I thank you for your response. I had also been feeling paradoxical last week. I was NOT actually annoyed with you Brian, but with myself and cyberspace in general. My last posting however was written to attract SOME response from anybody at that point. But like I said, I led myself down this path because of my own anticipation of some more quick fixes... When they did not come forthwith, I felt foolish and transparent. But that was then and this is now...I enjoyed your posting very much...the Borg bit kept me and my wife laughing for some time.
Before we get to the Borg, I would like to let you know more of me. I read your article in Gestalt!, the one you shared with Philip Brownell and Jay Levin published spring of '97.
Great article! I would like to think that this posting expresses the articles' request to communicate with other gestaltists. I've actually been out of touch with "mainstream" Gestalt (if there is such animal) for a few years now, so I guess I was part of the problem.
My study of Gestalt with addicts is not exactly front page news and even in the larger recovery field, Gestalt is not at the top of everybody's short list of perferred therapies. Too bad...I think it works just great! In combination with the 12 Steps and Western Christianity, Gestalt therapy has quite authentically saved my life and many more persons I know of also, such as my wife, Shona (she has 14 years sustained sobriety).
My mentor and Gestalt Therapy trainer Fr. V. Bruce Pellegrin, Ph.D., always told me I am like a diamond in the rough. I suppose my addiction keeps me rough and ready, and paradoxically my recovery keeps it cut and polished. Dr. Pellegrin trained me in co-ed residential group therapy in addictions recovery over a three year period from Jan 1985 to Dec 1987, in Ontario, Canada.
At the time I met him I was already 4 years sober and working as a garden variety drug counsellor in a Rehab Center Bruce had become interested in revamping.
We formed an instant friendship, fellowship and love for one another. He was the priest who wed my Shona and I. He often told me I was a natural at gestalt therapy with drug addicts. I got interested real fast. So he trained me, I really flew with it, and we began to discuss the opening of a new kind of recovery center; with new ideas and a new freshness. We slowly began to lay the foundations. All the while I continued my training at the present center.
In early winter of 1987, we were finalising a new 14 bed Co-Ed Center for Addictions Recovery when he suddenly took ill. Bruce left the province and headed to the Maritimes, his real first love, the open sea shore. I never sought another mentor.
At that point I was Executive Director and Bruce was Board Chairman. He was replaced by the Vice-Chair, but it was never the same. Too many board members afraid of what they could not/would not become aware of. The board slowly returned to more traditional strategies for recovery program implementation. I left that organization the summer of 1988 that Bruce, my wife and myself founded 18 months previous to his leaving. We had just been OK for a nice grant of $420, 000. to be given over a three years when I was packing it in. Any ways, Gestalt just isn't gestalt when the heart is gone. That place is still going today, and of course they would never know me if I walked in the doors. Time can be a great eraser. Well, as we say around here, success means nothing if not in relationship to failure. Both are valid experiences if one is to become authentic.
From 1988 to 1989 I took a sabbatical. In 1990 I tried a few college courses. I got some A's, and my wife and I received our daughter Stephanie that same year. She is seven now, and we home school her. We are doing our best to instill in her some gestalt...kids pick up things fast!
In 1992 I decided to forget about "professional" counselling and take a carrer in computer science and technology. In my first semester of a three year course, by back developed some serious problems. I went under the surgeon's knife in early '93 and was told to forget about working for quite awhile. I then took some courses at Waterloo University, but my back just would not hold up. But even more then this, I was unhappy that I was not really doing much in recovery counselling or gestalt. I was still running some groups and doing some private counseling, but I wanted more. A lot more.
In 1994, we accepted control over a small non-residential recovery center in my little town of Cornwall. It was pretty well shot through and through with problem after problem. My wife, myself and my friend Jeff have been building it up since. We currently run small recovery groups and a private counselling service. This fall we hope to become a 4 bed residential center. This time I am both Chairman and Director :) Everybody on this board is of course aware of Gestalt, and we fully expect to continue using Gestalt Therapy.
It is because of my earlier training in Gestalt, and my endevours with residential treatment again that I have come to yearn for some serious gestalt "brothers and sisters".
Well enough of me already. I would like to comment on your statement Brian, about there being more to any of us then meets the eye. I completely agree. You had also mentioned that you were sometimes challenged by drug addicts because of their perception you hadn't abused the same substance they had, and that potentially you could not Gestalt with them in a recovery way.
When I gave my little "sock" metaphor, it was not concerning the therapists use of drug substances; rather I was drawing attention to the fact that any therapist that attempts to help a drug addict recover had better know when the drug addict is really talking truth or telling lies. I am speaking about the therapist who lets or worse yet encourages the addict to become a circus "sideshow act", all in the name of Your okay--I'm okay. I do not believe in using former "drug trips" of the addict as any sort of a basis for authentic dialogical conversations, nor would I tolerate for very long a drug addict in my care rambling on and on about his "trips" and I am a drug addict!
I really do not see the point in addicts sitting around seriously talking about "drug enduced trips". If the addict is recovering properly, then he/she should be much to busy talking about the trip of "real life" that they are now going thru. And another thing, addicts who are talking about "flashback after flashback" are probably lying at worst or confused at best. Having a drug addict do the "chicken" on the floor or "foam" at the mouth from dialogical DT's is hardly recovery therapy to me. There's more on this but this posting is really getting long....
So then...any therapist who in honesty knows the difference between what a "child" wants and what an "adult" needs should be competent enough to "help" an authentic recovering addict. Still though I do not take back what I said, I meant it only to apply to therapists who are probably going to be incompetent with whoever they attempt to help.
All the client needs is some time to "see" thier natural limits, and the game is up. I think the use of drugs or not use of drugs has VERY little to do with it. It remains the ethical responsibility of the therapist to only help persons he can really help. We are talking about Gestalt here people. About the only time I would need to help an addict who is on some "drug trip" is if: 1) The client was actually on drugs, and 2) So was I.
If the therapist does not know what they are doing, then the client will surely be at a major loss.
Alright. About the Borg then. It is now 3:47 in the morning, and the Borg can wait in space-time for a better descent window another day or so. Sheilds Up! Phasers On Stun! Standing by.....
Oh by the way Brian...it has come to me that fishing is very Gestalt. :)