GESTALT PERSPECTIVE

My intention for this blog is for it to be a source of information, inspiration, and ideas for living well in the 21st century.

Practicing psychotherapy from a Gestalt perspective means several things.

As a therapist:

1. My job is not to “cure” or “fix” you, but to meet you wherever you are on this wonderful journey we call life.

I do not pathologize human behavior. What presently seems like dysfunctional behavior might have worked in the past, but is no longer working now. In therapy, we work to increase awareness of what is working and what is not. Then you decide if you will change the behavior.

2. One of the things we do in therapy is SLOW DOWN. Life is so very busy, we rush from here to there, crossing off all the “to do’s”, yet we miss much of our own life.

By slowing down in therapy, we can attend to what is happening right now. In this moment. The past can never be changed, and the future is unknown. What we can work with is the present moment.

3. The body is an amazing tool in psychotherapy. When we listen, it tells us how it holds, and yes speaks, our life history.

Again, by slowing down, we can attend to and become aware of the body story.

4. Each person is responsible for his or her own thoughts, words, and actions. That’s it. I am not responsible for your reaction to what I put out there, nor are you responsible for my reaction to what you send into the environment (disclaimer: does not include infants, small children, and animals. I am talking about adult – adult interactions)

On of the joys of recognizing responsibility is that it empowers and frees us. By eliminating words like “need to”, “have to”, “got to”, “should”, “better”, and “must” we take ownership of our experience. We are then free to choose what works.

I chose not to get up and exercise this morning because I was tired and my body wanted to sleep. I did not say, “I can’t get up”, or “I need to get up”, or “I better get up”. I chose to rest instead of exercise. This acknowledgement of my choice then frees me from much of the negative self-talk many of us routinely engage in, so much so, that we often don’t even recognize it.

This too, is an example of living life at such a fast pace, that we are not even aware of how we sabotage our own efforts. Slow down, listen to yourself, pay attention to the habits you have.

Are they working for you? Do they make sense? You DO get to chose how to live your life. If it is not working for you, perhaps personal therapy might help get you back on track.

I get to decide (and you do too) what works for me (you) in this life. This is both a privilege and a responsibility. Yet, even as I am responsible for and can control only my behavior, this does not mean that my actions do not affect others. There are consequences to all decisions to act (or not act).

Each action is like a stone being cast into a pond. As the stone hits the water, its impact sends ripples away from it. Energy. When we choose an action, it does not occur in isolation. Whether we realize it or not, we are like the stone, sending energy into the environment. Whether we ever know it, our actions affect others.

Here is an example. This morning as I went to the local coffee shop to have my daily cup, I was feeling pretty low. As I approached the door, an older gentleman opened the door for me and gave me a brilliant, happy smile as he made eye contact with me. His blue eyes radiated his humanness. At that moment, I felt my morning turn around. Another human being had taken the time to really connect with me in a small, noncommittal way. I was happy. Did he know he made my morning? No. Yet our contact, however brief, enriched my experience as a human being.

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