Gestalt Therapy in Practice
Gestalt therapy, although looked upon rather suspiciously by many people, grows ever more popular and widespread over time, and begins to be well-known to people who are generally very far from the problems of psychology. Here is the exemplary account of one of cases when it helped a person to develop her inner potentials and make a decision that changed her life.
A woman in question, for the purposes of convenience let’s call her Jenny, moved to the new place of residence in another town and only managed to get a job of boiler-house employee, because there were not much job opportunities for outsiders. After a while, she entered a course of Gestalt therapy, which was formed along the following pattern. All the participants of this group therapy in turn communicated with the psychologist who directed the course, and we told to form images of two living beings: the one that they liked and the one they disliked. Jenny liked “the fox” (for being cunning, brave and active) and disliked “the hen” (for being passive, silly and inert).
The idea of the therapy is that the liked image is what the person wants to become, while the disliked one – what she is. Over the course of communication with the psychologist, the patient and the whole group come to a decision how close the patient is to his or her desired image. In two subsequent sessions the patient imagines herself to be what she likes and what she dislikes in turn; in the course of this study, the patient together with the psychologist decide what keeps the patient from becoming what she wants to be, what makes her resemble the disliked image, what hampers her when she imagines herself to be what she likes.
The correlation between the two images led the group to decide that the thing that kept Jenny in the image of a hen was her job, and that her real aspiration in life was to start a center for children’s development. Jenny followed that idea and started such an establishment with surprising (for a former boiler-house employee and a resident of a town with population less than 10000 people) success. Thus, we can see how this therapy is able, by means of a series of seemingly senseless procedures, to define the underlying motives of a human being and direct him or her accordingly.