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Gestalt Therapy Theory: Identifying and Alienating in


Cover Page for Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality

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






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Identifying and Alienating
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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.”)  (p. 190).

The system of identifications and alienations we shall call the “ego.” p11

p.11.

The description of psychological health and disease is a simple one. It is a matter of the identifications and alienations of the self: If a man identifies with his forming self, and conversely, if he alienates what is not organically his own he is psychologically healthy, But on the contrary, if he alienates himself to conquer his own spontaneity, then he creates his life dull …

p.11.

If a man identifies with his forming self, does not inhibit his own creative excitement and reaching toward the coming solution; and conversely, if he alienates what is not organically his own and therefore cannot be vitally interesting, but rather disrupts the figure/background, then he is psychologically healthy

p.11.

The system of identifications and alienations we shall call the “ego.”

p.93.

in an important sense the self, as the system of excitement, orientation, manipulation, and various identifications and alienations, is always original and creative.

p.99-100.

Personality is a structure created out of such early interpersonal relationships; and in its formation there has usually already been the incorporation of an enormous amount of alien, unassimilated or even unassimilable material (and this, of course, makes the later conflicts between individual and society so much the more insoluble).

p.100.

when the growth of the original interpersonal relations has been disturbed and the conflicts not fought through but pacified in a premature truce incorporating alien standards, there is formed a “verbalizing” personality, a speech that is insensitive, prosy, affectless,

p.103.

verbalizing easily serves as a substitute for life; it is a ready means by which an introjected alien personality, with its beliefs and attitudes, can live instead of oneself.

p.153.

in conflicts: the destruction and annihilation are full of self, the identification and alienation occur with diminished self. In brief, where there is most conflict, contact, and figure/background, there is most self; where there is “confluence” (flowing together), isolation, or equilibrium, there is diminished self. Self exists where there are the shifting boundaries of contact.

p.154.

the function of self is more than the accepting of the possibilities; it is also their identification and alienation, the creative coming to a new figure; it is to differentiate between “obsolete responses” and the unique new behavior called for.

p.169.

in general, the aware self does not have fixed boundaries; it exists in each case by contacting some actual situation and is limited by the context of concern, by the dominant interest and the consequent identifications and alienations.

p.190.

In the work of contacting, we may now define the function of the ego, identifying and alienating and determining the boundaries or context.

p.191.

A strong conflict in the foreground is a sign that the true conflict in the background is alienated and concealed, as in obsessive doubt.

p.192.

same. A sense of security, on the contrary, is given by clinging to the status quo, one’s past achieved adjustments. The new excitement threatens to shake this security to pieces.

p.194.

The energy of clinging with death-grip to the status quo comes from the unfinished situations still tending to complete themselves opposed by aggression turned against oneself by the alien identifications introjected after previous defeats: this clinch gives something of a feeling of solidity, stability, power, self-control, and security. Meantime, in fact, the self has little outgoing power to draw on.

  

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