Gestalt therapy is a form of psychotherapy which emphasizes personal responsibility , and focuses upon the individual's experience in the present moment, the therapist—client relationship, the environmental and social contexts of a person's life, and the self-regulating adjustments people make as a result of their overall situation. Edwin Nevis , co-founder of the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland, founder of the Gestalt International Study Center, and faculty member at the MIT Sloan School of Management, described Gestalt therapy as "a conceptual and methodological base from which helping professionals can craft their practice". Expanded, they support the four chief theoretical constructs explained in the theory and practice section that comprise Gestalt theory, and that guide the practice and application of Gestalt therapy. Gestalt therapy was forged from various influences upon the lives of its founders during the times in which they lived, including the new physics , Eastern religion , existential phenomenology , Gestalt psychology , psychoanalysis , experimental theatre , systems theory , and field theory.
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Correspondingly, there is no point when a person becomes so well endowed with his own powers that he will never again want community attention to his psychological needs. The termination of therapy, for example, is the completion of only one form of communal aid.
The traditional view of the terminated therapy is naive and mechanistic, counting on the delusion that once one is rid of his own faulty view of the world, the world will neatly fall into place. Of course, the world has never fallen into place in any age, and surely not in this one. Childrearing problems have existed since Cain and Abel; sexual dysrhythmia since Adam and Eve; environmental cataclysm since Noah; the rigors of paying the price since Jacob and Rachel; sibling rivalry since Joseph and his brothers; dysfunctional organizational behavior since the Tower of Babel.
These tales record the many natural tortures which are the by-products of a human system of heterogeneous interests and contradictions. An ageless web forms in the interrelationship between the individual's needs and the group's needs and between two dissonant acts of the same person.
The consequent struggle calls for communal orientation, support and stimulation to guide or arouse behavior too difficult for solo performance. The community serves as a group ethos, providing mores, rituals, and instruction which give ease to the individual, freeing him from personally exploring everything under the sun to determine what is right for him What we need now are new rituals, mores, and instructions, sensitive to recurrent need but rooted also in present experience.
Psychotherapists are finally beginning to take some responsibility in shaping some of the possibilities for living a good life. The principles of gestalt therapy in particular apply to actual people meeting actual problems in an actual environment. The gestalt therapist is a human being in awareness and interaction. For him there is no pure patient-ness. There is only the person in relationship to his social scene, seeking to grow by integrating all aspects of himself.
Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Miriam Polster. Irving Polster. Explains the fundamentals of the behavioral theory that is based on an integrated view of the personality. For the student and the professional.
Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published July 12th by Vintage first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions 8. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
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Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. Sort order. Jun 17, Tom Schulte rated it liked it. In the late 80s as a failing telemarketer, a manager introduced me to the dice puzzle Petals Around the Rose to try and disrupt my funk and improve my thinking.
When I figured it out, I was told that thinking was "Gestalt". Well, I never became a decent telemarketer and I only now got around to trying to understand Gestalt. OK, so this is second generation Gestalt, I take it. Authors Erving and Miriam Polster started a training center in La Jolla, California and played an influential role in advancing the concept of contact-boundary phenomena in the s. They did this from very hands-on client sessions and scaled up to "happenings" like events and workshops.
You product differentiation for your particular target market. So, some of this book obviously required to differentiate from Freud which is basically done by saying Freud is about the infantile past and Gestalt is about the "now". Well, so often, the "now" seems to be about resolving childhood dysfunction from trauma or an aloof parent, etc. It is interesting that two competing approaches find themselves at the same task: working out issues originating in youth.
At a time when "Hippies and Cops" could be role-played in a coffeehouse, Gestalt sought to integrated the individual with a fracturing society. Appendices give credit to two of my favorite researchers in the area: Carl Jung and Otto Rank as well as some actualized "new rituals" in coffeehouses and universities. Nov 14, Akemi rated it really liked it. Some kind of Goffman-esque Hegelian wet dream with Levinas screaming yass from the sidelines.
Dramaturgical deconstruction of self-constituting polarities. Spook busting reifications through collective fantasy enactments. Jun 05, Cyndi rated it really liked it. Excellent theory resource. I especially liked the section on experience, processing experience, and assigning meaning, which he ties in with experiencing art. We lose something when assigning meaning too quickly, attempting to put the experience in a tidy labelled box.
Lots of helpful examples of experiment use, ie. Sep 20, George rated it really liked it Shelves: gestalt-books. Classic Gestalt text. If you are interested in Gestalt theory, this is a must read. There are many chapters that stand out-- the chapter on resistances was very helpful to me as I was beginning to learn more about gestalt theory. Nov 21, Mark rated it it was amazing. Erv and Miriam do a great job expanding gestalt therapy concepts in a clear and insightful way. Also, they do it in a way that it can be practiced and implemented in therapy.
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