Week 5 forum post responses

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In need of a 250 word response/discussion to each of the following forum posts. Agreement/disagreement/and/or continuing the discussion.

Original forum discussion/topic post is as follows:

Forum Assignment for the Week: Many theorists believe that psychological problems might be caused by societal values rather than by individual factors. Identify one possible societal value that could result in psychological symptoms in the individual and describe how you would treat the individual experiencing that symptoms based on Gestalt Therapy or Interpersonal Psychotherapy.

Forum post response #1

Gestalt therapy places significant importance on the idea of holism.Holism means, as we’ve learned in the past weeks that many therapies utilize, that humans are always attempting to better themselves, and that the ability to better themselves is innate and inside every one of us.Different from the past therapies we have discussed is that Gestalt therapy also relies on field theory.Field theory is the connection between our actual environment and how we perceive our environment.For example, perhaps in my environment I am socially accepted, however my poor self-esteem may make me feel constantly judged.Field theory also accounts for past memories and how they affect how we think about current events.For example, perhaps in the past I said something that was dismissed or ridiculed by my peers.That may make me feel that, in my current environment, if I say something that it will be stupid or ridiculed by my peers again – even if my current environment does not reflect that at all. Because of this field theory, it’s easy to see how society affects us psychologically.Gestalt theory is all about the client acknowledging these feelings and being aware of them, both in the present and the future.

For example, perhaps a person experienced being robbed on the street in the past.Because of this, the person feels anxiety whenever they are walking on a sidewalk to get somewhere.Gestalt therapy helps the client to recognize this anxiety and fear.The Gestalt therapist first helps the client be able to acknowledge that they are having these feelings of anxiety, and also to help them acknowledge what exactly is happening when they have these feelings.Gestalt therapy reminds a bit about practicing mindfulness, in that a major point of this therapy is solely for the client to be more aware of their feelings and experiences.Once the client does recognize the anxiety and what the anxiety feels like, then the Gestalt therapist and client can move onto discussions and experiments where they try to understand why the client has this anxiety.Hopefully, the client begins to understand that the anxiety is due to a fear of being robbed in the future, and is able to find a new behavior to calm this anxiety.

Society places major pressures on us to be perfect.This is exaggerated by social media, where people can post only the perfect parts of their life.This unobtainable perfectionism can cause anxiety with people.Similar to the example above, if a client reached out to a Gestalt therapist due to their constant concern for being perfect, the therapist would first attempt to help the client realize what the major stressor is – the concern for always being perfect.Then, they will focus, or practice mindfulness, on this feeling of perfectionism.Finally, the client and therapist would discuss ways to change the behavior of always trying to achieve perfectionism.For example, perhaps the therapist would suggest the person removing themselves from social media.Or perhaps the client would post all un-perfect pictures on social media, to help get over the fear of people knowing that he or she is not perfect.

Forum post response #2

One societal value that could result in a psychological problem is the value physical and emotional attachment to others. Our society reinforces the need for physical bonding between mother and infant, which develops into emotional bonds and the ability to have socially and emotionally healthy relationships with others. The attachments between infants, toddlers, and adolescents with their immediate family is essential in role modeling societal expectations for interaction. This also goes along with intimacy and what society deems is appropriate forms of relationships and what boundaries are established, along with gender role assignment.

When an individual spends his/her developmental years with either A) no healthy physical, emotional and/or psychological environment B) absolutely no physical bonding between mother and child. This can cause the child to develop detachment issues, separation issues and possibly physically violent personalities. The need for the emotional bonding and growth is an important component of becoming members of the greater society. There has been documented cases where serial murderers who had developmentally harmful childhoods. Lack of bonding between child and mother also can cause relationship issues in adulthood.

To attempt at treatment for this person, I would utilize the Gestalt therapy. This approach is a client-centered approach to psychotherapy that helps clients focus on the present and understand what is really happening in their lives right now, rather than what they may perceive to be happening based on experience Therapy, 2018). The Gestalt therapy, designed by Fritz Perls, focuses helping patients to re-associate with themselves with their bind, body and soul. It is approach that centers upon helping clients focus on their present start of being, by using their experiences to help shape their future. Instead of simply talking about past situations, clients are encouraged to experience them, perhaps through re-enactment. I would utilize this approach to help clients rediscover their own self-person hood and reconnect them to past by processing their current life. This process would entail having the client to discuss, divulge and process his or her own image of themselves. I think the most important element of any psychotherapy is to ensure that the client/patient trusts in the process. There has to be “by-in” from the client and a mutual working relationship between client and patient. When utilizing such approach as Gestalt, I believe requires the psychologist/therapist to have the extensive training required to adequately implement therapy sessions. In my opinion, I view Gestalt therapy as the most effective tool to address those types of societal issues.

Forum post response #3

The Gestalt theory is an interesting one, because of its heavy reliance on existential patterns of thought, and because it is unlike behavioral therapies in the fact that it acknowledges a client’s past experiences as a means of shaping personality; however, it does so without resorting to unconscious motivations like in Psychotherapy. While Gestalt acknowledged the unconscious, he instead thought of behavior and personality in means of awareness and unawareness; anything that happened outside of the immediate awareness of the client was in this secondary unawareness category. How this is different from the concept of an unconscious is that in the Gestalt theory, ideas are able to move from this background process to the foreground, meaning that these thoughts move from unawareness to awareness. More importantly from a therapeutic position, this unawareness does not require a therapist to interpret or decode these unconscious motivations. Gestalt Psychology gives clients the self-awareness to understand how the choices an individual makes impacts a person’s physical health and can have consequences for our relationships with others.

Like many of the therapies examined during this course, Gestalt therapy can be helpful for a variety of mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and relationship difficulties. The main focus of Gestalt therapy is the concept of “wholeness”, which is also the translation of the word Gestalt. This holism is centered around the idea that a human is self-regulating, goal oriented, and that an individual cannot be fully understood without also examining the social environment in which that individual lives. What Fritz Perls meant but this was seeing the person as a combination of body, mind, and soul, and seeing their feelings expressed in the moment. It is also believed that if one does not release these negative emotions, that there can be physical and psychological consequences. According to Gestalt Psychology, it is not the responsibility of an individual to live up to the expectations of others, nor should that person expect others to live up to their demands. Gestalt Psychology teaches that self-confidence can help improve both physical and emotional well-being. One of the central tenants of the Gestalt theory is the concept of the Paradoxical Theory of Change, which states that the more a person attempts to change his or herself, the less successful this change is likely to occur. This is why successful Gestalt therapy often involves assisting a client in identifying his or her true self, and using this to guide them in dealing with the issues they are experiencing.

Through the three methods of contact, conscious awareness, and experimentation Gestalt therapy is able to help a person change the things about themselves they believe are malapdative. This occurs through understanding, focus, and education.


Wedding, D., & Corsini, R. (2011). Current psychotherapies. Belmont, CA: Brooks

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