Book Notes

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Book Notes, which focus on material from theory books (mostly Kindle copies) that hopefully provide a coherent précis of the subject matter using the actual text.  The text represents quotes from the original source book and are suitable for (academic) referencing using the appropriate page or kindle location reference.

Mainly Gestalt Psyhotherapy related, as you might expect.  Therapy theory as well as educational and training texts that I have utilised in my clinical therapy work; in my role as lecturer in psychotherapy at several UK universities; and in the preparation and delivery of my workshops.

Book Notes is a part of Members pages that also include

Essays is composed of of my writings, academic and otherwise, that I am choosing to share.  These include assignments from my training (now many years ago) at The Sherwood Psychotherapy Training Institute (SPTI) towards my MA in Gestalt Psychotherapy; other material comes from workshop material and notes; there are also poetic expressions - poetry; other writings appear here that might otherwise have been in the Scribbles page - which is public.

 

Research, comprises material that has related interest to the variety of topic I have, or am, exploring.  Much is material that gets posted into my inbox, and where possible I will include a link to the source.

Articles, includes the numerous journal and website material that has come my way and sparked enough interest for me to download or otherwise hold on to.  Some 'articles' may be a complete journal issue - and this applies to UKAPI (UK Assocaition for Psychotherapy Integration).  UKAPI is no longer active and all their journals are now publicly available.

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Identifying and Alienating

In the work of contacting, we may now define the function of the ego, identifying and alienating and determining the boundaries or context. “Accepting an impulse as one’s own” means, in the sequence, to have it as part of the ground in which the next figure will develop. (This is what Freud meant to say by “the ego is part of the id.”) Such identifying is often deliberate; and the ego will function well — in its orientations and manipulations — if it is identified with grounds that in fact will develop good figures, provided the grounds have energy and likelihood. (So Freud says, “The ego as part of the id is strong, the ego cut off from the id is weak.”)

Perls, Frederick S. ; Hefferline, Ralph; Goodman, Paul. Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality (p. 190). The Gestalt Journal Press. Kindle Edition.

Added:

20 December 2021

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Non-Directivity A Fiction and an Irresponsible Denial of Power

… a ‘non-directive’ approach is seen by some to be a denial of the inevitable power of the therapist the second of Rogers’ six conditions requires that the client is vulnerable or anxious clients are likely to follow what they perceive as directions from them.

for person-centred therapists to pretend they are non-directive is to deny reality leads to an avoidance of the real issue of the imbalance of power the importance of the non-directive approach is found in Rogers’ Counseling and Psychotherapy (1942).

the person-centred view of non-directivity has been essentially structural whereas a functional view might be more appropriate. The importance of directivity is not in what the counsellor does but in what the client experiences. Whether my behaviour as a therapist looks directive or non-directive to my peers is entirely irrelevant The question which should be asked is not ‘is the therapist behaving directlvely?’, but ‘is the client being directed?’

Ch 7 ‘Non-Directivity’: A Fiction and an Irresponsible Denial of Power? Paul Wilkins Person-Centred Therapy in Focus (Counselling & Psychotherapy in Focus Series) Sage

Added:

19 December 2021

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Out of This World: Suicide Examined. Myths, Misrepresentations, and Fallacies

Prevalent current approaches and diagnoses attempt to reduce suicidality to a set of faulty behaviours, complex models of motivations and impulses, negative thoughts,

They deny or avoid the fact that suicide, as an act of killing, is underpinned by aggression turned against the self.

suicidal behaviour results from a complex interplay of factors,

Intention, feelings of entrapment, triggered by defeat/humiliation, determined by, factors that facilitate/obstruct addition, background factors (e.g., deprivation, vulnerabilities) and life events (e.g., relationship crisis),

the central features of the suicidal state: defeat, entrapment, constriction, etc., two very important aspects about suicide. 

One: that it is an unconscious act. 

Two: that it is an act of aggression. The intention is to kill the self and at the same time aggress the Other.

The real whammy in suicide, and what makes it so difficult to get hold of, is that, more often than not, the person does not know this herself. Usually her aggressive wishes are so deeply repressed, cut off, unknown, and, most important, felt to be unacceptable, that they are utterly repressed.


