Psychology

Introduction to Gestalt Therapy



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Gestalt therapy was mindful before mindfulness was hip.

The 1960s.
Be here now.
Big Sur.
Esalen.
Reclaiming whatever has been split off.
The I am of everything.
Finishing unfinished business.
Tidying up this thing we call consciousness.
Completing what is incomplete.
Becoming more whole.
Constellating what is missing.
Becoming more whole.

I am the gestalt client. I am sitting in this rather uncomfortable chair. I see my therapist. I see an empty chair. I put my deceased father in the empty chair. I am talking to Dad.

Dad, why haven't you ever loved me?

I move to Dad's chair. I am speaking as Dad.
I have always loved you.

I am angry. I am back in my own chair. I glare at him. I tell my therapist: He always says that. I'm tired of him saying that. He needs to be honest. He needs to tell me why he doesn't love me!

My therapist says: Tell him that.

I glare at the chair some more. I say: Dad, you always say the right thing! But the right thing is not always the honest thing. I want you to be honest with me once and for all, tell me why you have never loved me!

My therapist gives me a little push. I move over to Dad's chair.

Dad says: Such drama! Such nonsense! Who are you to tell me what I feel?! I know very well how much I love you. I love you more than life itself. I can't convince you. I can't console you. It is you that has never loved you. You should ask yourself these questions you torment the rest of us with! Go on, ask yourself: why have you never loved you?

My therapist motions at my chair. I shuttle back to my chair. She moves another empty chair next to Dad's. There, she says, talk to you.

I glare at me. Why have you never loved me?! I want to know why!

The therapist pushes me into the chair of self.

I've never liked you because you whine. You tantrum and you're a brat!

I race back to my seat. I am not! I shout. I am a precious little girl! I am smart and brave and talented! I never whine! I never have tantrums!

The therapist pushes me back to the chair of self.

You are whining now, you little brat! No one likes a whiner. No one likes a brat.

The therapist motions at Dad. I go speak for him: You two have never gotten along and you've blamed the rest of us for it. You need to get this settled so we can all live in peace. I'm sick of it.

The therapist wants me to be me. I'll work on it, Dad. I'm really sorry I blamed you for it.

The therapist wants me to be Dad. It's okay, honey. Just get it fixed, will you?

I'm back to me: I love you Daddy. I miss you.

I'm back to Dad: I'm always here, sweetheart.

I'm back to self: Finally some peace around here. Now leave me alone, will you? I'm tired of all these fights you pick!

I'm back to me: geeeezzzzzzzzzzzz.

Owning up to what is mine is really fine.
Owning all my stuff calls my bluff.
Splitting me up into parts makes me whole.
Shuttling from chair to chair is getting clear.

Calling all parts! Come to my parts' party! Get acquainted and intimately so!

Dear me: I love you in all your splintered splendor. I love you in this moment as I am sitting in this chair very clear, very clear.



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