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A key aspect of applying various therapeutic approaches in Gestalt Group Therapy has to do with different experimentation.  Gestalt therapy likes to focus on moving from talking about issues to creating actions for change. Experiments allow group members to practice these new behaviors in a safe and trusting environment.

Review some of the techniques/experiments in chapter 11 as listed below and

CHOOSE ONE

for this task.

Experiments with Internal Dialogues

Making the Rounds

Fantasy Approaches

Rehearsal

The Exaggeration Technique

Dream Work in Groups

1)

Choose an Experiment

– From the list above, choose one of these experiments to conduct with a “client.” While it would be nice for you to practice with a small group of individuals, you are only required to practice one of these techniques with one individual. So find another willing friend, family member, or coworker to be your fake client! Some of these exercises might require that you use a “group,” such as Making the Rounds. Reminder that it is important to practice applying these types of theories instead of simply reading about them!

2)

Conduct Mock Experiment

– Please know that you are on the

Honor System

to ensure that you conduct an actual mock experiment in this Advanced level Direct Practice concentration where experience and practice are key!

Practice introducing the experiment to your “client” and explain what they will be doing and why

Complete Gestalt experiment of your choice from the list

Provide appropriate feedback to your client

Then practice closing your session by recapping and summarizing what was learned

3)

Report on Your Experience

– Provide a written summary of your experience in APA format. – 30 points

Provide insight into your client such as their age, gender, occupation, etc. but no name should be given.

Make sure you have headers to clearly identify and clarify the different sections covered.

Cite your information within your paper when you reference information you used from the text as I will be looking to see where you took the information learned and applied it to your experiences.

Your summary should identify what you did, how it went, and your thoughts/reflections on the process as well as your performance. Did it go well? Where there areas you could improve on? Did you like the experiment? Do you feel it would be beneficial? Is there anything your would change? How would you use this with an entire group versus just an individual?

part 2

As you read last week, our services have changed drastically since the Pandemic began. Many agencies and individual Social Workers began conducting teletherapy for the first time. There have of course been positive and negatives to moving to remote services. Listen to the following guidelines for implementing teletherapy and then post a 150 word reaction/response to the Discussion Board (DB). In addition to your general reactions/thoughts, be sure to answer the following questions:

What do you think are the advantages of teletherapy for our clients?

As a remote student, do you think services are effective when delivered remotely?

What are some of the major concerns or disadvantages of teletherapy?