Added:

9 November 2021

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Social Context and Psychotherapy

Comment by Philip Lichtenberg

Salonia locates personal functioning within one’s larger social existence, including one’s place in history.

He places psychological theories within the history of ideas ... shows how early theory of Gestalt Theory ... emphasizes claims to individuality and personal self-regulation. ... he adroitly notes that now we must attend to self-regulation of relationships ... he suggests we go beyond “basic personality” in a society to a “Basic Relational Model” that the society promotes. ... Salonia places mental health and psychopathology within the relational model. ... “contact competency” differentiates these aspects of personal functioning very well. 

Ch 8, Social Context and Psychotherapy by Giovanni Salonia in Gestalt Therapy in Clinical Practice: From Psychopathology to the Aesthetics of Contact (Gestalt Therapy Book Series 2).  Gianni Francesetti, Michela Gecele, Jan Roubal, and Leslie Greenberg

Added:

5 September 2021

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Gestalt Therapy and Developmental Theories

It is important not to underestimate how therapist’s theoretical premises as well as his subjectivity could constitute an obstacle to an accurate perception of the patient’s experience ... above all when this risk involve children’s development and non verbal communication.  Gestalt Therapy has re-examined itself in relation to developmental theories ... a model for working with children (Oaklander, 1988; Bove Fernandez et al., 2006) and a description of child’s body growth phases (Frank, 2001) was developed by Gestalt theory and practice. ... attempt was made in the Eighties to outline a child developmental theory using the ways and times of the contact cycle (The From We-to I/You model; Salonia, 1989a or. ed.; 1992). ... Gestalt Therapy approaches the human animal organism, ... which weaves together the body ... (the theory of the Self with its functions: Id, Personality and Ego), ... the relationship ... (the theory of the contact with its ways and times: the Gestalt contact cycle) ... and time ... (the theory of growth and its relational time experienced).

Ch 11. Gestalt Therapy and Developmental Theories in Gestalt Therapy in Clinical Practice: From Psychopathology to the Aesthetics of Contact (Gestalt Therapy Book Series 2). Gianni Francesetti, Michela Gecele, Jan Roubal, and Leslie Greenberg

Added:

4 September 2021

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Aggression, Time, and Understanding: Contributions to the Evolution of Gestalt Therapy

In what follows we will outline the positions that we have worked out with respect to Perls's theory of aggression and to the therapeutic treatment of human aggression. ... make up Perls's theory of aggression: "destroying" in the sense of "de-structuring" (to break into parts), "assimilation" and "life supporting" or, as Perls wrote in other places, "growth." ... Perls's theory of aggression: "destroying" in the sense of "de-structuring" (to break into parts), "assimilation" and "life supporting" or, as Perls wrote in other places, "growth." ... the attempt to overcome Freud's negative view of aggression as an outcome of the "death instinct" and to link it instead with the positive force of life. ... For Perls aggression is a "biological force" (1969a, p. 5) in the service of life that is closely related to what he calls "assimilation" ... For Perls aggression is a "biological force" (1969a, p. 5) in the service of life that is closely related to what he calls "assimilation" ... By biting, chewing, and digesting the original structure of food is "destroyed" and transformed so that it becomes similar to the organism (Latin; ad-similatio) and usable for survival and growth.

Frank-M. Staemmler 2009 Aggression, Time, and Understanding: Contributions to the Evolution of Gestalt Therapy. Gestalt Press;


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25 August 2021

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The Need For Gestalt Therapy Research

The gestalt   approach to psychotherapy has not been well researched; ... During gestalt   therapy’s early years, there was an anti-intellectual bias among many gestalt   therapy practitioners, partly in reaction to the perceived over intellectualization of the theory out of which it developed - psychoanalysis. ... The research   has often been narrowly focused and limited, ...  it is not possible to apply these   results to the effectiveness of the gestalt approach generally, ...    techniques are assessed out of context, their meaning   is limited. ... existing research rarely includes a sound research design ... Research protocols have also not always been sufficiently rigorous to meet today’s   research standards

CHAPTER TWO. The Need For Gestalt Therapy Research. Eva K. Gold And Stephen G. Zahm in Handbook for Theory, Research, and Practice in Gestalt Therapy, Edited by Philip Brownell. This book first published 2008 by Cambridge Scholars Publishing

