University of Phoenix Material
Theory in Brief
NAME OF THEORY: Gestalt Theory
BASIC PREMISES AND PHILOSOPHY: Gestalt theory is a broadly interdisciplinary general theory which provides a framework for a wide variety of psychological phenomena, processes, and applications. Human beings are viewed as open systems in active interaction with their environment. It is especially suited for the understanding of order and structure in psychological events
FOUNDERS OR IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTORS: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Ernst Mach, and particularly of Christian von Ehrenfels and the research work of Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Köhler, Kurt Koffka, and Kurt Lewin
COUNSELING GOALS: The relationship between the therapist and the client is the most important aspect of psychotherapy. Existential dialogue is an essential part of Gestalt therapy's methodology and is a manifestation of the existential perspective on relationship. In Gestalt, the only goal is awareness. This includes greater awareness in a particular area and also greater ability for the patient to bring automatic habits into awareness as needed. In the former sense awareness is a content, in the latter sense it is a process. Both awareness as content and awareness as process progress to deeper levels as the therapy proceeds. Awareness includes knowing the environment, responsibility for choices, self-knowledge, and self-acceptance, and the ability to contact.
Relationship grows out of contact. Through contact people grow and form identities. Contact is the experience of boundary between "me" and "not-me." It is the experience of interacting with the not-me while maintaining a self-identity separate from the not-me. Martin Buber states that the person ("I") has meaning only in relation to others, in the I-Thou dialogue or in I-It manipulative contact. Gestalt therapists prefer experiencing the patient in dialogue to using therapeutic manipulation (I-It).
ROLE OF COUNSELOR: The Gestalt therapist...