U F U A D Vol 15. No 2 - Gestalt Australia And New Zealand

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GESTALT JOURNAL OF AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALANDVol 15. No 2May 2019Volume 15 No 2 May 2019Editorial: A deeper fieldAlan Meara2Peer reviewed articleExtending Dialogical Existential Theory: ‘Living through’ anexperience together with psychotherapy as underlying relationalityDominic Hosemans4How wide is the field? Gestalt therapy, capitalism and the naturalworldSteffi Bednarek18Student section: Literature reviewsIndigenous Australian Peoples’ Social and Emotional Wellbeing(SEWB): Gestalt Therapy as a Potential AllyBarry Laing43Bereavement – An EvolutionBarbara Suess73Project reportwww.ganz.org.auGood GriefBarbara Suess96GANZ community Gathering/Hui, Sydney, May 2019. Expression ofgratitude.Leanne O’Shea105

Editorial Advisory BoardLinsey HowieRichie RobertsonGreer WhiteLeanne O’SheaBrenda LevienLayout & PrintingKwik Kopy, 242 Exhibition St, MelbourneThis Journal, which is owned and supported by GANZ (Gestalt Australia and New Zealand, Inc), anassociation of Gestalt practitioners, presents the written exploration of Gestalt concepts withinpsychotherapy practice, training and supervision. It publishes articles, book reviews and casestudies that focus on the discussion of current practices, research, organisational development anddynamics, community development, social and political domains and everyday life. The Journaloffers an opportunity to writers to express their passion for and understanding of the Gestaltparadigm. The Journal also invites writing that explores (or even challenges) the use of Gestaltprinciples within other theories and disciplines. Through theoretical, methodological, practical andexperiential approaches, with the rigour of a professional peer reviewed publication, the Journalencourages and fosters the growth and creativity of writers and provides a resource for anyoneinterested in discovering more about themselves and others through this rich perspective.PublicationThe Journal is published twice-yearly, in May and November.ContributionsWe welcome articles, case studies, literature reviews, critiques of theory and methodology,research, senior Gestalt trainee’s projects and assignments. All contributions will be peer reviewedtwice and will reflect or add to an understanding of Gestalt theory and methodology or practice.Guidelines for Contributors can be found in the back pages of the Journal. Further enquiries may bemade directly to the Editors. The views and comments expressed by the writers in this journal aretheir own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Editors, the Editorial Board or the GANZcouncil, nor is responsibility taken for the accuracy of statements made by contributors.CopyrightThe copyright of any articles contained in the Gestalt Journal of Australia and New Zealand remainswith the author, with permission to be reprinted or reproduced in any form vested in Gestalt Australia and New Zealand Inc. through the Journal’s Editors.Journal CorrespondenceAdministration:GANZPh/Fax: 61 3 9010 5501E: contact@ganz.org.auPO Box 398FAIRFIELD VIC 3078 AUSTRALIAEnquiries to the Editors:ozgjeditor@ganz.org.au The Council of Gestalt Australia and New ZealandGESTALT JOURNAL OF AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALANDEditorAlan MearaGuidelines for ContributorsSubmission and preparation of manuscripts for publicationThe Editors welcome submissions from the Association’s members, students and trainers fromGestalt Institutes and Centres and from writers outside the association with an interest in the fieldof Gestalt practice and theory. The Editors are available to consider your ideas for submission andto answer questions about the submission process. We are committed to supporting writing in thisregion, and encourage enquiries from all aspiring contributors no matter what stage you may be at.All contributions are to reflect (or challenge) Gestalt theory or practice and will be peer reviewedtwice. Submissions may be sent by email to: ozgjeditor@ganz.org.auSubmissions must follow the forms outlined in the writer’s guide www.ganz.org.au/writersguide.html, and comply with the APA style guide. See www.ganz.org.au/style-guide.htmlVol 13. No 1Following submission, constructive feedback will be given to contributors. Submitters can expectsome suggestions to refine their article in readiness for publication and the Editors are availablefor support with this process and to answer questions or concerns.Journal SalesPlease direct enquiries to: ozgjeditor@ganz.org.auFor non-members of GANZ:Annual subscriptions (two issues):(Aus) 60.00 3.00 p&p(NZ) 65.00 4.00 p&pBack copies (where available):Australia 35.00 2.00 p&pSingle issue:Bulk orders (6 ) 25.00 per issue(p&p to be advised)New Zealand 37.50 2.00 p&p 27.50 per issue.For orders from outside Australia and New Zealand, packing and postagecosts (AUD) as advised.AdvertisingThe Gestalt Journal of Australia and New Zealand is issued twice a year andprovided to members of GANZ and to Training Institutes and Centres.Advertising will be accepted for conferences, books, writers’ groups andother journals.Quarter page (5cm wide x 8.2cm high) 80 (Aus)Half page (10.3cm wide x 8.2cm high) 150 (Aus)Full page (10.3cm wide x 16.8cm high) 300(Aus)Prices include GST.Full payment must be received prior to publication. Copy is to be emailedas an attachment to ozgjeditor@ganz.org.au, and a hard copy with your cheque made out toGANZ Inc. and addressed to:GANZ Journal Advertising, PO Box 398 Fairfield VIC 3070, AustraliaClosing dates are:May issue – 1 March, November issue – 1 September.

