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Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy

Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy. MacDonald Gestalt Therapy. Questions?. What key concepts do you know in terms of Gestalt therapy?. View of Human Nature. Self-reliance and reintegration Dialogue b/w client and therapist (therapist has no agenda

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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

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