Added:

25 August 2021

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Gestalt Theory of Dependent Behaviors

Gestalt Therapy, stated that the classification, description, and   analysis of the structures of the self are the subject matter of   phenomenology ... the experience of self ... deserves a phenomenological scaffold to hang the features of dependence, ... addictive and self-medicating process. This chapter

provides a Gestalt therapy orientation to the “what” and “how” of   dependent behavior

Gestalt Theory of Dependent Behaviors. Chapter 19. Dependent Behaviors by Philip Brownell and Peter Schulthess  (Kindle Locations 8650-8652) in Gestalt Therapy in Clinical Practice: From Psychopathology to the Aesthetics of Contact (Gestalt Therapy Book Series 2). Gianni Francesetti, Michela Gecele, Jan Roubal, and Leslie Greenberg

Added:

25 August 2021

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"How can we educate children for peace?"

By "aggression" most people understand the wish to attack, to destroy and to kill. Therefore they condemn it wholeheartedly, and the general trend in our civilization for many centuries goes towards the more or less complete suppression of this apparently most dangerous instinct. ... the small child is a little savage, an untamed animal, whose behavior is directed primarily by the pleasure principle and with little thought to the demands of reality. ... the average family reacts in the following way: Every overt sign of aggression in the child (crying, kicking, biting, breaking things, etc.) is met by the grown ups with disapproval. ... is directed at the child's impatience and bad moods. ... outbreaks ... often lead to severe punishment. ... The child is told to be good natured, obedient, respectful. ... usually achieved either by appealing to the child's fear of trouble and punishment or to his desire to be loved. ... for hundreds of generations people have been brought up in this way, we must admit that the results are rather disappointing. ... scrutinize the common conception of "aggression." ... child's aggression causes grown ups a lot of inconvenience and annoyance. Therefore ... it as undesirable and try to break the child's will. ... also of suppressing his curiosity and his inquisitiveness.

Laura (Lore) Perls and Joe Wysong 2012 (1992) "How can we educate children for peace?". The Gestalt Approach: Living at the Boundary: The Collected Works of Laura Perls Edited by Joe Wysong THE GESTALT JOURNAL PRESS eBook Edition 2012 Original Print Edition 1992

Added:

11 August 2021

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Crisis Psychotherapy

In a crisis, the person comes on a crossroads. ... encounters both what s/he is and what s/he can be if s/he changes him/her/herself. crisis occurs when a person ... must come to know him/her/herself as limited. ... What is a crisis? Paul Tillich calls it “the walk through Hell,” apt, descriptive, and phenomenologically precise ... mode of conflict and suffering.

Vincent F. O’Connell, 2003 Crisis Psychotherapy: Person, Dialogue, And The Organismic Event in Joen Fagan & Irma Lee Shepherd 2003 Gestalt Therapy Now. The Gestalt Journal Press

Added:

11 August 2021

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Gestalt In The New Age

Its philosophical underpinnings bring into play a wide array of concepts in a novel way ... unique coming together of different perspectives – a unique epistemological and ontological position that devolved from its adherence to three foundational sources, ... field theory, phenomenology and dialogue ... has implications far wider than the field of psychotherapy and invites fresh and innovative viewpoints in the field of human activity. ... “Gestalt philosophy of being” ... “Gestalt therapy” is used as an umbrella expression, ... This stance, however, minimizes the breadth, the depth and the beauty of Gestalt as an overall “philosophy of being.” ... The Gestalt philosophy of being traverses cultural restrictions and different languages and offers a healing through meeting in a diverse cultural universe as ours currently is ... the Gestalt philosophy of being is uniquely predisposed and ready to cultivate our humanity and humanize our culture in our new world. ... “Gestalt philosophy of being” – an approach to maintaining and sustaining relationship. ... recognizes that persons use the same philosophical and practical guidance wherever they go, ... it becomes part of their individuated make-up. ...

