An Interesting Introduction to Psychology – Gestalt, Jung, and Therapy

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Boundary disturbances as defined by Gestalt Therapy are as follows: Introjection refers to “swallowing” information without ever understanding or assimilating it; projection involves displacing one’s own wishes onto another; in retroflection, a person does to herself what she wants to do to others (e.g., isolation, masturbation); deflection refers to avoidance of contact by being vague, indirect, or overly polite; confluence occurs when the self-environment boundary is too thin and self is not experienced as distinct, but merged into attitudes, beliefs, and feelings of others; and isolation is when the self-environment boundary becomes nonexistent. A Gestalt therapist views transference in the client-therapist relationship as a fantasy that hinders true self-awareness.

Jung’s Analytical Psychotherapy Views behavior as being determined by both conscious and unconscious factors, including collective unconscious, and is based on the theory that personality continues to develop throughout the lifespan. Jung contended that the personal (individual) unconscious arises from repression, whereas collective unconscious comes from universally inherited neural patterns and is described as the “reservoir of the experiences of our species.” From Jung’s Analytic perspective, archetypes are innate, universal prototypes for ideas that may be used to interpret observations. A group of memories and interpretations associated with one is termed a complex. Extroversion is the disposition to find pleasure in external things; introversion reflects a turning inward of the libido. Jung believed that at approximately 40 years-old, people shift from the extroversion of their youth to the introversion of adulthood, a time period referred to as mid-life crisis (transition).

Practitioners of Person-Centered Therapy hold the belief that people possess an inherent ability for growth and self-actualization and that maladaptive behavior occurs when incongruence between self and experience disrupts this natural tendency. In Person-Centered Therapy, the 3 facilitative conditions the therapist applies to enable clients to return to their natural tendency for self-actualization are Empathic understanding (empathy), congruence (genuineness/authenticity), and unconditional positive regard.

Therapists from Solution-Focused Therapy view the client as expert while the therapist acts as a consultant/collaborator who poses questions designed to assist clients in recognizing and using their strengths and resources to achieve goals. Solution-Focused therapists believe that understanding the etiology or attribute of a maladaptive behavior is irrelevant. They prefer rather to focus on solutions to problems.

Feminist Therapy is focused on empowerment and social change, based on the premise that “the personal is political,” and attempts to demystify the client-therapist relationship. In Feminist Object Relations Therapy, the 2 contributors to gendered behaviors are 1. Sexual division of labor and 2. Mother-child relationship (positing that many gender differences can be traced to differences in mother-daughter and mother-son relationships). In contrast to Feminist Therapy, nonsexist therapy focuses more on personal causes of behavior and personal change.

According to Self-In-Relation Theory, one’s sense of self is largely dependent on how they connect with others, thus psychopathology is viewed as resulting from disconnection with others. A good technique to use with clients who are ambivalent about changing their behaviors and combines the transtheoretical model with client-centered therapy and self-efficacy is Motivational Interviewing. The goals of increasing a couple’s recognition and initiation of pleasurable interactions, decreasing a couple’s aversive interactions (negative exchanges), teaching a couple effective problem-solving and communication skills, and teaching a couple to use a contingency contract to resolve persisting problems characterize behavioral family therapeutic approach.