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Eowyn's Heart

The name of this blog is based on the character Eowyn from Lord of the Rings because I strongly identify with her on many levels. The purpose of this blog is to proclaim the glory of my Lord and King through His work in conforming me into the image of His Son, Christ Jesus. In all things, I trust you will see His hand at work.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Gestalt Theory Critique

Personal Evaluation
The creative interaction of Gestalt therapy appeals to me. I like the experimental aspect and the applicability to group therapy. The focus on the present is also appealing as it allows for looking into the past for the purpose of bringing about change but does not dwell on the past. The apostle Paul tells us, "I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:14, NASB). As Christians, I believe we should encourage our clients to "press on toward the goal" as well. Dwelling too long on the past is not productive.
I also appreciate that the therapist is fully engaged with the client in the therapeutic process and is alert to both verbal and non-verbal communications. I find the various types of talk described by Corey (2009) on pages 208-209, including "It talk," "You talk" and "Language that denies power" very useful and will make use of these in my own therapeutic practice. At the same time, I would extend my personal involvement with the client beyond the Gestalt framework of facilitator to include the role of teacher. Therapy is much like discipleship and, as such, there are times when teaching is necessary and beneficial for the client.
There are some aspects of Gestalt therapy that I would not incorporate. For instance, the idea that "it is important for clients to "be" as fully as possible in their current condition, rather than striving to become what they "should be"" (Corey, 2009, p. 201) does not appeal to me for several reasons: First, the Scriptures tell us specifically to move forward. In Philippians 3:13 Paul sets the example for us in "forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead." Second, there are some cases where this just really doesn't make sense - as with a sociopath or a schizophrenic or someone dealing with manic depression. Also, I personally feel the "why" question is the most important question for determining how to change the "what" and "how" of client behavior. I don't see how any real, positive, lasting change could be made without a good understanding of the motivations behind behavior.

References

Corey, G. (2009). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy. (8th ed.). USA: Thomson Brooks/Cole.

Hinkley, P. (n.d.). Gestalt therapy presentation. Retrieved July 17, 2009 from http://www.liberty.edu/media/1413/COUN510/Gestalt_Therapy/index.html.

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