Jay Levin and Talia Bar-Yoseph Levine. 2012, Gestalt in the new age. In Talia Bar-Yoseph Levine (ed) 2012 Gestalt Therapy: Advances in Theory and Practice (Advancing Theory in Therapy Series Ed Keith Tudor). Routledge, Hove, UK

Added:

11 August 2021

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Actualising Tendency in Person-Centred Therapy

Actualisation has different meanings in theories of the person.  Most notable is the difference of Maslow's Hierachy of Needs.

People legitimately adopting the label ‘person-centred’ have chosen to believe in the actualising tendency with its various implications... van Deurzen-Smith (1988: 56) criticises the assumption... human beings are ‘basically positive creatures who develop constructively, given the right conditions’.

... when a person is truly free to become what they most deeply is, free to actualize their nature as an organism capable of awareness, then they clearly appears to move toward wholeness and integration.

Wilkins, Paul. Person-Centred Therapy in Focus (Counselling & Psychotherapy in Focus Series) (pp. 85-86). SAGE Publications. Kindle Edition.

Added:

5 August 2021

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Anxiety Within the Situation

"If we see psychology as the study of human experience, then psychopathology is the study of the dysfunctions of that experience. If we regard human experience as essentially unique since it includes all the contact operations that link human beings with their world, then the study of the dysfunctions of experience will show us some of the ways in which experience may cease to be unique, presenting instead a number of flections.

Gestalt Therapy in Clinical Practice: From Psychopathology to the Aesthetics of Contact (Gestalt Therapy Book Series 2). Gianni Francesetti, Michela Gecele, Jan Roubal, and Leslie Greenberg

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5 August 2021

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Attunement

the therapist must be attuned to the client’s here-and-now experience … With … sensitive attunement, … the therapist will be experienced as dependable, consistent, and trustworthy.

Feeling understood and in contact involves more … It involves having them know how we feel about those words and sensing that they share or reverberate with how we feel. It involves their being attuned to us, … it goes beyond empathy,… it involves the deeply personal response of the hearer as well as the intent of the speaker (Stern, 1985).

Erskine, Richard; Moursund, Janet; Trautmann, Rebecca. 1999 Beyond Empathy: A Therapy of Contact-in Relationships. Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

Added:

5 August 2021

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Borderline The Wound of the Boundary

The borderline is often impulsive, chaotic, affectively unstable, and at times experiences relationships in paranoid manner.  A lack of perceptive stability, with impulsiveness, may lead to the risk of suicidal behaviours, eating disorders, predisposition to abuse,addiction and antisocial behaviour.

Borderline personality disorder faces a human drama in which uttering one’s emotions leads to an expansion of the self which is always dramatically conflictual: a profound sense of split leads the sufferer to desire and at the same time loathe contact with the other.

Gestalt Therapy in Clinical Practice: From Psychopathology to the Aesthetics of Contact (Gestalt Therapy Book Series 2). Gianni Francesetti, Michela Gecele, Jan Roubal, and Leslie Greenberg

Added:

5 August 2021

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Dependent Behaviours

"People who develop addictions often grow up in families where self-medicating is an element in one’s early coping strategy....in dependent process people are used to obtain substances and people are pawns in self-medicating behaviors."

"The primary relationship becomes the substance or behavior that soothes and the people become the secondary relationship serving the first. ... Addictive experience is the retreat from novel stimuli, from contact in the current field and a desire for repetition of previous experience"

Gestalt Therapy in Clinical Practice: From Psychopathology to the Aesthetics of Contact (Gestalt Therapy Book Series 2). Gianni Francesetti, Michela Gecele, Jan Roubal, and Leslie Greenberg

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5 August 2021

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Early affect-confusion

"... described how each relationship ended because of “incompatibility.”  ... perceived the men in her life as not understanding her and/or not respecting her needs. she is often feeling depressed; fearing abandonment;

in emotional pain; no one understands her; either self-critical or critical of others; destructive in most relationships; behavior oscillates between being extremely needy of others and hating them for failing her.

