Gestalt Therapy and Role Playing

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Now, more than ever, with the gradual reduction of resources available to the social services department, the social workers no longer have the time available to devote to each individual client. A good alternative to this ever increasing dilemma is group treatment. Gestalt Therapy is a form of therapy which is used in group treatment and has enhanced progress in this area. German-born psychiatrist, Fritz Perls, conceptualized and developed this theory called Gestalt therapy. The German word gestalt cannot be translated into an equivalent, English term. It encompasses a wide variety of concepts: a shape, a pattern, and a whole form. His theory, stresses a phenomenological and existential point of view. Phenomenology, which grew out of existentialism, is a philosophy that encourages ‘going to the things themselves’. With this attitude the Gestalt therapist is open to and persuades the client to reveal who s/he really is and how s/he functions in the world. The main concern is the immediate grasp of being (what is) without preconceptions, or speculations. Gestalt therapy's view of human nature is grounded in four major concepts: biological field theory, the entity of the organism, the need for contact and relationship, and the capacity for making wholes. These concepts include ideas about Gestalt as an approach to human change with the centrality of contact, awareness, personal responsiveness and responsibility. Primacy is given to the exclusivity of the individual. The person is never reduced to parts but viewed as an incorporated whole with innate potential for growth and mature self-expression. The ultimate aim of Gestalt therapy is to assist the client in restoring his/her own natural ability to self-regulate as an organism and ... ... middle of paper ... ...e for operations; what pilots do in learning to navigate airplanes; what millions of soldiers do in the course of military exercises-it's all role playing. The wide ranging usage of Role play is profound; however there are some drawbacks to this form of therapy. The most common problem with role playing is that of the leader not appreciating its fundamental nature: It is an improvisational procedure, and improvisation requires a feeling of relative safety. This must be developed in a group; the therapist must employ the group in a "warming-up" process in which they get to know each other in a more trusting fashion. Hence, Gestalt Therapy and Role Play work hand in hand to enhance the lives of those in need. Works Cited • www.gestalttherapy.net • Touro Library-SAGE- Gestalt therapy and Social work (R. Felton) • “Journal of Heart Centered Therapies”- (Amy Casey)

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