Gestalt Journal of Australia & New ZealandVol 15 No 2 May 2019CONTENTSEditorial: A deeper fieldAlan Meara2Peer reviewed articleExtending Dialogical Existential Theory: ‘Living through’ anexperience together with psychotherapy as underlying relationalityDominic Hosemans4How wide is the field? Gestalt therapy, capitalism and the naturalworldSteffi Bednarek18Student section: Literature reviewsIndigenous Australian Peoples’ Social and Emotional Wellbeing(SEWB): Gestalt Therapy as a Potential AllyBarry Laing43Bereavement – An EvolutionBarbara Suess73Project reportGood GriefBarbara Suess96GANZ community Gathering/Hui, Sydney, May 2019. Expression of 105gratitude.Leanne O’Shea

Gestalt Journal of Australia and New Zealand 2019, Vol 15 No 2 Pages 2-3. 2019, GANZ.Editorial: A deeper field.Alan MearaAs I look out my window onto a hilly urbanised environment with a varietyof trees illuminated by a setting sun, there are many points my attention couldbe attracted to – a particular leaf, a telephone pole and so on. Figures, andeach time, the ground fades. I could also view the panorama, a relatively widefield, yet somewhat flat as if a high definition, wide screen photograph. If Irelax my eyes, the world emerges in terms of depth – trees, houses, flutteringbirds, roads, hills, and the horizon. This experience is different and bodilyengaging. According to Steinbock (1987, p. 336), “Depth, Merleau-Pontywrites, is ‘the most existential dimension,’ the dimension of dimensions’;it is the sine qua non’ of the world and being.” He also notes that depth wasessential for pursuing and expressing a novel, radical ontology. In the termsof that ontology, sometimes called “flesh”, the world I see is also seeing me.I invite readers to consider how each article might be a leaf, the whole Journala panorama, and relax into sensing an underlying landscape of themes, adeeper field.Dominic Hosemans begins by drawing parallels between the principles ofexistential dialog and a Japanese philosophical concept ‘internal and externalrelations’ with particular relevance to ‘inclusion’ and the ‘in-between’.Hosemans argues that these principles are insufficient to lead to ‘I-thou’He then proposes ‘living through’ is necessary, reviewing the recent workof Richard Grossman a relational psychoanalytic psychotherapist, whoadvocates ‘companioning the client’, especially where a client struggleswith verbal expression. He offers a thoughtful and reflective extensive casestudy concerning a child who had experienced complex relational traumato illustrate this approach.Steffi Bednarek engages with a wide field, stimulated by concerns regardingsocietal responses to climate change, and the role of psychotherapy incontributing to those responses. This is a topical issue, which she notes,acknowledging that there have been some initiatives within the Gestaltmovement, but calls for examination of unconscious biases in our theoryand practice. Bednarek addresses these in relation to anthropocentrism,individuality, materiality, privatisation, growth, progress and a lack of acosmological perspective. She also examines concepts of mental health andextending ‘the other’ beyond individuals to the ‘more than human’ world.Barry Laing provides a thorough and respectful review of the literature onindigenous health care, particularly policies and principles related to the2

EditorialSocial and Emotional Wellbeing (SEWB) framework in Australia. He alsoexamine literature to support the proposition that Gestalt therapy couldbecome an ally in providing more collaborative culturally appropriate healthservices that is less focussed on the individual in isolation. He argues thatGestalt therapy’s dialogical and phenomenological approach is identifiedas an ethical and political stance that may contribute to radical inclusionand social change via social activism. Public discussions during the recentNational Reconciliation Week would seem to support much of his criticalanalysis.Barbara Suess explores the literature on differences between bereavementand grief and how attitudes to bereavement in particular and therapeuticpractices and theories have changed over time. She also describes the varietyof cultural views on bereavement, and the history of what death means,which become more pertinent in our contemporary multicultural society. Inparticular Suess challenges a generic ‘letting go’ stages approach as opposedto a more Gestalt oriented support for the bereaved engaging in presentexperiences in an ongoing relationship, without the therapist’s alignmentto any particular culture, religion, or philosophy.Suess’ second paper in this issue, reports on a project that aimed to testsome of the findings in her literature review. She presents an analysis ofa small set of interviews with bereaved people from different or mixedcultural backgrounds. Suess found that the actual felt experiences of theinterviewees seemed more similar rather than being diversely affected bycultural backgrounds. She acknowledges limitations of the study and includesreflections on her own experience.The experimental Gathering/Hui that has been promoted in the Journalin recent editions has had quite a positive response from participants, asexpressed by in an expression of gratitude from the President of GANZ.Many action groups were formed and an overarching statement of the heartproduced.ReferencesSteinbock, A. J. (1987). Merleau-Ponty’s concept of depth. PhilosophyToday, 31(4), 336-351.3

