Gestalt and Analytical Therapy: a Counseling View of Human Nature

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 3492 |

Pages: 8|

18 min read

Published: Jul 3, 2023

Words: 3492|Pages: 8|18 min read

Published: Jul 3, 2023

Table of contents

  1. Gestalt and Analytical Therapy: Analysis of the View of Human Nature in Counseling Theories
  2. Hey Concepts and Counseling Techniques in My Theoretical Model
  3. Therapeutic Approaches and Techniques to Work With Clients 
  4. Gestalt and Analytical Therapy From Different Approaches
  5. Conclusion

My historical context that led to my view of human nature would have to be from my love of sciences, and my belief that anything you know comes from experience. Specifically experiences that a person went through during their lifetime that left an impact. This is where Analytical therapy comes in to my view of human nature. From my love of horror and thriller movies, I believe that people can hold another side within themselves. That someone’s unfinished business can cause them to not live their life to the fullest. That just because we act in a certain way in front of others, does not mean that that is truly who we are. Our unfinished business can have a lot to do with someone not living in the now or to their full potential. They would only show who they feel they are supposed to be in order to be accepted. When in all actuality, they could be the complete and total opposite.

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I believe that everyone is like this even if they refuse to admit it to others or even to themselves. This is where Gestalt therapy fits into my choice of theory involved with my therapeutic technique. My view of human nature would be that we are all driven by certain emotions that we go through in our everyday lives. For example, when someone is hungry and is being forced to be somewhere else than to be eating. This person is going to be in a bad mood and will not focus due to the need to eat. Also, our consciousness is what we show to the world. We are all born whole but change through each experience we go through. This is where our archetypes begin to come through. But, being that we are born whole, we are neither good nor bad but waiting to develop many personalities. We begin trying to fulfill our needs once we are born and continue throughout our lives. So when we do experience something good or bad, we can choose to forget it or keep it in our mind as a repressed memory. Meaning, if an experience was bad then we will try to fulfill it in another way. This basically leaves the person with unfinished business and will still be there until the person comes to terms with it.

Gestalt and Analytical Therapy: Analysis of the View of Human Nature in Counseling Theories

Two counseling theories that align with my view of human nature would have to be Gestalt therapy and Analytical therapy. Analytical therapy is getting the client to see who they really are. To come to terms with the fact that they have a certain role, not just the one that they are currently living with. Let them see their unconscious person that is being hidden or pushed away. This will allow them to notice what is causing their split or what is damaging their individual self. The overall goal of Analytical therapy is to get the person to become whole again. This is achieved by letting the person come face-to-face with their other self that has been pushed away or repressed. Gestalt therapy is where the counselor gets the client to acknowledge their unfinished business. To get this process going, the client must focus on the “now” to change their way of thought. The future counseling setting where I would apply my personal theoretical model to would be somewhere involved in clinical and mental health. Specifically, in the community of my hometown of Corpus Christi, TX. This setting would be anywhere from working with an agency, hospital, or my own private practice. The people that I would like to help would be anyone from children to adults. But the target population I would like to focus on would be children. From using my personal therapeutic model, I would help clients get a better understanding of themselves. How did they get to become who they are now and is it someone that they feel comfortable with being. From using certain techniques, I would hope to get them to reveal the hidden message through guidance. All the while, letting them be in control of the therapy to feel the accomplishment once they reach their own goals.

