, but nonetheless experienced that by which we live, and breathe and have our being? Implications for psychologists who seek to predict and control? The Transpersonal: Words for Reflection “Our souls are restless until they rest in Thee” Augustine “If the name be needed, let the name be wonder, and then from wonder to wonder, existence opens” Lao Tzu “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye” Saint Exupery, The Little Prince “The wind blows where it will, and we may hear the sound of it, but we don’t know from where it comes or to where it goes” Jesus of Nazareth Basics Person: The experience of “am­ness” “is­ness” in relation to “that which is more than we are (Sebastian Moore)” ­­realization we are gifted with life and that we do not create ourselves, but participate in a larger, deeper, already, always something ­­Ego as “transistor” of higher, deeper, more expansive consciousness Illness: Either misalignment or alienation with that which is more than we are Illnesses can be “creative transformations” “Our souls are restless until they rest in Thee” Augustine Experience of “otherness,” “ beyond,” “outside of mundane,” “ground of all” that is immeasurable, ineffable Centrality of love, trust, transcendence Health: Attunement to (at peace with) the numinous/ “that which is more than we are,” as exhibited in openness, connectedness, trust and love; significance of convergence, serendipity, a “coming together” Therapy: Midwifery; Spiritual guide; Helping one reconnect, realign, come to peace and contentment, deep stillness, pervasive feeling of love The therapeutic question: Are you ok, at peace, at ease, content with that which is more than you are in which you “breathe, and move, and have your being” Binswanger: Goal of therapy is to free someone to love and trust again From loving that person, to being in love, to being love Implications for Therapy Therapy as mystical journey Purgation, illumination, union Therapy as prayer Openness to possibilities within embraced limitations Meditative (re­lease­ment) rather than calculative Self­surrender in the ritual of prayer (Will Barrett) Dasein’s being­in­the­world Clearing space for even (and especially) the “unholy” Journeying together through life’s contingencies towards new beginnings Clinical Issues Absence of soul: Existing but not living Lost­ness The Unforgiven The problem of evil Unsettled/alienated in relation to God, Being, Life, Existence Bewildered, puzzled, not understanding the part to the whole (“God blessed this relationship, why was I betrayed”…Lamach) Misunderstandings: depression for acedia; spiritual emergence for psychosis; deep love and joy and/or clarity of insight for mania; the dark night of the soul for anhedonia; desire for forgiveness and reconciliation for neurotic guilt, etc. The paranormal: I­Thou or I­Me? We are our own creators or are we created or do we co­create… with Who? “Send it back to the sender” The Transpersonal: An Existential­ Humanistic Proposal Congruence of ontic with the ontological Immeasurable, mystery, incomparable, invisible Homo religiosus: “the religious dimension within secularity (Langdon Gilkey) Radical validation for each enactment of significance Allowing the unfolding of that which shows itself as itself Meaning is not found, but “allowed” or “witnessed” Sacred is not separatist; the holy is in the everydayness as much as in the peak experience Contrary to Maslow, peak experiences occur when basic needs are not met Transcendence as radical immanence (Tom Driver) “Beyond” as existentially spatial, as qualitative rather than quantitative experience “…the being I love is a third person in the least possible degree” Martin Buber To know someone is to love them; to love them is to not objectify them…doing so turns them into a third person (an it); one cannot know a person, situation, thing without loving it; Science objectifies, and hence, does not know…assessment and research that objectifies, does not know “The metabletic moment” Jan van den Berg Children and the Transpersonal (Reflections based on Tobin Hart’s work on Spirituality and Children) God imaging and clinical practice (examples from children) The word for child means: to be creative The anthropomorphic life reconsidered Life is a calling and response, from constriction to liberation Hence, if G­d is life, and life is the invitation, sustenance, and movement toward ever novel moments of creative, meaningful and fulfilling possibilities in life… Then is G­d a child, or at least childlikeness? Wonder, awe, unbridled play, openness, creativity…a child shall lead us from our constrictions to our liberations ...
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