Thursday, September 14, 2006

Theories and Methods - Gestalt Therapy

Gestalt therapy is based on the premise of each individual taking responsibility for the way they relate to others as well as living as an integrated self. Gestalt therapy is closely related to the concept of perception. The person is thought to consist of the self and the self-image. The self is the creative side that seeks to live life in an integrated fashion. The self-image is a dark side that imposes standards that inhibit growth. Maladaptive behavior is considered to be a lack of integration due to an abandoned self. Four disturbances mark Gestalt thoughts on maladaptive behavior: introjection is an overly compliant state where the client incorporates whole concepts without fully understanding them; projection is the disowning of certain parts of the self and attributing them to others; retroflection is the internalization of actions, thoughts, emotions, etc. that are meant for another; finally, confluence, is the abandonment of boundaries between the self and the environment.

The goal of Gestalt therapy is the integration of a unified self. Gestalt therapists use several techniques to achieve this goal. There is a focus on the here-an-now, questioning is discouraged, clients are encouraged to use “I” language to accept responsibility for their actions, clients further encouraged to claim responsibility using overt language, the use of role-playing and the empty-chair technique are designed to help clients externalize internal conflicts, finally, dreamwork is used to examine parts of the self that may not be fully accepted. Gestalt therapy is best used with clients who have the intelligence and education to withstand some of the confrontive techniques it uses.

For further review: Gestalt Therapy Integrated: Contours of Theory & Practice

6 comments:

Mrs. Joseph said...

I thought you might like to know that I read your blog. I came upon your blog as I was sojourning through the "next blog" button. Congrats on passing! I studied and trained to be an MFT in California but could not complete the process as the demands of my family took precedence at the time. Good luck.

niebuhrian said...

thank you. I am glad that the "webring" gods brought you this way. One of my favorite supervisors was an LMFT in Virginia. We used to have long discussions about triangulation and differentiation. It is a relief to pass in one state, but the journey continues as I seek to transfer my work to another state. It must have been hard to have to put aside something you worked so hard for, I hope your family appreciates what you have given to them in return.

Peace

Carolyn said...

Thanks you for your blog!

It's nice to read this as I'm currently studying for my LCSW exam. Don't start charging 250 dollars to read it ;) ha ha ha

niebuhrian said...

not a problem..

Christopher said...

As I review your blog, I am at the place in my life where I need to take the LCSW exam for the third time. Unfortunately, I missed an opportunity to work for a healthcare provider as they wanted someone with an LCSW.

I did not have my license, so now I am making this third attempt a WINNER!

Bob P said...

Hi
Its really great of you to share and prepare this blog. I kind of view it as my "cheat sheet". I'm an LMSW for about 3 1/2 years and just beginning to think about studying :)for the LCSW. My style is more of motivational interviewing, a la Rogers, although more directive. I guess that when your actually out there doing therapy, it takes some effort to remember all the styles of therapy we were taught in school, even though we probably use them all. well thanks...peace
Bob