Unlike the others forms of psychotherapy, Gestalt therapy is seen to not provide any focus on the experiences of the patient. Rather the focus of the therapy is entirely on the process itself that would mainly provide significance on everything happening in the present moment within the therapeutic relationship. This mainly includes the therapists considering and discussing the thoughts, perceptions as well as the ways they are affecting the processes in the client’s life (Rhyne, 2016). The therapy mainly influences the clients to stress on the importance of living in the present situation and thereby taking responsibility of own life. It also influences the clients to address the unfinished business that are causing issues in the life of the client in the present days. The main goals of this therapy is to help the client to become self aware, particularly in the terms of recognising as well as understanding the relationship between responses of the patient and their present situation. The awareness that the patient needs to develop would include their feelings, perceptions as well as thoughts and the different ways that affect their lives (Resnick et al., 2015). Researchers are of the opinion that in this therapy, self-awareness should be regarded as the key that helps in making positive changes and thereby reaching full potential. However, past experiences are only considered in life in the terms about how they are contributing to current distress as well as struggles. Feelings of unhappiness as well as dissatisfaction with life are often seen to stem from old patterns of negative thoughts and behaviours that in turn hinder self-awareness (Stameler, 2016). Moreover, another aspect of this treatment is that the therapy helps individual to develop self-awareness without nay for of judgement. This is seen to develop a fresh perspective that gain helps in reducing distress and enhancing personal growth. There are many important concepts that therapists need to maintain while providing this therapy. The present focus would be development of awareness of what the patient is experiencing in the present (Shub et al., 2014). The second aspect is importance of experience by which the clients are able to identify the thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, behaviours, and perceptions about what exactly is the patient feeling. Proper contact with the patient, respecting the client, developing personal as well as social responsibility are some of the most important aspects that the therapists should incorporate in his service:
Ben and Gestalt therapy:
Ben Sanderson is one of the Hollywood scriptwriters who have lost his job, wife as well as his friends due to his habit of excessive drinking. As he has nothing to live for or dream of in the future, he decided to leave Los Angeles with the money he has received from his job and go to Las Vegas. He had decided that he would take four months of time until he would drink himself to death. However, during an uneventful event, he comes across a lady who is a sex-worker by profession and starts to live together with certain conditions. The condition was that she would not prevent him to drink and neither would he interfere in her profession. However, his drinking habit frustrates the woman until they decide to part. However, through different situations, they meet at the end when Ben is on deathbed and this result in a depressive ending. However, the entire scenario would have been quite different if the Ben would have provided with Gestalt therapy. With the help of the Gestalt therapy, the therapists would have helped Ben to gradually discuss his feelings and thereby indentify the thoughts, perceptions, emotions as well as physical sensations and behaviours that are causing him distress. He would have been encouraged to identify his distressing factors and thereby develop self-awareness on his present conditions. The negative experiences of his wife and friends leaving him, his sacking from the job, his wish to take the resort of alcohol and many others had affected his mental condition immensely. Once he understands what he wants to be like in the present situation that makes him happy and feel contemplated, his ill feeling about himself. His negative thought to die by drinking and others would have been successfully overcome, he would have been able to learn to dream again and develop aspirations that would have helped him to develop better quality life. If he would have developed the self awareness that his drinking condition is not only affecting quality life of himself and that if he could overcome it, he would be much happier with his wife or with his later partner, he would have been more successful.
The empty chair approach is the procedure by which the therapist instructs the client to assume that the empty chair is occupied by a person who he wants to open his heart, or confront his insecurities, or our his distress faced by him (Evans et al., 2015). It may not only be a person like his wife, child, boss, parents any other person but also other objects like his job, physical; symptom, alcohol bottles and many others. Ben would have poured out his emotions and distress by getting into a discussion session with the objects or the imaginary persons, expressing his thoughts as well as hidden emotions and others. With the help of this, Ben would have successfully helped himself to realise something that is vitally important for his personal growth, conflicts that he is experiencing internally, perspectives, expectations, judgements and many other things (Holzinger et al., 2015). It might have happened that his realisation would have helped him to start his life afresh with his later partner as he would have come out of his dilemma and led better life by overcoming alcohol drinking disorder.
Another form of technique is called the rehearsal technique that would have helped Ben to rehearse out a new behaviour. This topic mainly helps individuals to try out new behaviour with some person in the group or in life. This exercise would have helped Ben to develop new behaviour and would have increased his willingness to experiment the new behaviours as well as become more spontaneous (Yonger, 2017). For example, in the time of his urge to drink alcohol, he could have visited to new places with his partner or could have undertaken some hobbies like cooking, gardening or others that would have kept him away from negative behaviours and rehearse something new. This would have resulted in positive impact on both him and his partner (Staemler, 2016).
Another type of technique is called the reversal technique. This technique is mainly seen to involve role-play and it involves the client to face something that is causing him distress as well as keeping him in denial. Ben should have undertaken the exercise and he would have acted out the behaviours, symptoms portrays that would have been exact opposite of the ones that are causing problems to him (Jacobs & Later, 2015). This would help Ben to accept whatever he had been denying of avoiding. He had been avoiding the feeling as if he could live happy lives with his partner but he focused on his aim of embracing death. By these reversal techniques, he could have picked up the happy moments that he would like to spend with his closed persons.
From the entire discussion, it is seen that Gestalt therapy helps individuals to overcome many mental disorders. It helps individuals to develop self-awareness without making any judgements on him. Development of his own ideas of perspectives, emotions and perceptions would help himself to realise the initiatives he could take to develop quality of lives. The character of Ben was an alcoholic and could not take the correct decisions that could have changed his life for betterment. Empty chair therapy, rehearsal technique, reversal technique and many others would have helped to develop better quality life of Ben.
Gestalt therapy can be explained as the phenomenological, experiential as well as humanistic type of psychotherapy. Researchers have described this therapy to be based on the idea that humans have inherent desire to find different solutions to their own problems at the same time of constantly growing throughout the life (Latner, 2017). Gestalt theory views the nature as the concept of “unified whole” where the whole necessarily doe not equal to the sum of its parts (Nevis, 2014). This assignment will be based on the procedure by which the therapy could be applied in cases of patients with chronic substance abuse disorder. It will also show the different techniques that this therapy can apply on the patient to help her him come back to normal life.
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Staemmler, F.M., (2016). Aggression, time, and understanding: Contributions to the evolution of Gestalt therapy. CRC Press.
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