Hey Concepts and Counseling Techniques in My Theoretical Model

Four key concepts from my personal theoretical model are archetypes, complexes, holism, and unfinished business. Archetypes and complexes come from the psychodynamic approach of analytical therapy. Whereas holism and unfinished business stem from an existential humanistic approach of gestalt therapy. Starting with analytical therapy, my first concept is the archetype. The archetype is what makes us who we are as an individual. Neukrug states, if we have a tendency to always take care of others and provide nurturing then that would be a “mothering” archetype. This is not the only archetype that is known, there are many others but only four are important when embodying a person. These are known as the persona, who we happen to show to the outside world. The shadow, which is the opposite aspects of ourselves. The animus and anima, these are the feminine traits found in men (anima) and the masculine traits of women (animus). A man’s anima would enjoy gossiping with friends and attending musicals. Whereas a woman’s animus would always be competitive and wanting to take charge. Lastly, there is the self. The self is the part of ourselves that has become whole. Meaning, we have integrated all of our archetypes into one better human being. Complexes are created from the material or experiences that we repress and ties in with our energy from our certain archetypes. This basically creates our alter ego, the split personality, or worse the Mr. Hyde. There can be many complexes that are swaying the person. This is where complexes can compete for control in order to become the dominant persona. As Neukrug stated, “…the “bully” might get its psychic energy from the trickster and power archetypes”. My next two key concepts come from the existential humanistic approach through gestalt therapy. These concepts are holism and unfinished business. Neukrug mentions, “…holism means that all aspects of the individual, both internally and externally, are connected”. Meaning, there is nothing causing the person’s behavior. Like mentioned earlier about a person being hungry. If you have not eaten in all day, that need for food is going to drive you. Your body is going to react in unison with each other because of this lack of nourishment. Your stomach will tell you that it is hungry, you brain will switch only to thinking about food, your body will begin to react, and then comes your mood and responses. This is basically how a certain factor has control over us. We are all being driven to satisfy our overall need whatever that may be at the time. Lastly, unfinished business is where you leave a task undone and results in you feeling incomplete. This could range from any experience to you arguing with a person and not having discussed your issues together. Or like Neukrug mentions, having your emotions blocked off at a young age. This person was told not to cry at the loss of a loved one, and now he is in therapy due to having to change his fake persona. This therapeutic process will allow him to feel his hidden emotions to the fullest.

Four key counseling techniques that will be used in my personal theoretical model are active imagination, dream analysis, empathy, and focusing on nonverbal behaviors. Active imagination and dream analysis are both apart of the psychodynamic approach of Analytical therapy. Active imagination is where the counselor gets the client to imagine a scenario to bring forth their repressed memories. By using a fantasy or a dream, the client would be asked to find a specific piece that is always being seen. This is where they can begin to question as to why it is always there and if it is important. This allows the client to identify deep repressed emotions or thoughts. Active imagination would be used in my personal theoretical model in order to give the client control. It is up to them to come to terms with the hidden message and I, the counselor, would be there to guide them through this process. The second technique from Analytical therapy would be dream analysis. This technique allows the client to create a dream journal to keep track of their dreams. With this journal they will be able to explain and review them in therapy. It will be beneficial for the client due to them coming to terms about their self. Especially if there is a recurring theme that keeps showing up in the dreams. It could also show if this was a repressed memory or event that needs to be acknowledged, or the client has to come to terms with it. Empathy and focusing on nonverbal behaviors are from the Existential Humanistic therapy of Gestalt therapy. Empathy is somewhat frowned upon being that it sometimes slows down the process. But, I think it is an important technique being that it helps in gaining more insight to your client. It allows the client to feel congruency with you and be more open when discussing their thoughts and feelings. This of course will lead into you gaining more information from them and being able to understand. With a better understanding, I will be able to help the client through the therapeutic process. Focusing on nonverbal behaviors is getting the client to acknowledge their body movements. Meaning, our bodies hold all our unspoken words and issues that remain unresolved. For example, the text mentions a way of how someone’s nonverbal behavior is a hidden desire. Neukrug states, “For instance, a person who is tapping his foot is asked to “be the foot”, and to talk as if he is the foot. As he talks, he begins to say, “I’m trying to crush my father for the way he treated me””. Now this client just came out with his repressed emotions. But sometimes the client does not notice they are talking through nonverbal behaviors. This is why I would start by informing then asking a client to “talk to their fingers” or another body part. Simply because it is something that seems to not only happen when a topic of emotion comes up. People do not just shake or fidget for no reason. Well, some do but not as aggressively when something is bothering them. I would not throw the suggestion out abruptly; I would incorporate it into the session when the need arises.

