FURTHER REFLECTIONS ON THE GESTALT APPROACH

FURTHER REFLECTIONS ON THE GESTALT APPROACH - FURTHER...

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FURTHER REFLECTIONS ON THE GESTALT APPROACH One aspect of Perls' particular genius was that he had an unerring nose for crap, and an ability to take what was correct and valuable in each of the perspectives from which he drew and let the rest fall by the wayside. He didn't spent a lot of time refuting what he found useless, but simply ignored it. Thus it was with psychoanalysis. He kept, developed, and expanded upon Freud's penetrating insights and techniques and ignored the rest. My own experience with the Gestalt process and outlook is that it serves as a centering point that connects with every other psychological approach. It dovetails neatly with Jung's powerful work on imagination, for example. And at the opposite extreme, even though it is a discovery-and-exploration-oriented approach rather than a programmatic approach like behavioral and cognitive-behavioral psychologies, it dovetails with that approach as well because there are clear elements of desensitization and the development and practice of new behavioral patterns. Perls' approach, like that of Rogers, is an active phenomenology which assists a person in discovering his or her existential reality. It differs in being an enactive, whole-body approach rather than a talking approach. Like Rogers Person-Centered psychology, it developed primarily as a therapeutic approach rather than primarily as a theory, and the theory grew out of practice. It is radically different from, yet dovetails neatly with, Jung's approach to dream work. It borrows a number of concepts directly from Karen Horney and Wilhelm Reich. And it is centered in the psychological gestalt of a person's present moment. Now here are a few more elements of the process in just a little more detail than in the table above. The facilitator is always paying attention to the PATTERN, WHOLE, CONFIGURATION of the person's being in which an experience is embedded. The most dominant need or unfinished situation becomes "FIGURE" and emerges into the foreground out of the rest of the person's experience which becomes the "GROUND," or background. When it declines in importance through some kind of resolution (or even boredom), something else becomes figure, and so on. The goal of therapy, counseling, or personal growth is for the person to become fully capable of
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FURTHER REFLECTIONS ON THE GESTALT APPROACH - FURTHER...

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