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Theory and Practice of Counselling

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Theory and Practice of Counseling - PSY632
VU
LESSON 30
GESTALT THERAPY
Role of the Counselor
The role of the Gestalt counselor is to create an atmosphere that promotes a client's exploration of what is
needed in order to grow. Polster and Polster (1973) indicate that the gestalt counselors must be exciting,
energetic and fully human. Involvement occurs in the now which is a continuing process.
There are several rules that Gestalt counselors follow in helping clients become more aware of the now:
·  The principle of now: always using the present tense
·  I and Thou: always addressing someone directly instead if talking about him or her to the
counselor.
·  The use of I: substituting the word I for it, especially when talking about the body.
·  The use of an awareness continuum: Focusing on how and what rather than why
·  The convention of questions: asking clients to convert questions into statements
·  Gestalt counselors do not use standardized assessment instruments, such as psychological tests, nor
do they diagnose their clients according DSM-IV classification standard.
·
Therapist examples: counselor sets example for client by being an open and aware person.
·
Role play: counselor and/or client engages in role play to help the client manage feelings.
·
Nonverbal-behavior congruence: counselor encourages client to be in touch with whether verbal
behavior matches nonverbal behavior. In order to probe the patient's defenses and expose the
games being displayed, therapist often pays close attention to nonverbal behavior. The counselor
also uses posture cues to get to the feelings that exist now.
Goals
Perls (1970) developed a formula that expresses the word's essence: "Now = experience = awareness=
realy. "The past is no more and the future not yet. Only the now exists"(p.14).
·  Getting clients to accept responsibility for their own actions and feelings
·  To expose the games clients play and the defenses behind which they hide. To expose the games
clients play and the defenses behind which they hide. To experience and become aware of these
shams is an important goal pf counseling. The experience of awareness may be threatening for the
client.
Perls(1970) identifies five layers of neurosis that potentially interface with being authentically to touch with
oneself:
1. The Cliché layers consists of noncontacts/ pretending to be something that one is not.
2. The phony layer: Role-playing layer. It refers to an attempt to avoid recognizing aspects of self that
the person would prefer to deny.
3. Below this layer is the impasse layer, where individuals wonder how they are going to make it in the
environment.
4. The fourth and fifth layers, the impulsive and explosive are often grouped together. People at these
layers frequently feel vulnerable to feelings. When people peel back the layers of defensiveness
(implosion) then they experience explosion of joy, sorrow or pain that leads to being authentic.
When persons reach this point, the now can be experienced most fully.
Techniques
Some of the most innovative counseling techniques ever developed are found in Gestalt therapy. These
techniques take two forms: exercise and experiments.
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Theory and Practice of Counseling - PSY632
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·
Exercises are ready made techniques such as the enactment of fantasies, role playing and
psychodrama (Covin, 1977). They are employed to evoke a certain response from the client, such as
anger or exploration.
·
Experiments on the other hand, are activities that grow out of the interaction between counselor and
client. They are not planned and what is learned is often a surprise to both the client and the
counselor. Many of the techniques of Gestalt therapy take the form of unplanned experiments.
Common Exercises employed in Gestalt Therapy:
·  One common exercise is dream work. Perls describes dreams as message that represents a person's
place at a certain time. Dream is a kind of condensed reflection of the individual's own existence
and the ways used to avoid facing oneself. The person with repetitive dreams is encouraged to
realize that unfinished business being brought into awareness and that there is a need to take care
of the message delivered. Gestaltists believe that:
o  The dream conveys messages
o  The dream also epitomizes the contradicting sides of the self
·  Another effective technique is the empty chair, in this procedure clients talk to the various parts of
their personality, such as the part that is dominant and the part that is passive.
·  One of the most powerful Gestalt exercises is confrontation. Confrontation involves asking clients
what and how questions.
·  Making the rounds: Some powerful Gestalt exercises are individually oriented but used primarily in
group. This technique is employed if the counselor thinks that the theme applies to everyone in the
group.
·  I take responsibility: in this exercise clients make statements about perceptions and close each
statement with the phrases "and I take responsibility for it". To repeat again & again and louder
and louder the important remarks is the technique. Benefits of these games is not demonstrated
empirically
·  Exaggeration. Clients accentuate unwitting movement or gestures.
·  May I feed you a sentence: The counselor asks if the client will say a certain sentence (provided by
the counselor) that makes the client's thoughts explicit.
·  Locating feelings
Evaluation: Strengths
·  The approach emphasizes helping people incorporate and accepts all aspects of life.
·  The approach helps a client focus on resolving areas of unfinished business
·  The approach places primary emphasis on doing rather than talking.
·  The approach is flexible and not limited to a few techniques
·  The approach is appropriate for certain affective disorders anxiety states somatoform disorders,
adjustment disorders and DSM-IV diagnoses such as occupational problems and interpersonal
problem.
Evaluation: Limitations.
·  The approach lacks a strong theoretical base. Some critics view Gestalt counseling as all experience
and techniques.
·  The approach deals strictly with the now and how of experience
·  The approach eschews diagnoses and testing
The approach is too concerned with individual development and is criticized for its self-centeredness.
Summary and Conclusion
Gestalt therapy also continues to generate strong interest among practitioners. As a group, effective
approaches do not make much use of psychological tests, formal diagnoses, or rigid procedures. A
trademark of these approaches is that they tailor what they do to the needs of the client. Counselors assess
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needs by establishing strong relationship with clients. Existential counseling is the most nondirective of the
theories while Gestalt therapy is the most directive.