Therapeutic Approaches and Techniques to Work With Clients 

The therapeutic process in my personal theoretical model while using psychodynamic approaches from the Analytical therapy would work to help the client become aware. For this to occur, I would guide the client by moving them from their consciousness to their personal unconsciousness, and then the collective unconsciousness. To achieve this goal, I would use the dream analysis like discussed earlier. I feel that dreams are important because of the way that they help the client understand certain aspects of themselves. It allows the client to bring their unconsciousness to the forefront. As for using dreams in my own therapeutic work, I could see myself incorporating them with journaling. That way clients can see similarities and differences between dreams that they are having. Some can have different meanings due to the day that they had or old experiences from the past. This will allow them to have something to discuss at the next meeting. The therapeutic process in my personal theoretical method while using Existential Humanistic Approaches from the Gestalt therapy would work to help the client to acknowledge their unfinished business. To get this process moving I will use Perls’ structure of neurosis. The client will be able to experience the therapeutic process through the five layers. First, I would get the client to notice what they are showing as socially acceptable. Show them that their “you” is wanting to achieve something that is being repressed. Whereas the other side of them is going with the flow of things or what they are used to. Then in the phony layer, the client will get to see where they are being phony in their lives or in front of certain people. They are acting and showing off one type of themselves but in all actuality, could be the total opposite. In the impasse layer, I would get the client to notice what they are saying. Hopefully by this time the client would be on the right path and already know the answer to their issue. If they did not understand or tried blaming myself for not providing the answer I would try to guide them. Meaning, I would get them to repeat what they said again, so they could actually hear themselves. In the implosive layer, which would be the next step when the client actually heard themselves say the answer. Or perhaps when the client came to terms with the truth that had been with them all along. Last, is the explosive/authentic layer where the client either experiences an emotion or they decide what they are going to do with their decisions.

There are four other approaches I would like to incorporate with two of the techniques mentioned before. That way children could get more use out of these types of therapies. These would be Sand Tray Therapy, sentence completion, drawing tests, and board games. Sand Tray Therapy would be open to both children and adults. I had mentioned previously that I would want to focus on nonverbal behavior in my technique of using Gestalt therapy. This would be an approach as to getting to understand the client better. Of course, after getting an intake on the client in a previous session. I would bring in miniatures that would fit accordingly to the client’s issue at hand. That way, when creating a scene, these miniatures would allow the client to form their thoughts out through a display. Timm & Garza explain, “…Gestalt therapist uses the client’s verbal and nonverbal reaction to images in the tray to increase depth and breadth of awareness of both accepted and negated aspects of self.” Carlberg, Thoren, Billstrom & Odhammar stated, “To facilitate and elaborate expressions of thoughts and feelings during the interview, the child was encouraged to draw freely…” I figured this would be another way to have children benefit from this therapy. As for using board games, I would be able to observe the child’s motives in the game which “…allows insight into his/her emotional dynamics.”  Social, cultural, and spiritual issues relevant to my personal theoretical model would not be a factor in my opinion. Simply because these types of issues have already been balanced or figured out. During the time these theories were being created, different issues were arising due to Jung and Perls’ beliefs. But, today some people do still have issues with the way the process works.

