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Unread April 3rd, 2005, 11:03 AM
Phil Brownell Phil Brownell is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 23
Default Re: Defining Spirituality - A Gestalt therapy perspective

Dear Anna,
Your assertion that Christian counselors do not bring spirituality into the counseling is simply wrong. Furthermore, you seem to misunderstand the implications of holism and dialogic relationship; a Christian Gestalt therapist would practice presence as a whole human being, including his or her relationship with God. The way they might do this would vary. I listen for "the word" of the client which communicates their experience of God, but beyond that I attempt to provide a space in which the meeting between myself and the client might occur, in regard to spirituality, by disclosing to them my background in the ministry; when I conduct a formal history with the client, I include the spiritual by asking if spirituality is important to them, if they believe in God, if they do believe in God, what they think God is like, if they participate in a community of faith, and if so how involved and accepted they experience themselves there, and if they want spirituality to be part of their therapy. This is the kind of thing I believe a holistic approach would naturally prompt in a Gestalt therapist, but I agree with you that many do not (which I believe is from neglect of the theism which is actually present in the roots of our theory - see "A More Complete Spiritual Gestalt" elsewhere posted in this forum). I would not put the emphasis you seem to have made on the negative. I graduated, for instance, from a doctoral program accredited by the American Psychological Association to prepare psychologists to serve peoples of faith, and I know we contemplated often the integration of psychology and Christianity.

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

Last edited by Phil Brownell; April 19th, 2005 at 08:26 PM. Reason: adding new and relevant information
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