My tasks would be to resolve her hyper-vulnerability and early affective confusion;

Richard G. Erskine. Relational Patterns, Therapeutic Presence: Concepts and Practice of Integrative Psychotherapy. Karnac Books Ltd..Kindle Edition

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5 August 2021

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Emotional Response and Therapist Reply

An angry person needs …

The client who is afraid requires …

The reciprocal response to sadness is …

All of therapy is not fear and sadness and anger; there are joyous moments as well …

Erskine, Richard; Moursund, Janet; Trautmann, Rebecca. 1999 Beyond Empathy: A Therapy of Contact-in Relationships. Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

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5 August 2021

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Fears of Abandonment (and Borderline Personality Disorder)

"Diagnostic criterion ... The frustration and disorientation that the child feels in no longer finding the mother where s/he had left her when s/he drew away to explore the world, are at the basis of the borderline’s fear of being abandoned and of the consequent acting-out ... Patient’s experience ... “intolerance of solitude” ... what emerges is acting out, ... the anger with which the patient manages fear of abandonment,"

Gestalt Therapy in Clinical Practice: From Psychopathology to the Aesthetics of Contact (Gestalt Therapy Book Series 2). Gianni Francesetti, Michela Gecele, Jan Roubal, and Leslie Greenberg

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5 August 2021

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Gestalt Fundamentals and its Development

"founding a theory of the self capable of grasping the experience during a process of contact of the organism with the environment (as opposed to intrapsychic), revealing the creativity of the ego in this process, which is at one and the same time creator and created."

"Until twenty years ago it was difficult to remain in the relationship; today it is difficult to feel oneself in the relationship".

Gestalt Therapy in Clinical Practice: From Psychopathology to the Aesthetics of Contact (Gestalt Therapy Book Series 2). Gianni Francesetti, Michela Gecele, Jan Roubal, and Leslie Greenberg

Added:

5 August 2021

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Gestalt Therapy Approach to Depressive Experience

"common denominator underlying all depressive experiences will be identified in the hopeless sense of defeat experienced in the vain attempt to reach the other"

"We can approach a person experiencing depression by considering symptoms to be a manifestation of what is happening in the relational dimension. ... posits the depressive experience in a frame of meaning that emerges from the relational field"

Absence Is the Bridge Between Us: Gestalt Therapy Perspective on Depressive Experiences (Gestalt Therapy Book Series 4). Gianni Francesetti and Lynne Jacobs

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5 August 2021

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Inquiry

In a psychologically healthy individual, internal and external contact interact; each depends upon the other, and neither can exist in isolation. ... three therapeutic elements ... can further this process: inquiry, attunement, and involvement. ... help the client to integrate his or her self: ... Inquiry ... the process by means of which the therapist invites the client to explore his or her experiencing. ... The therapist inquires about every aspect of the client’s growing awareness. ... the therapist must be attuned to the client’s here-and-now experience (actually, the past and the present flow together and are often indistinguishable in the moment of experiencing) ...

Erskine, Richard; Moursund, Janet; Trautmann, Rebecca. 1999 Beyond Empathy: A Therapy of Contact-in Relationships. Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

Added:

5 August 2021

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Involvement

In a psychologically healthy individual, internal and external contact interact; each depends upon the other, and neither can exist in isolation. ... three therapeutic elements ... can further this process: inquiry, attunement, and involvement. ... help the client to integrate his or her self: … the client is offered the therapist’s interest and involvement; ... With careful inquiry, sensitive attunement, and authentic involvement, the therapist will be experienced as dependable, consistent, and trustworthy. ... It has been our observation that good therapists, regardless of theoretical orientation, engage in inquiry, value attunement, and are concerned that their involvement be genuine and appropriate. ...

Erskine, Richard; Moursund, Janet; Trautmann, Rebecca. 1999 Beyond Empathy: A Therapy of Contact-in Relationships. Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

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5 August 2021

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Juxtaposition

Juxtaposition occurs when there is, for the client, a marked contrast between what is provided in the therapeutic relationship and what was needed and longed for but not provided in previous relationships (Erskine, 1994, 1997)

Erskine, Richard; Moursund, Janet; Trautmann, Rebecca. 1999 Beyond Empathy: A Therapy of Contact-in Relationships. Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

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5 August 2021

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Love in Psychotherapy

love is a concept which (though taken for granted) proves difficult to define, for both the therapist and the patient. ... The Therapist’s Love ... We can distinguish between two kinds of love the therapist may have for the patient: one linked to the role and one that springs spontaneously from the situation. ... As Gestalt therapists, we answer without a shadow of a doubt that our profession is an art, and that therefore emotional involvement is an intrinsic part of the method of treatment. ... involvement is real, her/his feelings toward the patient are genuine, ... But can this involvement of the therapist be called love? ...

