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Brian O'Neill December 23rd, 2004 06:56 AM

Anyone want to comment???
I've noticed that in this new format there is an incredible shift from the previous one where everyone was posting to a place where there are lots of people reading yet a very few posting.... I'm curious and even perplexed... and I;d love some feedback....

Other forums here vary from being similar to this one to being very full of postings and dialogues... so what's happening here.... anyone want to comment???


Brian O'Neill December 23rd, 2004 06:57 AM

Re: Anyone want to comment???
Post Script...

and I'd love to just chat with people about Gestalt therapy if anyone is interested...


JustBen January 11th, 2005 02:23 PM

Re: Anyone want to comment???
I can only respond by pointing out that it's happening in just about every forum on I've tried to generate some conversation in a couple of forums, but ends up being the same three or four people going back and forth.

Doug William January 21st, 2005 10:43 PM

Re: Anyone want to comment???
Ben --- Brian---

Unfortunately, what you're experiencing here is kind of typical. I've participated in another network of school psychologists that you might think would generate a lot of common interest-- but, no, the same thing. And that's over a six year period. Lots and lots of people reading (or listening) but very, very few participating.

The other interesting problem is that when these older forums (especially the Nathanson Forum on Affect Theory), were more animated (and there's no question that the other format was more friendly) the exchanges became increasingly strident and nasty, and more and more people joined the site using pseudo-names or 'anonymous'. By the way, even Nathanson's new website, which you must pay to join, has the same meager participation!!!
So if you pay and still don't participate-- that says to me that some pretty strong inhibition must be going on. I think that a great number of people are interested but don't really feel they have something to contribute. So these sites become similar to a classroom. Most people prefer to listen. I guess there is much more involved to the experience of risk taking when you actively participate than is at all obvious. And I'm wondering if the same people who verbally participated in their classrooms are the same people who participate here! In fact, by extension, are we the same people who tend to talk up at conferences? (of course, I realize that the compulsive talkers sometimes only want to hear themselves talk, so it doesn't have to be a 'positive trait'!!)

For me, it's been 8 years of being surprised how difficult it seems to be to have 'conversation' and to talk about things in depth. Even the sharing of ideas with several people reading the same book would be interesting. But-- what happens instead is that people start defending a set of ideas and express the same things over and over and over again. So, sadly, what I'm saying is that even when more people participate, things don't necessarily get better.

I've been especially impressed with Dr. Pretzer's Forum and the richness of his thinking. For people (interested in cognitive therapy) to pass up the opportunity to interact with him is kind of sad!! He has actually verbalized his disappointment about how few participate opposed to the large numbers who just read.

Of course, this site offers us the opportunity to use private messaging as well-- which in fact I've done with Ben.


Brian O'Neill January 25th, 2005 01:02 AM

Re: Anyone want to comment???
Thanks for this Doug...

I hadn't really compared or looked at other forums and so to hear from you is great. I know on email chat lists such as Gestalt L, we tend to talk more (more immediate?) and yet I still have hope that this forum can also be useful in some form....

I'm willing to keep experimenting and have just asked a variety of Gestalt therapists to join so I'm hopeful...

We are somewhere in between a book and a chat list...and to paraphrase Elie Wiesel a jewish mystic, ... when a writer is sincere and writes from this, and the reader also is sincere, then God is present.

Even you and I writing is a change in the field so I'm interested in what prompted you to write


Doug William January 25th, 2005 06:51 PM

Re: Anyone want to comment???
Hi again Brian---

I find contacting people having similar areas of interest to be fun. I don't have to agree with them, but to have the opportunity to 'talk' with other people in this way I just thought was a great thing. Especially because in the normal course of our lives, we would normally speak with only a limited number of people. But then to my never ending disappointment this feeling I have about this kind of communication and is just not shared by the numbers of people I had anticipated. First, I thought this would be a great opporunity to talk about issues in some depth, but somehow without the 'structure' of a classroom, people just don't seem to want to do this. Or- and maybe this is more important- people want their work and outside lives to be different spheres-- so the idea of continuing to explore ideas after formal schooling just isn't appealing.The school psychology network I mentioned is far more closed and protected from outsiders than this one, but as I said in my other post, if people wanted to feel more "protected" to participate, this did nothing to spur participation either.

