Table of contents:
- One of my colleagues, a psychiatrist, having completed courses in Gestalt therapy as part of advanced training, admitted: "What is Gestalt therapy, I still do not understand … But I remember only one thing: Gestalt must be completed!"
- Bully from psychotherapy
- It is he who is called "life"
- "Here and Now" or "Nowhere and Never"
- Through play - to health
Video: This Is A Strange Word - Gestalt - Quality Of Life, Society
One of my colleagues, a psychiatrist, having completed courses in Gestalt therapy as part of advanced training, admitted: "What is Gestalt therapy, I still do not understand … But I remember only one thing: Gestalt must be completed!"
The psychotherapeutic world has its own fashion trends and current trends, and if a few years ago the consumer market for psychotherapeutic services was ruled by experts in neurolinguistic programming (NLP), who sincerely promised to get rid of stuttering, erectile dysfunction, bronchial asthma and unpleasant memories in two sessions, now the era of gestalt therapists has come. These do not promise to save you from anything, but they guarantee that you are aware of everything.
Bully from psychotherapy
“A real great psychologist is rarely someone's faithful follower. The most striking mark in the history of psychological thought was left by those scientists who, having critically rethought traditional ideas, managed to go beyond the usual framework and say their own word not only in addition to, but sometimes in opposition to the opinion of authorities. By Frederick Solomon Perls, the father-founder of Gestalt therapy, it applies in the highest degree " 1.
1 S. Stepanov. Fritz Perls. Biography.
Perls was born and raised in the family of a small Berlin entrepreneur. Parents often quarreled, their quarrels often ended in assault. Mother raised Frederick with a stick for knocking out carpets, father - with boring pathetic lectures. Children from such families are usually timid and downtrodden, but Frederick grew up rebellious, rebellious and intolerant of any hypocrisy and insincerity. He studied poorly, spent two years in the seventh grade, and later was completely expelled from school for too rebellious behavior. However, this did not prevent him from going to medical school and obtaining a medical degree.
In the late twenties of the last century, Perls is fond of psychoanalysis. Freud is his deity, his idol and idol. He receives a psychoanalytic education and undergoes educational analysis (a necessary part of the analyst's training, which implies the treatment of the future therapist by more experienced colleagues) from the most famous and brilliant figures in this branch of psychotherapy.
In 1933, the Nazis came to power in Germany, and the Jew Perls and his entire family were hastily evacuated to the Netherlands. From there he moved to South Africa, where he founded the South African Psychoanalytic Institute in Johannesburg. In 1936, he returned to Europe at the helm of a private plane to speak at an international psychoanalytic congress and finally meet with the master of his own thoughts, Dr. Sigmund Freud.
This meeting, like many episodes in Perls's life, is told in legends. It lasted only fifteen minutes - and changed both the life and ideas of Perls about psychoanalysis, and the face of modern psychotherapy. Freud did not even enter the room where the audience was supposed to be, remaining at the door. An agitated Perls said, "Master, I drove 4,000 miles to see you!" "Well, when are you leaving?" Freud asked in response. The phrase turned out to be fatal: the rebellious Frederick not only completely broke with psychoanalysis, but also devoted all his further work to criticizing its failure as a therapeutic method.
Frederick Perls died in 1970, having managed to become the creator of one of the most popular methods of modern psychotherapy, to live and work on three different continents - in Europe, Africa and America and even in the colony - British Columbia. A nonconformist from psychotherapy, he managed to make many enemies and arouse the admiration and worship of thousands of followers. Until his death, for both friends and enemies, he remained not Dr. Perls, not Mr. Frederick Perls, but simply Fritz.
It is he who is called "life"
The German word "Gestalt" (Gestalt) means "integral something", "form", "structure", "configuration". The main idea of Perls was the consideration that most people skillfully and variedly avoid the life that exists exclusively "here and now" at the moment. People avoid the experience of the present, worrying about the future, rethinking the past, being under the pressure of instructions and rules, learned without criticism in childhood as "must be followed" …
Gestalt therapy believes that the most important thing happens at the so-called border of the body's contact with the environment, at the very moment of contact. The contact either took place - and then the person makes a conscious choice and makes a responsible decision, or, which happens much more often, it is interrupted. Contact can only occur with a "figure" that has stood out from the environment - the "background". The figure can be another person, or it can also be one's own feelings, sensations, experiences - it is important that this object stands out from the surrounding background, becomes noticeable - then contact is possible.
Where are the boundaries of the norm?
Paradoxically, problem healing and mental health are not the primary goals of Gestalt therapy. The symptoms that a suffering person comes with (in gestalt it is customary to respectfully call him a client and in no case be reduced to the level of a "patient"), not forms of manifestation of the disease, which must certainly get rid of. They were once manifestations of creative adaptation to the environment, and therefore the goal is not to get rid of them, but to explore. One mental health for all, from the point of view of gestalt, does not exist at all - with each new client, the therapist creates an individual, necessary form of mental norm.
When a motorist drives along a calm desert road, gestalts of the surrounding landscapes appear at the border of his contact, and it is they who become figures. As soon as there is a danger - a drunk driver or a reckless driver driving with excess speed, it is he who becomes a figure, overshadowing and relegating all others to the rank of background.
Consider everyday examples of different types of contact interruption
Son (5 years old): Mom, look what kind of steamer I drew!
Mom (without taking her eyes off the computer): Yes, sonny, wonderful.
Son: Mom, look, he has such a pipe! This was the first time I did it!
Mom (continuing the conversation in the chat): Uh-huh, you are great for me.