Theory & Practice of Group
Counseling, Tenth Edition
Chapter Eleven: Gestalt
Therapy in Groups
Gerald Corey, Theory & Practice of Group Counseling, 10th Edition. © 2023 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be
scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
Icebreaker
How does Gestalt Theory compare to other theories we have discussed to this
point? How are the assumptions and focuses within Gestalt similar and
different to other theories?
Gerald Corey, Theory & Practice of Group Counseling, 10th Edition. © 2023 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned,
copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
Introduction
• Gestalt therapy is an existential and phenomenological approach.
• Fritz Perls emphasized one-to-one work using the “hot seat” style in
front of a group.
• Contemporary Gestalt practice in the U.S. is called “relational Gestalt
therapy.”
Gerald Corey, Theory & Practice of Group Counseling, 10th Edition. © 2023 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned,
copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
Therapeutic Goals (1 of 2)
• The basic goal of Gestalt therapy is increased awareness, which is
curative and growth producing.
• The aim is not analysis but integration of conflicting dimensions within
the individual.
Gerald Corey, Theory & Practice of Group Counseling, 10th Edition. © 2023 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned,
copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
Therapeutic Goals (2 of 2)
• Personal change occurs when we become aware of what we are as
opposed to trying to become what we are not.
• The goals of a Gestalt group involve equal attention to both process
and content.
Gerald Corey, Theory & Practice of Group Counseling, 10th Edition. © 2023 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned,
copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
Basic Principles of Gestalt Theory (1 of 2)
• Holism
– The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
– Gestalt therapists are interested in the whole person.
• Field Theory
– The organism must be seen in its environment or context.
Gerald Corey, Theory & Practice of Group Counseling, 10th Edition. © 2023 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned,
copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
Basic Principles of Gestalt Theory (2 of 2)
• The Figure-Formation Process
– This process describes how the individual organizes experiences from
moment to moment.
• Organismic Self-Regulation
– This describes the nature of the relationship between the individual and
environment.
Gerald Corey, Theory & Practice of Group Counseling, 10th Edition. © 2023 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned,
copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
Awareness
• Awareness involves staying with the moment-to-moment flow of
experiencing.
• By staying with present-centered awareness, members discover how
they function in the world.
• Group leaders ask “what” and “how” questions.
Gerald Corey, Theory & Practice of Group Counseling, 10th Edition. © 2023 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned,
copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
The Here-and-Now
• Nothing exists except the “now.”
– The past is gone and the future has not yet arrived.
• In Gestalt groups, members reenact past problem situations as if they
were occurring now.
– Gestalt experiments might be employed.
Gerald Corey, Theory & Practice of Group Counseling, 10th Edition. © 2023 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned,
copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
Unfinished Business
• Feelings about the past are unexpressed.
– These feelings are associated with distinct memories.
– Feelings not fully experienced linger in the background and interfere with
effective contact and functioning.
– Unfinished business may result in self-defeating behaviors.
– Addressing unfinished business enables one to move toward health and
integration.
Gerald Corey, Theory & Practice of Group Counseling, 10th Edition. © 2023 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned,
copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
Contact and Disturbances to Contact (1 of 2)
• Contact involves interacting with nature and with other people without losing
one’s individuality.
• Disturbances to contact are the defenses we develop to prevent us from
experiencing the present fully.
Gerald Corey, Theory & Practice of Group Counseling, 10th Edition. © 2023 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned,
copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
Contact and Disturbances to Contact (2 of 2)
• Five contact boundary disturbances:
– Introjection
– Projection
– Retroflection
– Confluence
– Deflection
Gerald Corey, Theory & Practice of Group Counseling, 10th Edition. © 2023 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned,
copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
Energy and Blocks to Energy (1 of 2)
• The focus is on energy within individuals and with the group as a
whole.
• Gestalt leaders pay attention to where energy is located, how it is
used, and how it can be blocked.
• Members can be encouraged to recognize how their energy is being
expressed or constricted in their body.
Gerald Corey, Theory & Practice of Group Counseling, 10th Edition. © 2023 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned,
copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
Energy and Blocks to Energy (2 of 2)
• Blocks to energy manifest themselves in the body in various ways.
• Members may not be aware of their energy or where it is located.
• Experiments can assist members in becoming aware of the ways they
may be blocking their energy.
Gerald Corey, Theory & Practice of Group Counseling, 10th Edition. © 2023 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned,
copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
Role and Functions of Group Leader (1 of 2)
• Gestalt leaders
– encourage members to heighten their awareness;
– focus on contact, awareness, and experimentation;
– take an active role in creating experiments to assist members in gaining
awareness; and
– create a safe climate that is conducive to trying out new ways of being
and behaving.
Gerald Corey, Theory & Practice of Group Counseling, 10th Edition. © 2023 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned,
copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
Role and Functions of Group Leader (2 of 2)
• The relationship has a central role
– The client–counselor relationship is the heart and soul of Gestalt therapy.
– Contemporary practice emphasizes a dialogic relationship.
– Emphasis is on presence, authentic dialogue, gentleness, and direct selfexpression by the leader.
Gerald Corey, Theory & Practice of Group Counseling, 10th Edition. © 2023 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned,
copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
Self Assessment
Are there any parts of the lecture to this point that you would like further
clarification on or more full discussion?
How are Gestalt group similar and different to concepts previously discussed?
Gerald Corey, Theory & Practice of Group Counseling, 10th Edition. © 2023 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned,
copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
Stages of a Gestalt Group (1 of 3)
• First stage:
