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COUN720 Gestalt Therapy

by: Marie Fritch

COUN720 Gestalt Therapy Coun 720

Marie Fritch
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
GPA 4.0

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About this Document

These notes cover in depth the theory of gestalt therapy.
Counseling and Consulting Theories
Dr. Boley
Study Guide
psychology gestalt outline counseling
50 ?




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This 6 page Study Guide was uploaded by Marie Fritch on Thursday March 17, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to Coun 720 at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania taught by Dr. Boley in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 14 views. For similar materials see Counseling and Consulting Theories in Psychlogy at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

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Date Created: 03/17/16
Gestalt Therapy 1 Gestalt Therapy Marie Fritch Edinboro University COUN 720.002 Dr. Boley 3/13/16 Gestalt Therapy 2 Gestalt Therapy 1. Key figures  Fredrick S. Perls (1893­1970)  Born in Berlin, Germany  The founder and developer of gestalt therapy  Viewed humans as a whole in mind and body rather than just  functioning parts Laura P. Perls (1905­1990)  German­born psychologist and psychotherapist   Collaborated with Fitz which resulted in the foundations of Gestalt therapy  Helped establish the Gestalt school of psychotherapy 2. Basic underlying assumptions: This theory is an existential and experiential form of psychotherapy, which emphasizes  awareness, choice, and personal responsibility. Gestalt explores the way people can self­regulate  and adjust in response to their present situation. This form of therapy puts focus on the  individual's experience in the present moment as well as the therapist client relationship and the  environmental and social contexts of life (Corey, 2013).  3. Key essential concepts  View of human nature: Fitz believed that the individuals should be able to take  care of themselves and make informed choices. Perl’s style of therapy suggested  moving the client from their environmental support to being able to self­support  (Corey, 2013). He also encouraged the individual to embrace the disowned parts  of their personality. The individual should embrace whom they are to gain a  greater sense of self­awareness.  Gestalt Therapy 3  Principals: the main principals are  o Holism: Gestalt is the German word for whole. Holism is looking at the  big picture. The whole is different than the sum of its parts (Corey, 2013).  o Field theory: The organism must be seen in its environment or the context  in which it comes from. Everything is relational and interrelated and in the process (Corey, 2013).  o Figure formation: How the individual organizes information from moment to moment. There is always a foreground figure and a background figure.  The figure formation tracks how aspects of the environment can come to  the forefront and become the focus of the individual (Corey, 2013).  o Organismic self regulation: When the equilibrium is disturbed by a need,  sensation, or an interest, the individual must work to restore (Corey,  2013).   The now: Focusing on the now encourages the client to stop dwelling on their past and stressing about their future. The power is in living in the present to the best of our ability. When talking about a negative emotion gestalt therapy encourages the  client to experience those feelings in the present and work through them (Corey,  2013).   Unfinished business: Feelings that are not fully experienced in awareness become  unfinished business. The individual must express the feelings they harbor in order to move on and be free from that negativity.   Contact and resistance to contact: Contact is necessary for growth and change to  take place in the individual. Contact can be made by using the senses such as  smell, touch, and motion. Both contact and withdrawal are necessary boundaries  to a healthy mental state (Corey, 2013).  Gestalt Therapy 4  Energy and blocks to energy: Blocked energy is a form of defensive behavior.  The therapist’s role is to help the client understand where their energy is being  blocked and how it can flow again. Issues such as shallow breath, avoiding eye  contact, and poor posture are just a few examples of how energy can be blocked  and prevent the individual from feeling alive (Corey, 2013).  4. Important goals: The goal of Gestalt is the enhanced awareness in the present moment of sensation, perception,  bodily feelings, emotion, and behavior. Relationship is emphasized, along with contact between  the self and the environment. People are constantly in the process of becoming who they are and  discovering themselves. (Corey, 2013) 5. Role of therapeutic relationship in outcomes  Therapist’s function and role: the therapists role is to encourage the client to learn  about themselves and explore their sensory awareness in the present. The client  basically performs the work of therapy. The therapist is only a guide to  experiencing the now. The client is in charge of exploring themselves and coming to a greater sense of self (Corey, 2013).   Clients experience: The client makes their own interpretations in therapy about  their behaviors and realizations of themselves. Clients may begin tryong out new  behaviors in the safety of therapy to see how it may help them in real world  situations (Corey, 2013).  Relationship between both: The therapist is in charge of their own professional  quality services. They are responsible for creating an atmosphere conductive to  therapeutic practice. The client must put forth effort to take control of their  decisions and actions. The client cannot blame anyone for their actions they must  Gestalt Therapy 5 be the ones to take responsibility and correct it. The therapist can coach the client  into making the appropriate corrections to behaviors (Corey, 2013).  6. Techniques  The experiment in gestalt therapy: Experiments of therapy are introduced to the  client in an invitational manor. This method takes the client out of talk therapy  and into an activity that will heighten their awareness and understanding by  experience.   Preparing clients for gestalt experiments: The counselor must have their own  experience with gestalt therapy and becoming one with an object or feeling. The  therapist and client relationship is extremely important so that the client can trust  the therapist’s techniques (Corey, 2013).   The role of confrontation: Confrontation is not a harsh attack on the client. A  confrontation can be done with the client’s cooperation as they assess for  themselves their behaviors and mentality. It can also be based on how the client  may be blocking their energy without realizing.   Interventions: Many interventions can be performed such as the internal dialogue  exercise, making the rounds, and the reversal exercise, the exaggeration exercise,  staying with the feeling, and the gestalt approach to dream work(Corey, 2013).  7. Application to client populations, settings, and treatment of problems  Group counseling: Gestalt therapy works well with a group because it is focused  on the here and now. This encourages the group to take action together and brings a level of increased awareness. Self­disclosure is encouraged for all members of  the group because it brings people together (Corey, 2013).  8. Major strengths from a diversity perspective: Gestalt therapy takes the client and their  environment into account. Experiments are tailored to the way the individual perceives  themselves and their culture. The therapist is expected to set aside their biases and  Gestalt Therapy 6 preconceived notions of the culture (Corey, 2013). Gestalt encourages the client to accept all aspects of their cultural background and accept it. This leads to a more self­actualized  individual who is living to the fullest.  9. Shortcomings from a diversity perspective: some cultures are conditioned to suppress  their emotions because they are seen as a sign of weakness.   10.  Most significant contribution: Gestalt therapy encourages the client to live in the here  and the now. This is a very popular mindset in contemporary life and continues to be a  relevant mentality (Corey, 2013). Gestalt psychology tries to understand the laws of  human ability. How we acquire and maintain meaningful perceptions as we progress  through the trials and rewards of life. 11.  Most significant limitation: Gestalt psychology is descriptive rather than explanatory. It  may be seen as uninformative or repetitive in its theories (Corey, 2013). References Corey, G. (2013). Theory & Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy (9th. Ed.).  Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole


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