Formally, everything is in order. It would seem that the mother followed all the rules of "good parenting": she praised her son for a successful drawing, and supported … What really happened? From the point of view of the gestalt therapist, there was no contact. The son's drawing and the boy's related experiences (pride, the need for recognition) did not become a figure in the surrounding background for the mother, because the contact at that moment took place in another place, and the figure was a conversation with a girlfriend on the Internet. A certain moment in my mother's life, in which something important for both of them happened: the first successful drawing of her son, the feeling that he could do something himself - was missed and not lived by her.
And here is another scene, in which the same characters participate, but five years later
Son (10 years old, after returning from school): Mom, I need to talk to you.
Mom (benevolently interested): What happened, son?
Son (with tears in his voice): I was kicked out of class …
Mom (still kindly): For what?
Son: You know … Well … This is … So, I called the teacher a fool …
Mom (shocked): Mary Ivannu is a fool ?! How could you ?!
And again, the mother avoided contact with the feelings of her son, again they failed to become a figure for her. This time, Mom interrupts the contact in another way, replacing her own feelings with the declaration of the "rule": "You did something terrible, because you can't do that."
"Here and Now" or "Nowhere and Never"
A healthy individual lives in the "here and now" format, realizing what is happening to him and why he needs it. If something interferes with this "awareness", the so-called methods of interrupting contact come to the rescue. To track them, the Gestalt therapist closely observes not so much WHAT, but HOW the client says and how his body behaves.
Merging. Contact does not arise at all, so there is nothing to interrupt. There is no "I" because there is no "not-I". In speech, this is usually reflected in the persistent use of the pronoun "we". This behavior is typical for mothers of babies (“We ate well and sleep well,” says the mother of the newborn, although she didn’t have a crumb in her mouth in the morning and she managed to take a nap the day before yesterday) or for parents of seriously ill children, who thus strive every second monitor the condition of the child.
However, a similar way of communication without contact can be observed in other spouses, when it seems that they do not exist separately: "Yesterday we went to the cinema, on Sunday we will go to the country house … Yes, we really love to live outside the city!" For a gestaltist, such a form of behavior is by no means evidence of cloudless family happiness, but a sign of a profound dysfunction of the "I" function, a total avoidance of contact with the environment.
In the world of merging, conflicts do not arise, but this means that no energy arises in it, be it the energy of fear or aggression, tenderness or passion. No energy - no development. Being in fusion, a person renounces any life at all, renounces his own individuality, speaking psychologically, from “selfhood”. He, like the Wise Gudgeon in Saltykov-Shchedrin, completely dissolves in the environment (or a suitable "object"), so long as there are no problems and conflicts.
Not boring therapy
At the appointment with a gestalt therapist, anything can happen and you do not have to be bored. The group periodically bursts out with laughter, depicting elephants, pigs, a working food processor or the Statue of Liberty, then plunges into silence, interrupted by someone's sobbing … Simulating a real living life that flickers and sparkles in every sincere smile or sob, in the feeling of flight or heaviness feeling sadness and joy, Gestalt therapy brings its clients back to reality. One of the main goals of this type of therapy is to give the client a new experience. It is he, and not the endless interpretations of psychoanalysts, according to Fritz Perls, who is able to heal a person from avoiding life.
Introjection. An attempt to establish contact is traced, only very awkward. Introjects are like swallowed boulders in the stomach of a glutton - it's hard, uncomfortable, painful, and you can't get rid of it. In speech, introjects manifest themselves by the constant use of the words "must", "must" and "must not." The Gestalt therapist, like a kite, pounces on these constructions, demanding to replace them with "I want." During introjection, my own desire, my need is replaced by the desire or need of another person, formulated as an immutable rule. Perls, known as the owner of an extremely harsh language and developed a whole ironic gestalt vocabulary in which most of the expressions are not very suitable for use by a wide audience, called "the tyranny of obligation" as one of the scourges of modern man.which he called mustarbation (from the English must - "must", in English the word is generally consonant with "masturbation").
Projection. Another favorite Gestaltist way of interrupting contact is to ascribe their own experiences, feelings, emotions to the environment. In speech, it looks like a replacement of the pronoun "I" for the pronoun "you" (or "they" if we are talking about a whole group of people). “They don’t like me,” the speaker thinks, worried before a public speech.
Retroflection is a reverse projection. The subject returns to himself what was addressed to the environment. The speech of such a person is replete with reflexive verbs with the particle "sya", and in behavior there are usually characteristic features - obsessive movements, bad habits. Asking himself what he would like to do to another, the person punches himself in the arm or kicks a chair, instead of hitting someone, bites his nails instead of biting. The highest form of retroflection is suicide: a person kills himself instead of destroying that or that which made him suffer.
Through play - to health
The techniques used by Gestalt therapists are called games and experiments. With the light hand of Perls, the term "aboutism" appeared, which called the stories of the afflicted about their experiences or problems. “Don't tell me about it - show me how it is for you” - this is the unspoken motto of gestalt therapy. Compared to other methods, especially psychoanalysis, where the focus is on past memories and the patient's flow of free associations, gestalt is practice in the best sense of the word.
The group (and it is the group forms of work that are most popular in gestalt) becomes an ideal arena and at the same time an instrument for the embodiment of the experienced problems. Played right now with the help of the therapist and other participants, a scene from distant childhood memories evokes real feelings in you, which in the careful hands of the gestalt therapist become the key to realizing those experiences that were hidden behind them …
Thanks to Perls, a new way of working with dreams has appeared in psychotherapy. In psychoanalysis, a dream is viewed as an encrypted message written in symbolic language about what is happening to the dreamer. In Gestalt therapy, any part of a dream is viewed as a projection of the person himself or some part of him.
In other words, in a dream everything is myself, and it was from these positions that Perls suggested that we begin to understand dreams. Becoming in turn each part of his own dream, be it another person, a broken chair or a distant heavenly body, the client of the gestalt therapist deciphers the personal meaning that his dream brings to him.