Farzana: Gestalt Perspective
Assessment:
·  Examining the process that occurs as the individual interacts with self and environment
·
The need fulfillment model refers to a "cycle of experience" which begins with physical or
emotional sensations and proceeds through awareness, excitement, and toward contact with the
environment
·
The panic attack continues because she is unable to move from the sensation level into some type
of action
Awarenes s
The Gestalt Need-
Interrupted by introjections
Fulfillm ent
("s houlds " and "oughts ") and
Cycle
projections
Sens ation
Excitement
Panic, Anxiety, dizziness ,
Interrupted by anxiety
heart palpitations , and
over her right to think
headaches occur.
and act selfishly ; cannot
move toward action.
New figure
Cannot move to new
figur e, because old ones
Closure
remain to disturb new
No closure,
Action
organ ization
because
Interrupted by retro
satisfaction
flection, p unishing
of needs does
self through guilt
not occur.
and self-
recrimination
Contact
Withdra wal
Cannot be made, because action can
Since contact is not
never be dir ected p urp osely toward
made, there is nothin g
the "other"
to withdraw from.
·
Goals:
­  Providing a context in which Farzana can expand her awareness of what is going on within
herself
·
Counseling Procedures:
­  Experiential techniques aimed at identifying here-and­now
·
Techniques:
­  Empty chair: she can indulge in conversation, dialogues with different facets of herself, and
also with different characters in her life.
­  Dream analysis
­  Homework to reduce polarities: for example eating slowly so that she gets a sensation of
fullness, and also achieve the goal of slimness.
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­
Noticing nonverbals: (e.g., Farzana's fidgeting with clothes). Asking her what else she
might like to do with her hands?
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Table of Contents:
  1. INTRODUCTION:Counseling Journals, Definitions of Counseling
  2. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND COUNSELING & PSYCHOTHERAPY
  3. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 1900-1909:Frank Parson, Psychopathic Hospitals
  4. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND:Recent Trends in Counseling
  5. GOALS & ACTIVITIES GOALS OF COUNSELING:Facilitating Behavior Change
  6. ETHICAL & LEGAL ISSUES IN COUNSELING:Development of Codes
  7. ETHICAL & LEGAL ISSUES IN COUNSELING:Keeping Relationships Professional
  8. EFFECTIVE COUNSELOR:Personal Characteristics Model
  9. EFFECTIVE COUNSELOR:Humanism, People Orientation, Intellectual Curiosity
  10. EFFECTIVE COUNSELOR:Cultural Bias in Theory and Practice, Stress and Burnout
  11. COUNSELING SKILLS:Microskills, Body Language & Movement, Paralinguistics
  12. COUNSELING SKILLS COUNSELOR’S NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION:Use of Space
  13. COUNSELING SKILLS HINTS TO MAINTAIN CONGRUENCE:
  14. LISTENING & UNDERSTANDING SKILLS:Barriers to an Accepting Attitude
  15. LISTENING & UNDERSTANDING SKILLS:Suggestive Questions,
  16. LISTENING & UNDERSTANDING SKILLS:Tips for Paraphrasing, Summarizing Skills
  17. INFLUENCING SKILLS:Basic Listening Sequence (BLS), Interpretation/ Reframing
  18. FOCUSING & CHALLENGING SKILLS:Focused and Selective Attention, Family focus
  19. COUNSELING PROCESS:Link to the Previous Lecture
  20. COUNSELING PROCESS:The Initial Session, Counselor-initiated, Advice Giving
  21. COUNSELING PROCESS:Transference & Counter-transference
  22. THEORY IN THE PRACTICE OF COUNSELING:Timing of Termination
  23. PSYCHOANALYTIC APPROACHES TO COUNSELING:View of Human Nature
  24. CLASSICAL PSYCHOANALYTIC APPROACH:Psychic Determination, Anxiety
  25. NEO-FREUDIANS:Strengths, Weaknesses, NEO-FREUDIANS, Family Constellation
  26. NEO-FREUDIANS:Task setting, Composition of Personality, The Shadow
  27. NEO-FREUDIANS:Ten Neurotic Needs, Modes of Experiencing
  28. CLIENT-CENTERED APPROACH:Background of his approach, Techniques
  29. GESTALT THERAPY:Fritz Perls, Causes of Human Difficulties
  30. GESTALT THERAPY:Role of the Counselor, Assessment
  31. EXISTENTIAL THERAPY:Rollo May, Role of Counselor, Logotherapy
  32. COGNITIVE APPROACHES TO COUNSELING:Stress-Inoculation Therapy
  33. COGNITIVE APPROACHES TO COUNSELING:Role of the Counselor
  34. TRANSACTIONAL ANALYSIS:Eric Berne, The child ego state, Transactional Analysis
  35. BEHAVIORAL APPROACHES:Respondent Learning, Social Learning Theory
  36. BEHAVIORAL APPROACHES:Use of reinforcers, Maintenance, Extinction
  37. REALITY THERAPY:Role of the Counselor, Strengths, Limitations
  38. GROUPS IN COUNSELING:Major benefits, Traditional & Historical Groups
  39. GROUPS IN COUNSELING:Humanistic Groups, Gestalt Groups
  40. MARRIAGE & FAMILY COUNSELING:Systems Theory, Postwar changes
  41. MARRIAGE & FAMILY COUNSELING:Concepts Related to Circular Causality
  42. CAREER COUNSELING:Situational Approaches, Decision Theory
  43. COMMUNITY COUNSELING & CONSULTING:Community Counseling
  44. DIAGNOSIS & ASSESSMENT:Assessment Techniques, Observation
  45. FINAL OVERVIEW:Ethical issues, Influencing skills, Counseling Approaches