One of the early contributions of Gestalt therapy theory was a phenomenological description of the sequence of contacting, from earliest arousal through action, through resolution. As with everything theoretical, there has been dispute and controversy regarding the details of this description. But I am less interested in the details of this formulation, and more interested in the frame that it gives us when looking at healthy behavior, and therefore at unhealthy behavior.
Life faces us with difficulties. Some difficulties are situational, where we live with danger or scarcity. Some difficulties are relational, where we deal with conflict or loss or loneliness. Some difficulties are physical, where we deal with injury or illness. Some difficulties are existential, where we are faced with our questions about what matters, about the meaning or meaningless we see in life. All of these difficulties require something of us. They require us to face, accept, and engage with the very thing that is causing us pain, fear, or hopelessness. And they require that we do so with faith in the possibility of moving through and past our painful present.
If you have arrived here, you probably are searching on the internet for a therapist. Many people search with some particular ideas in mind: they want a man, or a woman; older or younger; takes my insurance; is kind, wise, strong; shares my philosophy about life…
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