Gestalt and Analytical Therapy From Different Approaches

In this section I will describe the two theories and how each had social, cultural, and spiritual issues. First, I will describe the Gestalt therapy from the Psychodynamic Approaches. Second, will be the Analytical therapy from the Existential Humanistic Approach. Gestalt therapy has issues specifically dealing with social, cultural, and spirituality. Some people may find that this therapy uncomfortable. Simply due to the way it asks for them to experience certain aspects of their lives. Sometimes this goes against a person’s belief system. Another issue would be that the therapy asks for the client to “…challenge our ability to make contact with others and how we interact with others”. This would go against clients coming from a collectivist type of culture. Before beginning the process with any of my clients, I would explain the therapeutic process. That way the client will be able to know what is to be expected. This would be beneficial due to letting the client voice any comments or concerns they have. Socially, as much as people agree and enjoy gestalt therapy, others don’t. Some feminists find it beneficial due to being able to find parts of themselves that they thought they lost. Whereas spiritually, others believe it is not up to therapy to identify a lost self. If a part of you was lost, then that is the way it was supposed to be and did not belong. In order to prevent any issues, I would take into consideration my clients cultural embeddedness and work to help them. None of these issues apply to any of my beliefs so I do not see them being a problem for me. The only thing that I would focus on would be the overall wellbeing of my client. Analytical therapy has different issues as well, like some people find that Jung viewed men and women as dichotomous. That people are subject to change and cannot be labeled. His views on God were pretty similar, but he did not explain God as any certain type. He allowed the client to picture their own type of God and try to achieve to be that type of person. Same went with cultural aspects, he tried to let the therapy be applicable to all cultures. But, some people do not see it that way even though he explained that we are all connected through the common archetypes. As I mentioned before, these issues do not apply to any of my beliefs. Therefore, I do not have a problem with the type of therapies and would not impose my beliefs on a client either. My main purpose would be to just help the client find a way to work through this therapy. Their beliefs would not be judged and are welcomed to be discussed throughout the process. Efficacy of my personal theoretical model will show promise through the anticipated outcomes, changes, and progress for future clients. In the approach of Gestalt therapy, my efficacy will suffice through the anticipated outcomes. Meaning, being theatrical and risk-taking is something I see beneficial when it comes to using in counseling. It would reduce depression and anxiety while letting the client express themselves and get their feelings in the open. This is why I would use the empty chair and two chair technique. It would get the client prepared for discussing their feelings in front of others later in the process. It also helps the individual and/or group when measuring depth of experiences, shifts of awareness, and conflict resolutions. So, if the client decided on bringing in their family I would see that this approach would be effective. Simply because everyone would be allowed to express their emotions without feeling bad about it. Surely some would get afraid or even upset but this is good being that it will be beneficial to know where the other is coming from.

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Overall, it will allow for a certain cycle to stop by being yourself. But, if the client decided not to bring in their family and only wanted to keep it about themselves I would still help. This is where I would bring in different techniques like Feeding the Client a Sentence or “I Have a Secret.” Some clients may have issues with acknowledging certain aspects so this is where feeding them a sentence would come to play. Even though all clients are different, I would like this acknowledgment to be seen early in the therapeutic process. Reason being so that the client can feel proud of their new found self. As for the “I Have a Secret, this could be used like mentioned earlier in a group therapy. This would allow the client to speak their mind to others and stop hiding their real self. In the approach of Analytical therapy, my efficacy will avail through the anticipated outcomes. I would not push the client to hurry through this process being that it is Jungian therapy. I would reassure them that even though this process would take long I will be there to guide them along the way. It would be my goal to help the person grow as a person overall. Through this process I would want to understand the client’s psychological type through the behavior that they express. Also, to know what part of life they are in to determine the understanding of their personal and collective unconscious. This could possibly be a factor as to why they are wanting to receive counseling. From this, I would also want to know more about their life experiences and have them reflect. This would allow me to see if any of these experiences contributed to the formation of their complex. Like mentioned earlier, I would bring in the technique of dream analysis. Simply because it would be something for the client to bring in on the next session. It is also beneficial being that they will be able to notice any similarities or factors that stick out.

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Gestalt and Analytical Therapy: a Counseling View of Human Nature. (2023, July 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 17, 2024, from
“Gestalt and Analytical Therapy: a Counseling View of Human Nature.” GradesFixer, 03 Jul. 2023,
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