Monday, October 27, 2014

Foundations of Gestalt Therapy

Gestalt Therapy


■ Existential and Phenomenological

  • o Grounded in the client’s “here and now”

■ Initial goal is for clients to gain awareness of what they are experiencing and doing now

■ Promotes direct experiencing rather than the abstractness of talking about situations

■ Rather than talk about childhood trauma, the client is encouraged to become the hurt child

■ Holistic approach to personality vs. mechanistic approach of Freud.

■ Value of examining present situations vs. repressed intra-psychic conflicts from early

■ Focus on process versus content

■ On presently experienced vs what is revealed by client from memory

■ Self understanding comes from individual’s behavior in the present versus why they behave as they do

■ Therapist goal: create experiments for client to assist their self awareness of what they are doing and how they are doing it.

Therapy Process
■ Promote awareness in client through

  • o Insight
  • o Self acceptance
  • o Knowledge of the environment
  • o Responsibility for choices
  • o Paradoxical theory of change
  • o Ability to make contact with others
  • o Clients expected to do their own seeing, feeling, sensing and interpreting vs passively allowing therapist to give insight and answers

■ Concepts of human nature

  • o Clients are manipulative
  • o Avoid self reliance
  • o Avoid taking on personal responsibility
  • o Clients have to stand on own two feet to deal with life problems themselves
  • o Move clients from environmental supports to self-support
  • o Help clients reintegrate disowned parts of personality offers online prep for NASW. Unlimited access to practice exams, case studies, simulations, video, audio, and flash cards 24/7.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Experiential Therapy

Experiential Therapy

Theory Foundation

■ Modern person has means to live but often has no meaning to live for- this is the malady of our times, meaninglessness or existential vacuum

■ Purpose of therapy is to challenge people to find meaning and purpose through suffering,
work and love

■ It takes courage to BE 

  • Our choices determine the kind of person we are
  • We are in constant struggle with:

  1. Our want to grow toward maturity and independence
  2. Realizing expansion and growth is often a painful process
  3. Struggling between security and dependence and delights and pain of growth

■ Phenomenological approach

  • People’s perceptions or subjective realities are considered to be valid data for investigation
  • Phenomenological discrepancies
  • Two people perceiving the same situation differently

■ Non-Deterministic approach
o Existentialist argue that it is an oversimplification to view people as controlled by fixed physical laws
o Encouragement of theories that consider individual initiative, creativity, and self fulfillment
o Focus on active, positive aspects of human growth

I-Though dialogue vs. I-It Dialogue
o I-though

  • human confirms the other person as being of unique valued
  • Direct mutual relationship

o I-it

  • Person uses others but does not value them for themselves
  • Utilitarian

o Self disclosing of therapist emotional response to client’s demonstration of valuing of client’s feelings and perspective. offers online prep for NASW. Unlimited access to practice exams, case studies, simulations, video, audio, and flash cards 24/7.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Experiential Therapy

Experiential Therapy

Aim of Existential Therapy

■ Rejects deterministic outlook on mankind

■ People are free and responsible for their choices and actions

■ People are the authors of their lives

■ Existential therapy encourages clients to:

  • o Reflect on life
  • o Recognize range of alternatives
  • o Decide among them


  • o Help clients recognize ways they passively accepted circumstances and surrendered control
  • o Help clients to start to consciously shape their own lives by exploring options for creating a meaningful existence.

Tasks of the Therapist
■ Invite clients to recognize how they have allowed others to decide for them

■ Encourage clients to take steps toward autonomy

■ The Question
o “Although you have lived in a certain pattern, now that you recognize the price of some of your ways, are you willing to consider creating a new pattern?”

■ Relationship between therapist and client

  • o Therapy is a journey taken by BOTH therapist and client

● The person to person relationship is key
● The relationship demands that therapists be in contact with their own phenomenological world

  • o The core of the therapeutic relationship

● Respect and faith in the client’s potential to cope.
● Sharing reactions with genuine concern and empathy offers online prep for NASW. Unlimited access to practice exams, case studies, simulations, video, audio, and flash cards 24/7.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Adlerian Therapy Social Interest

Adlerian Therapy 

Social Interest

■ Adler’s most significant and distinctive concept.
■ Refers to an individual’s attitude toward and awareness of being part of the human community.
■ Mental health is measured by the degree to which we successfully share with others and are concerned with their welfare.
■ Happiness and success are largely related to social connectedness.

Role of Birth Order Psychological Positions

■ Motivates later behavior.
■ First born/ Oldest o Favored pseudo-parents, high achievers

  • o Receives more attention, spoiled

■ Second born

  • o Rivalry and competition
  • o Behaves a in a race, often opposite first child

■ Middle Child

  • o Often feels squeezed out

■ Last born

  • o More pampered, “baby,” creative, rebellious, revolutionary, avant-garde

■ Only Child

  • o Does not learn to share or cooperate with other children
  • o Learns to deal with adults


■ Encouragement is the most powerful method available for changing a person’s beliefs
■ Helps build self-confidence and stimulates courage
■ Discouragement is the basic condition that prevents people from functioning
■ Clients are encouraged to recognize that they have he power to choose and act differently

5 Basic Tasks

■ Acceptance
■ Achieving Intimacy
■ Work
■ Spiritual Dimension
■ Community/Friendship offers online prep for NASW. Unlimited access to practice exams, case studies, simulations, video, audio, and flash cards 24/7.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Basic Dimensions of the Human Condition

Experiential Therapy

Basic Dimensions of the Human Condition

■ The capacity for self awareness:

  • o The greater our awareness, the greater our possibilities for freedom
  • o Awareness is realizing

● We are finite- time is limited
● We have potential, the choice to act or not to act
● Meaning is not automatic- we must seek it
● We are subject to loneliness, meaninglessness, emptiness, guilt and isolation

■ The tension between freedom and responsibility

  • o People are free to choose among alternatives and have a large role in shaping personal destinies
  • o Manner in which we live and what we become are result of our choices
  • o People must accept responsibility for directing own lives

■ Creation of an identity and establishing meaningful relationships

  • o Identity is the courage to be
  • o We must trust ourselves to search within and find our own answers
  • o Our great fear is that we will discover there is no core, no self
  • o Aloneness

● We must tolerate being alone with self
● We must have a relationship with ourselves first

  • o Struggling with identity

● We are trapped in doing mode to avoid experience of being

  • o Relatedness

● At their best our relationships are based on our desire for fulfillment, not our deprivation

■ The search for meaning

  • o Like pleasure, meaning but be pursued

● Finding meaning in life is a byproduct of a commitment to creating, loving, and working

  • o Life is not meaningful in itself, the individual must create and discover meaning
  • o Goals deal with

● Discarding old values
● Coping with meaninglessness
● Creating new meaning

■ Accepting anxiety as a condition of living

  • o Anxiety arises from striving to survive and maintain own being
  • o Existential anxiety is normal- life cannot be lived, not can death be faced, without anxiety

● Anxiety can be a stimulus for growth as we become aware of and accept our freedom
● We can blunt our anxiety by creating the illusion that there is security to life
● If we have the courage to face ourselves and life we may be frightened, but we will be able to change

  • o Neurotic anxiety creates guilt

■ The awareness of death and nonbeing

  • o Awareness of death is a basic human condition which gives significant to our living
  • o We must think about death if we are to think significantly about life
  • o If we defend against death our lives can become meaningless
  • o We learn to live in the “now”
  • o One day at a time results in a zest for life and creativity offers online prep for NASW. Unlimited access to practice exams, case studies, simulations, video, audio, and flash cards 24/7.