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Discovering Gestalt Theory in the Work


   This workshop involves a series of short lectures on several Gestalt theoretical principles, for example the theory of organismic self regulation, the paradoxical principle of change, the phenomenological method, and issues of contact interruptions and distortions. Each of these will be followed by my working therapeutically with a volunteer from the group and, after group sharing, the work will be processed in order to make clear how the theoretical principles influenced the work itself. The focus will be not only on the ground of theoretical knowledge a Gestalt therapist must bring to his/her work, but also on some of the ways in which the therapist’s attitudes toward the client and toward the therapeutic relationship can be made manifest in the therapeutic processes themselves.


   The purpose of this workshop is to demonstrate how the Gestalt theoretical principles which underlie and inform a piece of work can be made explicit, thereby making clear the intrinsic connection between the theoretical ground a Gestalt therapist brings to a given therapeutic process and the methods he/she uses in that work.


   To increase the participants’ understanding of the intrinsic connection between Gestalt theory and Gestalt methods.

   To help clinicians process a given piece of therapeutic work in ways which make clear how Gestalt theoretical principles informed that work, thus demonstrating the truth of Lewin’s dictum, “Nothing as practical as a good theory.”

   To increase clinicians’ understanding of several means by which they can signal to their clients that they are present with these clients and that they welcome the self-revelation which can come as the client tells his/her story. It will become clear that these means of signalling are also grounded in Gestalt principles.


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