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Dependent Behaviors in Gestalt Therapy in Clinical Practice

Updated: Feb 1


From: 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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Dependent Behaviors

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


Chapter 19. Dependent Behaviors (loc: 8650)

the experience of self (loc: 8664)

deserves a phenomenological scaffold (loc: 8665)

to hang the features of dependence, (loc: 8665)

addictive and self-medicating process. This chapter (loc: 8665)

provides a Gestalt therapy orientation to the “what” and “how” of dependent behavior (loc: 8667)

1.1. Tolerance (loc: 8677)

refers to the need for ever-increasing amounts of a substance to achieve the desired effect or to bring about intoxication. (loc: 8679)

1.2. Withdrawal (loc: 8682)

physical symptoms resulting from a decrease in the amount of substance in a person’s system. (loc: 8684)

1.3. Recovery (loc: 8687)

overcoming or healing (loc: 8690)

following an organized program designed to combat the addiction and the tendencies for relapse, (loc: 8691)

1.4. Co-dependence (loc: 8694)

a disease of lost selfhood (loc: 8696)

being affected by another person’s behavior to the point that one attempts to control that behavior, (loc: 8697)

co-dependency is a learned behavior associated with an excessive focus on the needs of others (loc: 8698)

the attempt to take responsibility for (loc: 8699)

other people, (loc: 8699)

motivated by the need for safety, acceptance and self-worth. (loc: 8699)

two significant approaches to recovery from addiction: (loc: 8724)

the goal of abstinence is complete sobriety (loc: 8726)

the goal of harm reduction is to modify in some positive direction the dynamic of addictive and self-medicating behavior. (loc: 8726)

1.7. Phenomenological Concepts Relevant to Dependence and Recovery (loc: 8736)

1.7.1. Attitude Attitude is (loc: 8741)

related to interest. (loc: 8743)

attitude is the atmosphere we breathe; (loc: 8746)

attitude organizes (loc: 8747)

according to a central interest (loc: 8748)

1.7.2. Horizon Horizon is (loc: 8750)

related to potential: (loc: 8752)

can be thought of as all things held possible for a given world, (loc: 8752)

When one’s horizon is closed, not much is believed to be possible, (loc: 8753)

1.7.3. World/Life World World is (loc: 8756)

related to context. (loc: 8758)

It’s our physical neighborhood – but more (loc: 8759)

it’s the mindscape we inhabit. (loc: 8760)

3. Gestalt Therapy Case Conceptualization and Theory of Dependence (loc: 8796)

there is no explicitly direct treatment of dependent process in Gestalt Therapy. (loc: 8800)

Gestalt (loc: 8803)

speaks about persons in addictive processes instead of addicted persons. (loc: 8803)

characterises addictive processes as behaviors dependent (loc: 8805)

fixed behavioral patterns. (loc: 8805)

(or basic introject is: “I can’t stand life without my drug” (Dreitzel, 2010). (loc: 8806)

Dependence, (loc: 8828)

never a simple matter of the individual addict, (loc: 8828)

is fostered and supported (loc: 8829)

becomes a fixed pattern of contacting within an increasingly shrunken world. (loc: 8830)

People who develop addictions often grow up (loc: 8834)

where self-medicating is an element in (loc: 8834)

early coping strategy. (loc: 8835)

3.2. Intersubjective, Dyadic Relationship (loc: 8839)

I-It is the dominant attitude involved in dependent process. (loc: 8853)

people are pawns in (loc: 8854)

self-medicating behaviors. (loc: 8854)

in co-dependent behavior there is a give-to-get dynamic that makes the security of the relationship the target (loc: 8856)

not intimacy with the other (loc: 8857)

3.3. Subjective, Phenomenal Experience Addictive experience is the retreat from novel stimuli, (loc: 8874)

a desire for repetition of previous experience (loc: 8876)

there is a delusional character to dependence. (loc: 8877)

from a Gestalt perspective. (loc: 8879)

the appetite is usually vague (loc: 8879)

in cases of extreme need, (loc: 8880)

spontaneous appetite may make itself definite, bright, and sharply delineated (loc: 8881)

point of hallucination. (loc: 8881)

it makes an object, largely out of the fragments of memory. (loc: 8882)

This is the spike rather than the sine wave (loc: 8884)

depiction of the addict’s cycle of experience. (loc: 8885)

the addict goes from sensation, (loc: 8887)

and (loc: 8888)

“hallucinates”, or substitutes an old and fixed Gestalt (loc: 8888)

and goes straight to action. (loc: 8888)

It is the substituting of a previous figure, (loc: 8890)

in the current field (loc: 8891)

and what Gestalt Therapy referred to as a neurotic hallucination. (loc: 8891)

it does not provide anything new (loc: 8891)

there is no learning from experience. There is simply repetition. (loc: 8892)

Another way of looking at this is that the person, (loc: 8903)

is not growing. (loc: 8904)

An organism preserves itself only by growing. (loc: 8906)

This is ego functioning, (loc: 8910)

specifically, this is the organism identifying figures of interest and choosing to move toward them, to satisfy them. (loc: 8910)

in contrast to the id function in which the addict is stuck. (loc: 8911)

the id’s contents are “hallucinatory and the body looms large” (loc: 8912)

there is vague awareness of sensory data, (loc: 8912)

person does not truly pay attention to that (loc: 8913)

There is sensation and neurotic anxiety. (loc: 8915)

a pseudo choice and a delusional ego functioning that “chooses” a fixed Gestalt, (loc: 8915)

first a retroflection and then a confluence (loc: 8916)

5. Gestalt Therapeutic Process in Working with Dependent Clients (Loc: 9037)

(1) try new things and to become more creative in meeting his or her needs (referred to as experimenting); (loc: 9039)

(2) develop the ability to be more in touch with his or her body (referred to as embodying) and the senses that inform about contacting in the environment; (Loc: 9051)

(3) expand upon abilities to recognize (referred to as self-recognizing) and appreciate his or her experience of self; (loc: 9053)

(4) the capacity for relationship (referred to as inter-relating), and (Loc: 9055)

(5) the ability to take responsibility for his or her own experience, including the choices the client makes and the natural (loc: 9057)

consequences of making those choices (referred to as self-responsibility). (loc: 9058)

Therapy with addicted persons has to be multidimensional and multimodal. (loc: 9083)

therapy of body, soul, spirit and the social environment. (loc: 9084)

also often includes the spiritual dimension of a person’s life. (loc: 9087)

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