So I wander back here hoping things will be different, but they're not.

I can't claim a special interest in Gestalt therapy, but I certainly did respond to the content of your recent post!!

I have considered creating my own network of people I've met over the years online who did participate more actively.


Joelle March 3rd, 2005 09:57 AM

Re: Anyone want to comment???
I like this thread!

It addresses 'what is' here and now, head on. And what is, is the number of thread visits in the hundreds and the number of posts equal to zero - still the case to date 3rd March 2005. And since behaviour is function of the field, I am just wondering about the behaviour of members in the Behavior Online field!

I stopped visiting this forum over a year ago, because it seemed that it was filling up with spam type postings and requests for help with university papers, and... I did not have the energy to say or do anything about it. As if the field was polarising into expertise and helplessness, with some disruptive stuff thrown in. Doug, you are right, it is really like a bad classroom! Except Brian is not the teacher, we are not the pupils.

And this reminds me also of silence in groups possibly being another way to conflict.

[Any student wanting reading material on this, check out an article by John Bernard Harris from the Manchester Gestalt Centre at:
That's the request for materials out of the road!]

And a thought on completing this posting:

I am resisting the urge to edit it, and wonder how many postings were deleted before sending (retroflected). Suppose we'll never know. I am imagining the hundreds of spontaneous thoughts that were typed and never sent, and feel a bit sad. And before I lose my nerve, I'll click on Submit.

Phil Brownell March 5th, 2005 09:22 PM

Re: Anyone want to comment???
Okay, I'll jump in on this one too. I'm usually busy elsewhere, and I've been away from this forum for awhile for various reasons, but tonight I wandered back in. (HI, BRIAN!) As I have discussed with Brian, I think the new interface slows people down. It's just easier to scan what's here than to go through the hassle of registering, then remembering one's username and password. Like, I could not recall what I'd logged in as last time, and between then and now my email address had changed so even if I asked for a reminder, they wouldn't have sent it to the right place. So, here I am under a totally fictitious name (NOT).


Brian O'Neill March 7th, 2005 01:52 AM

Re: Anyone want to comment???
Thanks for posting folks.... must be some sort of paradoxical process in play here... here we are talking about not talking.... paradoxical theory of change ? :)


Lindsay Smith March 8th, 2005 06:24 PM

Re: Anyone want to comment???
[Any student wanting reading material on this, check out an article by John Bernard Harris from the Manchester Gestalt Centre at:

Hello Brian,

My response to SILENCE is that being silent is a great way to come to terms with what is going on inside yourself. Most people seem to have a 'busyness' thing which extends right into their leisure time. The TV or radio is on 'for company' so I'm often told. Now the family have left home & my wife is often at my daughter's place minding the grand child I seldom have anything on in the background.

I used to offer to 'concentration & relaxation' workshops at the end of term to students who wanted an alternative to sporting activities or watching a movie. I would explain how to 'look at the wall' & then give students about 10 minutes to try. Then I'd reform the group & ask the students what they had discovered without putting any interpretation on anything except perhaps to say, "that's interesting."

Then we'd 'look at the wall' again. Some students chose to lie on the floor & look at the ceiling. Some chose to close their eyes. Some chose to have their eyes half open. Some chose to close their eyes for a while & open them for a while & close them again. Some students stood a faced the wall, some sat on chairs, some sat cross legged.

I had feedback from students at the time & since that the learning the skill of 'looking at the wall' was beneficial for them. That they are still doing that. That being able to fix attention like that has been an important way of managing their lives.

I sometimes give Hypnotherapy clients instruction on 'looking at the wall' for a few minutes & suggest that they do some every day as homework. As I've mentioned elsewhere on one of the forums I ask two questions while people hold focus.... "what are you thinking now?" ... "what are you feeling now?"

I am not expecting answers. Often there is no response because people are completely involved in holding focus & that occupies all their attention.

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