Serving as moderator for a fictional debate, what are questions and answers that can be asked to the therapist that believes in the Gestalt Therapy approach and Person - Centered approach as to how...

Serving as moderator for a fictional debate, what are questions and answers that can be asked to the therapist that believes in the Gestalt Therapy approach and Person - Centered approach as to how people become aware of psychological problems according to their perspective?

Asked on by monique06

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that a moderator between defenders of the Gestalt Therapy and and the Person Centered approach could develop some great questions and some intense clash between both thinkers.  Naturally, the moderator's questions would be able to initiate a debate where more questions and discussion points could emerge.  One of the first questions that could be posed would be how important the role of empathy and identification with the client. Gestalt Therapy does not posit as strong of a relationship is needed, while Carl Rogers and the person- centered approach insists on such a connection being present.  Building from this would be how important the role of the therapist is in assisting a client:  Do they provide answers or facilitate them for the client?  I think that the Gestalt therapist would argue that their job is to ensure that the client understands the importance of relationship in their pattern of being in the world.  Recognition of these associations and contexts becomes one of the important elements and functions of the therapist.  The person centered approach might not posit such an aggressive intervention from the counselor, who is more of a conduit of understanding that the client themselves must appropriate for themselves.

From this, another interesting discussion point can be who determines "the direction of movement" of therapy sessions. The Gestalt Therapist would be open to suggest that movement is determined by the professional, while their counterpart would suggest that it is up to the client.  Carl Rogers himself asserts this:  “Unless I had a need to demonstrate my own cleverness and learning...I would do better to rely upon the client for the direction of movement.”  Being able to really force the proponents of each therapy to discuss the relevance of their practices might be interesting.  For example, if confronted with someone who sought to do harm to themselves or others, how would each set of the therapy's ideals help?  It might be interesting to see where their fundamental approaches differ with the person centered approach focused on a wide array of revealing discourse from the individual, while the Gestalt approach would focus on the idea of examining specific relationships in the individual's world. This would revert back to how the Gestalt approach therapist would react to the particular situation and how the Client- centered practitioner might not do so.  These questions would bring out strong points of contention between both, forcing the moderator to balance both elements in exploring both paradigms of psychological assistance.

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