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Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy

Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy

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Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy

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  1. Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy MacDonald Gestalt Therapy

  2. Questions? • What key concepts do you know in terms of Gestalt therapy?

  3. View of Human Nature • Self-reliance and reintegration • Dialogue b/w client and therapist (therapist has no agenda • Spontaneous; here and now experience • Human nature is rooted in existential philosophy, phenomenology, and field theory • Individuals have the capacity to self-regulate in their environment • The process of “reowning” parts of oneself that have been disowned

  4. The Now • Existential & Phenomenological – it is grounded in the client’s “here and now” • Initial goal is for clients to gain awareness of what they are experiencing and doing now • Promotes direct experiencingrather than the abstractness of talking about situations • Rather than talk about a childhood trauma the client is encouraged to become the hurt child

  5. The Now • Ask “what” and “how” instead of “why” • Our “power is in the present” • Nothing exists except the “now” • The past is gone and the future has not yet arrived • For many people, the power of the present is lost • They may focus on their past mistakes or engage in endless resolutions and plans for the future

  6. Unfinished Business • Feelings about the past are unexpressed • These feelings are associated with distinct memories and fantasies • Feelings not fully experienced linger in the background and interfere with effective contact • Pay attention on the bodily experience because if feelings are unexpressed they tend to result in physical symptom • Result: • Preoccupation, compulsive behavior, wariness oppressive energy and self-defeating behavior • Solution: get in touch with the stuck point.

  7. Contact and Resistances to Contact • CONTACT– interacting with nature and with other people without losing one’s individuality • Contact (connect) and Withdrawal (separate) • RESISTANCE TO CONTACT – the defenses we develop to prevent us from experiencing the present fully • Five major channels of resistance: • Introjection • Deflection • Projection • Confluence • Retroflection

  8. Contact and Resistances to Contact • Introjection: uncritically accept others’ belief and standards without thinking whether they are congruent with who we are • Projection: the reverse of introjection; we disown certain aspect of ourselves by assigning them to the environment • Retroflection: turning back to ourselves what we would like to do to someone else • Directing aggression inward that we are fearful to directing toward others.

  9. Contact and Resistances to Contact • Deflection: A way of avoiding contact and awareness by being vague or indirect. • e.g., overuse of humor • Confluence: less differentiation between the self and the environment. • e.g., a need to be accepted---to stay safe by going alone with other and not expressing one’s true feeling and opinions. • Clients are encouraged to become increasingly aware of their dominant style of blocking contact

  10. Questions • Please provide examples for each five resistance to contact?

  11. Energy and blocks to energy • Pay attention to where energy is located, how it is used, and how it can be blocked • Blocked energy (resistance): • Tension some part of the body; numbing feelings, looking away from people when speaking, speaking with a restricted voice • Recognize how their resistance is being expressed in their body • Exaggerate their tension and tightness in order to discover themselves

  12. Therapeutic Goals • Increasing Awareness and greater choice • Awareness includes knowing the environment, knowing oneself, accepting oneself, and being able to make contact. • Stay with their awareness, unfinished business will emerge.

  13. Therapist’s function and Role • Increase clients’ awareness • Pay attention to the present moment • Pay attention to clients’ body language, nonverbal language, and inconsistence b/w verbal and nonverbal message (e.g., anger and smile) • “I” message

  14. Client’s Experience in Therapy • Therapist  no interpretation • Client  making their own interpretation • Three-stage (Polster, 1987) • Discovery (increasing awareness) • Accommodation (recognizing that they have a choice) • Assimilation (influencing their environment)

  15. Relationship Between Therapist and Client • The quality of therapist-client relationship • Therapists knowing themselves • Therapists share their experience to clients in the here-and-now • Therapist Use of self in therapy

  16. Therapeutic techniques and procedures • The experiential work • Use experiential work in therapy to work through the stuck points and get new insights • Preparing client for experiential work • Get permission from clients • Be sensitive to the cultural difference (e.g., Asian cultural value: emotional control) • Respect resistance (e.g., express emotionsfear of lose control, could not stop, or weakness)

  17. Therapeutic techniques and procedures • Increase awareness about the incongruence between mind and body (verbal and nonverbal expression) • The internal dialogue exercise • Making the rounds • Rehearsal exercise • Exaggeration exercise • Staying with the feeling • The Gestalt approach to dream work

  18. Therapeutic techniques and procedures • The internal dialogue exercise • Top dog (critical parent) and underdog (victim) • Empty-chair (two sides of themselves) • Making the rounds • Go around to each person and say “What makes it hard for me trust you is……” • Rehearsal exercise • Reverse the typical style (e.g., behave as negative as possible)

  19. Therapeutic techniques and procedures • Rehearsal exercise • May get stuck when rehearsing silently or internally • Share the rehearsals out load with a therapist • Exaggeration exercise • Exaggerate gesture or movement, which usually intensified the feelings attached to the behavior and makes the inner meaning clearer. • Staying with the feeling • Go deeper into the feelings they wish to avoid

  20. Therapeutic techniques and procedures • The Gestalt approach to dream work • Not interpret or analyze dreams • Bring dream back to life as though they were happening now • The dream is acted out in the present to become different parts of the dream • Projection: every person or object in the dream represents a projected aspect of the dreamer. • Royal road to integration • Dreams serve as an excellent way to discover personality • No remember-refuse to face what it is at that time

  21. From a multicultural perspective • Contributions • Work with clients from their cultural perspectives • Limitations • Focus on “affect” • Asian cultural value: emotional control • Prohibiting to directly express the negative feelings to their parents.

  22. Summary and Evaluation • Contributions • Present-centered awareness • Pay attention on verbal and nonverbal cures • Bring conflicts or struggles to actually experience their conflict and struggles • Focus on growth and enhancement • See each aspect of a dream as a projection of themselves • Increase awareness of “what is” • Empirical validation for the effectiveness

  23. Summary and Evaluation • Limitations • Ineffective therapists may manipulate the clients with powerful experiential work • Some people may need psycho-education