– Key characteristics are identity and dependence.
– Activities are directed toward providing a climate of trust that supports
risk-taking and making connections.
Gerald Corey, Theory & Practice of Group Counseling, 10th Edition. © 2023 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned,
copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
Stages of a Gestalt Group (2 of 3)
• Second stage:
– Key characteristics are influence and counterdependence.
– Activities focus on
â–ª heightening awareness of group norms,
â–ª encouraging members to challenge norms and express differences and
dissatisfaction, and
â–ª differentiating roles from persons.
Gerald Corey, Theory & Practice of Group Counseling, 10th Edition. © 2023 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned,
copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
Stages of a Gestalt Group (3 of 3)
• Third stage:
– Key characteristics are intimacy and interdependence.
– Activities are aimed at helping members reach closure and deal with
unfinished business.
Gerald Corey, Theory & Practice of Group Counseling, 10th Edition. © 2023 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned,
copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
The Role of Experiments (1 of 2)
• The experiment in a Gestalt group
– is phenomenologically based, and
– provides a safe context for members to increase their awareness and try
out new ways of thinking and behaving.
• Preparing clients for experiments
Gerald Corey, Theory & Practice of Group Counseling, 10th Edition. © 2023 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned,
copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
The Role of Experiments (2 of 2)
• Examples of types of experiments:
– Rehearsal
– The exaggeration technique
– Making the rounds
– Fantasy
– Dialogue experiments
Gerald Corey, Theory & Practice of Group Counseling, 10th Edition. © 2023 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned,
copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
Paying Attention to Language
• Experiments can focus on language patterns:
– “It” and “you” talk
– Questions
– Qualifiers and disclaimers
– “Can’t” statements
– “Shoulds” and “oughts”
– Nonverbal language
Gerald Corey, Theory & Practice of Group Counseling, 10th Edition. © 2023 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned,
copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
Dream Work in Groups (1 of 3)
• Principles of Gestalt dream work
– Dreams contain an existential message.
– Dreams are not interpreted by the leader.
– Members discover their own meaning of their dreams.
Gerald Corey, Theory & Practice of Group Counseling, 10th Edition. © 2023 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned,
copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
Dream Work in Groups (2 of 3)
• Guidelines for working with dreams in a group
– Encourage members to relive their dreams as though they were
happening now
– Ask members what interests them about their dreams
– Encourage members to become different parts of their dreams
Gerald Corey, Theory & Practice of Group Counseling, 10th Edition. © 2023 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned,
copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
Dream Work in Groups (3 of 3)
• Guidelines for working with dreams in a group
– Create dialogue between the various aspects of a member’s dream
– Ask members to suggest what they think a dream might be telling them
– Invite other members to share how they are affected
Gerald Corey, Theory & Practice of Group Counseling, 10th Edition. © 2023 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned,
copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
Gestalt Groups in Schools (1 of 2)
• The personal dimensions leaders are able to bring to a group increase
the involvement of young people.
• Children and adolescents are likely to respond well to the collaborative
nature of the approach.
• Gestalt exercises are often bridges to the child’s inner self.
Gerald Corey, Theory & Practice of Group Counseling, 10th Edition. © 2023 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned,
copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
Gestalt Groups in Schools (2 of 2)
• Gestalt counseling is a theoretically based approach that is conducive
to brief interventions in schools.
• Techniques from Gestalt therapy may be limited with some
adolescents.
– e.g., involuntary or highly self-conscious group members
Gerald Corey, Theory & Practice of Group Counseling, 10th Edition. © 2023 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned,
copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
Gestalt Groups with Multicultural Populations
(1 of 2)
• Gestalt therapists attend to what is figural for members out of their
diverse backgrounds.
• Creative experiments can be devised that are meaningful to clients
who express themselves nonverbally.
Gerald Corey, Theory & Practice of Group Counseling, 10th Edition. © 2023 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned,
copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
Gestalt Groups with Multicultural Populations
(2 of 2)
• Clients who are culturally conditioned to be emotionally reserved may
find some Gestalt interventions off-putting.
• The emphasis on individual responsibility may not be appropriate for
clients who have been oppressed.
Gerald Corey, Theory & Practice of Group Counseling, 10th Edition. © 2023 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned,
copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
Evaluation of Gestalt Approach (1 of 3)
• Contributions and strengths of the approach
– It emphasizes the importance of contact with oneself, others, and the
environment.
– It places a premium on the role of authentic relationship and dialogue in
therapy.
Gerald Corey, Theory & Practice of Group Counseling, 10th Edition. © 2023 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned,
copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
Evaluation of Gestalt Approach (2 of 3)
• Contributions and strengths of the approach
– It emphasizes field theory, phenomenology, and awareness in the “hereand-now.”
– It involves the use of creativity and spontaneity as a pathway to
experiential learning.
Gerald Corey, Theory & Practice of Group Counseling, 10th Edition. © 2023 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned,
copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
Evaluation of Gestalt Approach (3 of 3)
• Limitations of the approach
– Some leaders may pay little attention to cognitive factors.
– The potential for power to be misused exists due to the active role of the
leader.
– Emotionally provocative interventions could be used without adequate
processing afterwards.
Gerald Corey, Theory & Practice of Group Counseling, 10th Edition. © 2023 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned,
copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
Summary
We have discussed:
• The design of and focus within Gestalt approach.
• Key concepts and ideas behind the approach.
• The process of the approach itself.
• The approach’s usefulness in schools and multicultural contexts.
• The strengths and limitations of Gestalt approach.
Gerald Corey, Theory & Practice of Group Counseling, 10th Edition. © 2023 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned,
copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

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