Margherita Spagnuolo Lobb, Donna Orange, and Paolo Migone.  The Now-for-Next in Psychotherapy: Gestalt Therapy Recounted in Post-Modern Society (Gestalt Therapy Book Series 1).

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5 August 2021

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Phobic-Obsessive-Compulsive Relational Styles

Gestalt Therapy reads phobias, obsessions and compulsions as dysfunctional relational styles. Every psychic disturbance reveals and derives from an interruption of the process of approach between organism and environment. Missing the contact with the environment stops the growth and produces the symptoms. Interruptions of contact are learned in the primary relationship, are manifested in the various relationships, that the organism attempts to set up with the environment.

Phobia is described as unmotivated, intense fear of an object or a space unrealistically perceived as dangerous ... the phobia fundamentally concerns the anguish of feeling certain emotions which the body evaluates as insupportable.

Obsessions are thoughts, impulses or images of an invasive, repetitive kind which are presented to the mind unwished for, irrational and uncontrollable by the individual. Their function appears to be to control the energy and the sensations the body begins to be aware of and is afraid of because it feels them to be irrepressible drives to destructive actions.

Compulsive actions are actions that the patient feels forced to carry out under the drive of an irresistible internal duress in order to calm the excessive tension Restraining compulsions should be distinguished from expulsive compulsions

Gestalt Therapy in Clinical Practice: From Psychopathology to the Aesthetics of Contact (Gestalt Therapy Book Series 2). Gianni Francesetti, Michela Gecele, Jan Roubal, and Leslie Greenberg

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5 August 2021

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Relational Needs

"Although relational needs are present for both participants in every relationship, the therapeutic relationship is unique in that the needs of the therapist must be secondary to those of the client. The client’s relational needs are in the foreground; the therapist’s needs are in the background ... a healing relationship is one in which relational needs are recognized and responded to appropriately".

Erskine, Richard; Moursund, Janet; Trautmann, Rebecca. 1999 Beyond Empathy: A Therapy of Contact-in Relationships. Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

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5 August 2021

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The Three Functions of the Self

"Having defined the self as the complex system of contacts necessary for adjustment in a difficult field, the authors of Gestalt Therapy identified certain “special structures” which the self creates “for special purposes” ... Id, ego and personality are just three of the many possible experiential structures … understood as examples of the person’s capacity to relate to the world"

Gestalt Therapy in Clinical Practice: From Psychopathology to the Aesthetics of Contact (Gestalt Therapy Book Series 2). Gianni Francesetti, Michela Gecele, Jan Roubal, and Leslie Greenberg

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5 August 2021

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Treating People with Borderline Personality Disorder

The Gestalt therapy attitude on contact, boundaries, personal responsibility, and dialogue is a natural for treating borderline patients.  Some psychoanalysts have varied from the psychoanalytic stance in working with borderline patients and moved closer to a dialogic approach.

The borderline client will often experience very intense primitive affect but not have the self-functions developed sufficiently to contain assimilate and work through.  At the beginning of therapy, the client typically can discuss in the split-off coping mode

Yontef, Gary. Awareness Dialogue & Process: Essays on Gestalt Therapy. The Gestalt Journal Press. Kindle Edition

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5 August 2021

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Gestalt Therapy Recounted

The Reasons for the Book ... to penetrate into the mesh of contemporary Gestalt clinical work, determine how it has developed, ... find the necessary interweaving between clinical work and society which defines the epistemological roots of this approach. ... the therapist’s response evokes with aesthetic power the figure/ground dynamic that moves the patient’s contact. ... phenomenological perspective, centered on the experiential field ... therapist, is the post-modern declension of the Gestalt method ... responding to the new cultural trends and ... a development of the Gestalt approach that is consistent with its founding principles.

Spagnuolo Lobb, Margherita. The Now-for-Next in Psychotherapy: Gestalt Therapy Recounted in Post-Modern Society (Gestalt Therapy Book Series 1). Istituto di Gestalt HCC Italy, Siracusa, Italy. Kindle Edition.

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22 July 2021