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A Well Lived Life:

Essays in Gestalt Therapy


by

Sylvia Fleming Crocker, Ph.D.


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Cover Design: Each of the "petals" of the design symbolizes a field comprised of a six-function self in the complex spheres of influence in which he or she lives. The total design represents a community of persons living in mutually influencing fields.

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Outline
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CONTENTS
FOREWORD
INTRODUCTION
PREFACE
PROLOGUE

PART I: AN APPROACH TO HUMAN CHANGE
   Essay One: “The Unity of Theory and Method in Gestalt Therapy”
      A. An Overview of Gestalt Therapy
      B. The Human Organism
         1. The biological field.
         2. Theory of the organism.
         3. Contact.
         4. Whole-making.
         5. Goal-seeking behavior.
      C. The Methods of Gestalt Therapy.
         1. The therapeutic relationship.
         2. The experiment.
            a. Awareness work.
               i. Strategic: Experience Cycle vs. self-function
                analysis of contact.
               ii. Tactical: Phenomenology of therapist & client
            b. Amplification, exaggeration, and refraction.
            c. Therapeutic role-playing.
            d. Homework.
         3. Working with cognition.
         4. The wider field: couples, families, groups, education,
          organizations.
      D. Conclusion.

   Essay Two: “Processes of Contact—A Dynamic Model of the Self”
      A. Introduction.
      B. Self-functions.
      C. Interested excitement function.
      D. Decision-making function.
      E. Choosing function.
      F. Whole-making or synthesizing function.
      G. Habit-formation function.
      H. Contact-and-withdrawal function.
      I. The six-function model as a diagnostic tool.

   Essay Three: “Functional and Dysfunctional Processes of Contact”
      A. Introduction.
      B. A case example.
      C. Introjection.
      D. Projection.
      E. Confluence.
      F. Transference.
      G. Retroflection.
      H. Egotism.
      I. Proflection.
      J. Deflection.
      K. Conclusions about contact distortions.
      L. The broader perspective: the double focus of the Gestalt therapy
       process.

PART II: THE PHILOSOPHICAL GROUND

   Essay Four: “Opposing Paradigms [Aristotelian vs Platonic]
    in Gestalt Therapy and Psychoanalysis.”
      A. Introduction.
      B. Contrasting visions of what is real.
      C. Aristotle’s analytical tools for understanding wholeness and
       processes of change.
      D. Three Platonic philosophical problems.
      E. The mind-body problem.
      F. The problem of knowing the unique individual.
      G. Knowing and acting.
      H. Conclusion.

   Essay Five: “Foundations of the Concept of the Self”
      A. Introduction.
      B. Psyche, soul, and self.
      C. The self as the “system of contacts in a difficult field” and as
       “the agent of growth.”
      D. Agency, continuity through time, organic wholeness,
       affectivity, and “I”.
      E. The need for a theory of human development.

   Essay Six: “All There Is, Is Now—A Gestalt Theory of
    Human Nature”
      A. Introduction.
      B. How are processes of contact possible?
      C. Field theory.
      D. Fractals and holograms.
      E. The pervasiveness of process.
      F. Personal self-knowledge.
      G. Knowledge of the individuals and the therapeutic task.

PART III: HUMAN MATURITY AND FULFILLMENT

   Essay Seven: “A Well-Lived Life—A Gestalt Perspective”
      A. Introduction.
      B. Personal life.
      C. Of butterflies and paradoxes.
      D. Growing through paradoxes.
      E. What is psychological health?
      F. The nature of authenticity.
      G. The individual as clear figure.
      H. The fulfilled self—maturing the foundations.

   Essay Eight: “Meetings of Persons—Reflections on Authentic
    Relationships”
      A. Introduction.
      B. The moral life.
      C. Friendship.
      D. Patterns of effective communication.
      E. Intimate relationships.
         1. Defining characteristics.
         2. Presence.
         3. Commitment.
         4. Welcoming the self-revelation of the other.
         5. Intimate relationships in the broader field.
         6. Intimacy in Gestalt therapy.
         7. The place of intimacy in human life.

   Essay Nine: “The Spiritual Dimension of Gestalt Therapy”
      A. Several meanings of “human spirituality” and
            “the spiritual.”
      B. A phenomenology of “the spiritual”—“the experience of mystery.”
      C. The central role spirituality in Gestalt theory and practice.
         1. The Jo-Hari window.
         2. The Jo-Hari window-Syl.
      D. Apotheosis: honoring the mystery in everyday life.

PART IV: BEYOND THE 20TH CENTURY
   Essay Ten: “The Strengths of Gestalt Therapy as a New Paradigm”
      A. Introduction.
      B. Gestalt therapy’s theory as field-theoretical and holistic.
      C. Evaluation as a scientific theory.
         1. Scope.
         2. Consistency.
         3. Parsimony.
         4. Fruitfulness.
      D. Evaluation as a clinical theory.
         1. Healthy and unhealthy functioning and their conditions.
         2. Therapeutic fruitfulness.
      E. The coming synthesis.

EPILOGUE
BIBLIOGRAPHY
INDEX

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