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APPLICATIONS

Overview

This section covers the goals and desired outcomes of Gestalt counseling or therapy, the process of change that leads to client growth, and the specific strategies used in the change process.

Goals of Counseling and Psychotherapy

According to Tillett (1991), "As creativity and spontaneity are central to Gestalt, and as there is intrinsic antipathy towards the concept of therapy as technique, it can be difficult to reach an acceptable definition of Gestalt therapy" (p. 290). However, practice may be illuminated by examining the goals of Gestalt therapy. According to Tillett, they include the following:

• Development and expansion of both physical and emotional awareness are emphasized. Intellectual insight and interpretation are limited.

• The relationship between client and therapist is existential and is central to the counseling or psychotherapy process.

• Conversations between client and counselor or psychotherapist are useful only to the extent that they support enactment and experimentation.

• Change should occur as the result of heightened awareness of the interactional process between client and counselor/psychotherapist or by the activity and experimentation within the counseling or psychotherapy process, (p. 291)

Yontef (1995) suggested that Gestaltists are not concerned with a "preset end goal" (p. 273). However, Gestaltists do recommend the particular goal of phenomenological exploration rather than reconditioning of behavior or interpretation of the unconscious (Brownell, 2003a). This goal is valuable in that it places ownership and responsibility directly on the client and facilitates the client's engaging in an inherently natural process of growth. Burley and Freier (2004) suggested that the purpose of Gestalt therapy is the "process of interruption of the gestalt formation and resolution or destruction process" (p. 322).

 
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