Analyzing Theories

Topics: Existentialism, Gestalt psychology, Søren Kierkegaard Pages: 6 (1790 words) Published: June 18, 2013
Analyzing Counseling Theories
Part 1: Chart
Theory 1: Existential TheoryTheory 2: Gestalt Theory
Background Theory

Arose from the philosophic roots of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Camus, and Sarte •Gained an audience within the post WWII European community •Philosophers of this period developed a perspective reflecting the realities of their harsh existence •People saw death as the core even permeating their existence based in reality •Kierkegaard perused scientific truth from the landscape of the human perspective •Kierkegaard believed our greater problems were due to a lack of passion, love, and commitment •Kierkegaard was convinced that the goal of pure objectivity was not only unattainable, but was also undesirable and immoral •Kierkegaard had the revelation that, unless science is examined in a rational context, truth is not possible •Heidegger believed theories and humans were imperfect, and an objective reality was not reality at all •Existence is only understood

Heidegger’s idea that each choice represents the loss of an alternative. The past becomes important in terms of lost opportunity. Freedom to choose, but balance with responsibility •All existentialists have a deep respect for the individual struggle “to be” •The third force of counseling arose as an answer to the limitations of the Freudian and behaviorist approaches •Positive aspects of a humanistic approach were missing from Freudian and behavioral theories •Humanism was the initial paradigm

Existentialism built on the respect for the individual and added the dimensions of ontology, experiential awareness, and responsibility •Has roots in contemporary religious thought
Evolved to an approach helping people cope with the uncertainty and complex pressures of their livesFritz Perls (born in 1893 and received medical degree in 1920) is generally credited for being the foremost practitioner. •Fritz methods were influenced by Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Kohler, Kurt Koffta, and Sandor Ferenczi •Differences between Gestalt theory and Gestalt psychology are that the former is concerned with perception and cognition while the latter focuses on personality, psychopathology, and psychotherapy. •“Gestalt” is a German term used to define unique patterning in which the parts are integrated into the perceptual whole •Three parts to the definition: “a thing, its context of environment, and the relationship between them” and “connotes the structural entity which is both different from, and much more than, the sum of its parts” •Pearl moved to South Africa where he shed the Freudian psychoanalytic influence •1946 he moved to the states and established several Gestalt Institutes •Lori Pearl was an important influence in the Gestalt Therapy •Paul Goodman is considered the chief theoretician by many people •Influences in Gestalt Theory- Phenomenology, Existentialism, and Field Theory. Writings of famous philosophers and therapists •Basic principles from psychoanalytic theory, humanistic theories, and Reichian body therapy. Human Nature

Rollo May was the first to propose an existential developmental model moving from a naïve stage to innocence, to adolescent rebellion and struggle, to conventional ascribing to tradition, and then finally moving beyond the ego and self-actualizing •We grow as we become more mindful and reflective of our present condition, regardless of the developmental time fame •No discrete stages, but core existentialism concerns help to promote health and further development •Not addressing core concepts cause individuals to become “stuck” and develop mental health problems •Realistically optimistic about human nature

See death and aging as the ultimate opportunity to grow
Gaining understanding about the meaning of life and taking responsibility for one’s life serve to influence and inspire our development •Process of development is characterized by anxiety, for which death is the primary cause •...
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