Polster, Erving & Miriam – Gestalt Therapy Integrated

  • resistance. The resistance is a barrier, an interference and anti-/alien-force between the means and the goals. In medieval times people often spoke not about resistances, but of demons and spirits.
  • contact. Through contact, on the one hand, the freedom/ separateness and the constraints/ union are synthesized. While on the other hand, me and you become we (even in name only) as the organism and the environment meet on boundary
  • senses. The senses are organized along two axes: spatial axis (sight/ hearing/ touching/ smelling/ tasting – arranged in the order of breath) and temporal axis (talking/ moving – arranged, also, in the order of breath). They help to explore the other – i.e. the outer zone.
  • contact/ awareness/ experiments. These are the tree key concepts important in this book. First, I presented above the concept of “contact” (and its pair concept, “resistance”). Second, the concept of awareness encapsulates four dimensions: the sensations – that were presented under the label of “senses”; and the feelings, the wants and the values – which I consider are too common and evident. Finally, the concept of experiment requires further attention. Polster & Polster mention five types of experiments: the enactment, the directed behavior, the fantasy, the dreams and the homework. The experiment is neither a rehearsal, nor a post mortem, but a new experience. So, first the therapist is making contact with the patient who resists him/ her (the contact/ resistance stage). Then, both of them are trying to become more focused and clear (the awareness stage) in order to deepens their present experience (the experiment stage).

The map:


Erving Polster & Miriam Polster (1978): “Gestalt therapy integrated. Contours of theory and practice”, Vintage Books

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