PSY 504 Relational Gestalt
Fritz Perls and Paul Goodman, the founders of Gestalt theory and practice, were focused on the idea that therapy has moved us away from our bodies, our senses and our feelings. The mind has become too dominant and has removed us from our human experience. Dr. Perls once said, “Lose your mind and come to your senses.” The form of therapy that developed out of this concept focused on the individual’s sensory experience of the “here and now,” and the phenomenological method was evolved to allow each person to find the language to communicate his/her moment-to-moment experience. The course will explore the other pillars of Gestalt theory and practice; Perls and Goodman’s concepts of awareness, figure/ground, the between, I-Thou; Lewin’s Field Theory; Beisser’s Paradoxical Theory of Change, and how Gestalt has moved from the individualist approach of Perls to the relational theory and practice formulated by Gary Yontef and Lynne Jacobs, which is an expanded field theory. The mind has been returned to us as an experiential dimension. In discussing therapy practice, we will focus on the evolution of the idea of transference to one of Enduring Relational Themes and working with trauma and shame. We will work together to understand the complexity of our experience and how to work with that complexity in the practice of therapy.