“Awareness” is one of the main tools in Gestalt.
The quality of awareness is a form of experience that may be loosely defined as being in touch with one’s own existence, with what is. I think of this as the “quality of the contact or connection” that a person has with themselves and the world around them. We are all in a constant flow of new events, thoughts and feelings with each second that ticks by. In Gestalt, my attention goes to what is showing up right now in a person. I believe that what is most pressing will show for care and attention! This optimistic viewpoint opens horizons for more possibilities to heal and grow, which is why I love the practice of Gestalt.
Laura Perls, one of the founders of Gestalt states:
“The aim of Gestalt therapy is the awareness continuum, the freely ongoing Gestalt formation where what is of greatest concern and interest to the organism, the relationship, the group or society becomes Gestalt, comes into the foreground where it can be fully experienced and coped with (acknowledged, worked through, sorted out, changed, disposed of, etc.) so that then it can melt into the background (be forgotten or assimilated and integrated) and leave the foreground free for the next relevant Gestalt.”
(1973, p. 2)
We are all born with a capacity and ability to say “no”—if you don’t believe me, ask any 2 year old! Often, people have had early experiences where their "no" was not respected, suppressed and even denied.
The more robustly you can claim your "no" and bring it out into the open air, the more balanced your life can be. A strong "no" enables you to have an equally strong Yes, and the wideness between the two of those poles gives you a bigger space to live in!
Be encouraged, relationships benefit from the increased strength of your connection to your No! We often don’t realize that our “No” is helpful to those who really love us, because they then know how to better treat us, and that in turn enhances and deepens the relationship.
Need support in finding your "no"?
My complimentary Intro session is a great place to start!
An integrated and healthy person is mostly aware of all the elements that unite and integrate to make them whole: their body, soul, intellect, spirit, and social context. A holistically healthy person is able to have good “contact” with others as well as themselves, meaning that there is a secure connection between the person and whomever or whatever which they are engaged with.
Gestalt Theory focuses on the individual’s experience in the present moment, as in “I and Thou in the here and now.” This involves consideration of the Guide-Worker relationship (as we say in Gestalt Pastoral Care), the environmental and social contexts of a person’s life, and the emotional, physical, and mental self-regulating adjustments people make as a result of their overall situation. An open Gestalt is a situation that has not yet been completed or resolved, while a closed Gestalt is one that has been completed.
As a certified ICF-ACC Gestalt Wellness Coach, I use Gestalt modalities to support persons in their inner work of exploring and discovering these open Gestalts needing resolution. This opens the possibility of discovering and processing whatever stands in the way of growth, and breaking free from what holds them back.
I am also a commissioned Gestalt Pastoral Care Minister. Gestalt Pastoral Care is a scientifically validated amalgam of Gestalt modalities, Spiritual Companioning, and Contemplative Prayer. It is rooted in the healing stories of Jesus and trusts that God’s ongoing desire for us is wholeness and healing.
Find out more at the Gestalt Pastoral Care website.
Walt Whitman, in his poem, Song of Myself; describes himself as containing 'multitudes'.
In the healing practice of GPC, we know we are complex beings with many facets and parts. As an example, you might say, “part of me wants to take a nap, and part of me wants to take a walk”.
The goal of GPC is to help you love yourself as well as you love God and your neighbor. In using the GPC modality, we become aware of and introduced to any parts you may not have realized were there; and then to gently and respectfully make contact and peace with those parts. Each part has a point of view, and if they are really parts of you, they are there to help you heal and grow!
I am delighted to share this poem I wrote, expressing my experience in offering Gestalt Pastoral Care work.
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About Alexandra MacCracken
ICF-ACC Accredited Coach