Contact and Resistance - Summary and Key Ideas

In 'Contact and Resistance: A New Approach to Gestalt Therapy', Gordon Wheeler intricately explores the concept of resistance in Gestalt therapy, challenging traditional approaches and offering new insights for individual and systematic interventions. The book delves into the works of Perls, Goodman, and other seminal thinkers, unveiling a critical understanding of contact and resistance within therapeutic contexts.

This book is aimed at practitioners in the field of psychology and psychotherapy, specifically those interested in or practicing Gestalt Therapy. Readers seeking to explore new perspectives on therapy, contact, and resistance will find deep insights in this book.

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Contact and Resistance

Key ideas


This work aims to evolve Gestalt therapy by integrating overlooked aspects of its foundational theory.

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Gestalt psychology asserts perception actively forms meaningful wholes, influencing consciousness and behavior.

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Perls pioneered Gestalt therapy, prioritizing physicality and aggression, but overlooked relational contexts.

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Gestalt therapy views neurotic disorders as creative, adaptive processes, focusing on present experiences.

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Gestalt therapy evolved, focusing on interpersonal relationships and broader societal contexts.

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Resistance isn't an obstacle but a form of contact requiring balance in self-organization.

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The ground is the underlying, enduring framework of a person's perceptions, relationships, and existential stances that shapes their experience of the world.

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Adressing the "Ground" is essential to enable profound psychological transformation beyond mere symptom management.

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The concept of the also Ground applies to organizations.

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Summary & Review

Final Summary: The book 'Contact and Resistance' by Gordon Wheeler, a clinician with many years of experience, explores the subconscious dynamics influencing human interactions, organizational issues, and their eventual influence on psychotherapy. He sheds light on the work of pioneers in the field of Gestalt therapy while venturing into the aspects of resistance and contact that form a reflexivity within the therapy model.

Gordon Wheeler

In his many years of clinical psychological practice, Gordon Wheeler studied systemic dynamics and organizational issues. He was a student of the successors of Perls and Goodman at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland and the successor of Lewin at the National Training Laboratory (NTL). Wheeler uses the Gestalt model in reference to Lewin's work to integrate intrapsychic, interpersonal, and systemic dynamics for change and transformation interventions. He is a member of the faculty of the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland, which he led for many years, and President of the Esalen Institute, Big Sur, California. In addition, he is editor of Gestalt Institute of Cleveland Press.

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