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-   -   Gestalt Therapy Texbook (http://www.behavior.net/bolforums/showthread.php?t=383)

Phil Brownell March 5th, 2005 09:46 PM

Gestalt Therapy Textbook
 
In January this year Sage published the first major textbook for Gestalt Therapy, titled, Gestalt Therapy, History, Theory, and Practice, edited by Ansel Woldt and Sarah Toman. Brian O'Neill is a contributor to that text, as am I. I am advocating people to purchase a copy (which they can do through www.sagepub.com), but more than that, I am offering to discuss concepts in my chapter (Gestalt therapy in community mental health). I am not open for supervision, as I am busy supervising someone already, I run a busy practice, and I'm involved in other writing, but I will check back here from time to time to deal with people who have obviously purchased a copy of the text and want to discuss it. My hopes are that many will do that because this book is a product of some of the best thinkers and writers in the Gestalt world, including contributors to major Gestalt journals, trainers in major training centers, and theorists who have been developing the Gestalt approach for the last few decades.

Philip Brownell, M.Div., Psy.D.
Sr. Editor, Gestalt! (www.g-gej.org)
Clinical Psychologist, Bermuda

Anna Freud April 2nd, 2005 09:52 PM

Re: Gestalt Therapy Texbook
 
Dr. Brownell,

Hw many people paid you to kiss your arse with this publication? Are those authors really good thinkers?

Anna

Phil Brownell April 3rd, 2005 11:14 AM

Re: Gestalt Therapy Texbook
 
Dear "Anna,"
No one paid me. Rather, when the various chapter authors actually were able to contemplate the entire book (after it was published and they had received a copy), there was a spontaneous outpouring of amazement and gratitude - for the scope and the depth as well as for the privilege of having participated in its creation. You inquire into the credibility of these various authors; they are simply the leading thinkers and writers, representing most of the significant Gestalt therapy training centers, in the world. Read it or don't read it. But until you actually know what you're talking about in the discipline of Gestalt therapy and have had a chance to contemplate the book for yourself, you will not appreciate that what I say here about the book is true.

Philip Brownell, M.Div.; Psy.D.
Sr. Editor, Gestalt! (www.g-gej.org)

Anna Freud April 3rd, 2005 12:05 PM

Re: Gestalt Therapy Texbook
 
Dear "Phil",

I become weary when I hear people say their group has "leading thinkers...in the world." Like your little corner is the only corner in the world. Are your people so brilliant in that concept?

Anna

Phil Brownell April 3rd, 2005 04:22 PM

Re: Gestalt Therapy Texbook
 
Anna,
It might help if you remember that you are posting to a forum dedicated to Gestalt therapy. The book is about Gestalt therapy. The context of my comments concerned Gestalt therapy. So, in that context, I stand on what I wrote, whether you are tired of hearing such things or not. Those contributing to the textbook are among the leading thinkers, writers, and trainers in Gestalt therapy. Are you actually interested in Gestalt therapy or just a cynical student who thinks there is some virtue in skepticism?

Phil

Anna Freud April 3rd, 2005 10:44 PM

Re: Gestalt Therapy Texbook
 
Dear Phil,

Gestalt forum. Yes, I got that. What bothers me as I repeat myself is your word usage. "Leading" thinkers, writers and Gestalt Trainers in the field. My problem is with the words you use. In any discipline we will have these great so-called "leaders." But isn't that just in their own minds? Are these people so great? Also is Gestalt therapy the very best theory in the field? What makes it better then Psychodynamic? Or Cognitive behavioral? Or Family Systems? Or any other theory? Each theory is basically the same with the major concepts changed to different words. I could argue the same points here against other disciplines and the "professionals" in other forums would argue they are the BEST! With so many therapists around why is the world still basically sad and mad?

Anna

Phil Brownell April 4th, 2005 07:00 AM

Re: Gestalt Therapy Texbook
 
Anna,
You seem to be asking the following questions:
(1) Are the people to whom I referred actually the leading thinkers and writers in Gestalt therapy?
(2) Is Gestalt therapy the best theoretical perspective in the field of clinical psychology?
(3) Are not all clinical perspectives the same, with mere lexical/semantic differences?
(4) If psychotherapy actually works, why is there still suffering and madness in the world?

The answer to the first question is yes. They are not all of them; I claimed they were among them. There is Gary Yontef, who wrote the basic article on Gestalt therapy for Corsini's book. Edwin Nevis, who was a co-founder of the Gestalt Insitute of Cleveland and now heads up the Gestalt International Study Center at Cape Cod; he taught at MIT's Sloan School of Management for years. Others are Sylvia Crocker, whose collection of essays in her book, A Well-Lived Life, is on it's way to becoming a classic in Gestalt literature, Peter Philippson of the Manchester Gestalt Center, Brian O'Neill, the moderator of this forum, Malcolm Parlett (editor of the British Gestalt Journal and Joe Melnick, editor of Gestalt Review, Margherita Lobb director of the Istituto di Gestalt (Italy), Philip Lichtenberg, co-director of the Gestalt Institute of Philadelphia - among many others.

The answer to the second question is that I believe Gestalt therapy is the most comprehensive theory, and one capable of assimilating the most from other theoretical perspectives. It is phenomenological (thus cognitive and behavioral, but thus so rooted in a current experience of the client), dialogical (thus interpersonal and relational), field relevant (thus multi-systemic and including all things having effect - memory of the past and expectation of the future). There is a fluid methodology, and the training process has several approaches (see an article by Brian O'Neill, Jay Levin, and myself called "Training and Ethics" in Gestalt! - www.g-gej.org - for a description of these).

Your next question seems to be in favor of the theory of common factors, but if so, you misunderstand what common factors proponents are saying. The common factors people would claim that all therapies yield similarly effective results, but they do not claim that all therapies merely change the words around. In fact, one of the elements that makes for an effective therapist is that he or she is organized by a distinct and salient theoretical approach. There may be common elements among the various clinical perspectives (I happen to believe that is so), but the way in which these common factors are constructed, organized, and manifest is not the same. It is also not true that every clinical perspective embodies all, or the same, common factors.

Finally, you ask an old question: if God is loving and all powerful, why is there suffering? If psychotherapy actually works, why is there madness? If I could answer that, I'd be rich and famous. Perhaps it's good enough to realize, as M.C. Dillon has said in the introduction to his book, Merleau-Ponty's Ontology, that any theory of knowing must allow for partial knowlege.

Philip Brownell, M.Div., Psy.D.
Sr. Editor, Gestalt! (www.g-gej.org)
Clinical Psychologist, Bermuda


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