Gestalt Journal of Australia and New Zealand 2019, Vol 15 No 2 Pages 4-17. 2019 GANZ.Extending Dialogical Existential Theory:‘Living through’ as underlying I-ThouDominic HosemansAbstractDialogical Existentialism is one of the pillars of relational gestalttherapy. Dialogical existentialism rests upon the ideas of inclusion, presence,confirmation, as well as surrendering to the inter-subjective space. Thecurrent article extends the idea of dialogical existentialism through aJapanese philosophical lens of internal and external relations. Within thiscontext, it is discussed that dialogical existentialism is a necessary but notsufficient condition for the experience of an I-thou moment. Additionally, itis discussed that ‘living through’ an experience with a client is the outcomeof developing the conditions underlying dialogue. Therefore, it is arguedthat ‘living through’ an experience with the client in psychotherapy is thesufficient condition in order to experience an I-thou moment. Finally, the ideaof ‘living through’ an experience with the client in the therapeutic situationis highlighted through an extensive case study with a young girl who hadexperienced complex relational trauma.Key words: relational gestalt therapy, dialogical existentialism, inclusion,living through an experience, internal and external relations.Beyond Dialogical Existentialism: ‘Living through’ as underlyingI-ThouDialogical existentialism, as defined by Mackewn (2013, p. 81)is an “interaction between two people when there is a desire to genuinelymeet the other person”. Dialogic relating does not necessarily need to occurthrough the exchange of words, but can also occur through play, laugher,and silence. Essentially, dialogical existentialism refers to being present toanother’s human-ness in whatever way that expresses itself in the moment.In this way, as indicated by Sabar (2013), dialogic existentialism is situatedwithin the field of the client.Yontef (2002) described four conditions necessary within dialogicalexistentialism, which include inclusion, confirmation, presence, andsurrendering to the ‘in-between’. Although not discussed at any length bytheorists on dialogic existentialism, inclusion is potentially in a hierarchical4

Extending Dialogical Existential Theory: ‘Living through’ as underlying I-Thourelationship with the other three conditions. Inclusion entails being able tosense the client’s phenomenological experience without losing a sense ofone’s own phenomenology in the process. Without having a sense of oneselfwithin the therapeutic situation, there is no center of gravity from which toconfirm the other, be present to their experience, or to be available to theinter-subjective space.Internal RelationsInclusion can also be further explored through an understanding ofthe Japanese philosophy of external and internal relations (Kasulis, 2019).Both internal and external relations refer to different ways of relating betweenphysical entities, ideas, social structures, or people. External relations refer toa potentially third object or idea that connects the initial two. Within internalrelations, the relating force is not external but overlapping, interrelating thetwo. In the context of psychotherapy, external relations sees the client andtherapist relate through dialogue in terms of an abstract concept, removedfrom their embodied and phenomenological experience of being-in-theworld. On the other hand, within internal relations, the two are interrelatingby virtue of how they overlap, or rather through their shared humanness andexistentially lived experience within the ogueClientTherapistClientABCFigure 1. Internal and external relations in the context of psychotherapy.Adapted from “Japanese Philosophy,” by T. Kasulis, 2019, StanfordEncyclopaedia of Philosophy. Copyright 2019 by Stanford University.The idea of internal and external relations is made clearer throughan illustration. As indicated in Figure 1A, through external relating, the clientand therapist relate through dialogue that is essentially abstracted from one’sphenomenological experience, something more akin to cognitive therapies.Next Figure 1B illustrates empathy, where through dialogue, the therapistexperiences the client’s phenomenological experience to the detriment of5

Gestalt Journal of Australia and New Zealand 2019, Vol 15 No 2 Pages 4-17. 2019 GANZ.their own internal experience; in other words, feeling the client’s experiencewithout being impacted due to losing the integrity of their own psychicboundaries. In such a situation, there is no opportunity for confirmation,presence, or surrendering to the in-between, due to the therapist ultimatelysurrendering his or her own experience in exchange for the client’s. Each ofthe conditions underlying dialogical existentialism requires a strong centerof gravity within oneself that can be perpetuated outwards.Internal relations, as indicated in Figure 1C, demonstrates theidea of inclusion, both therapist and client retain the integrity of theirphenomenological experience whilst sharing their inter-related humannessthrough dialogue. Only through retaining the integrity of one’s psychicboundaries is it possible for the therapist to be present and confirm the otheras well as surrender to the inter-subjective space. The meeting at the contactboundary, where both client and therapist overlap in their human experienceof being-in-the-world, is what Buber (2010) potentially means through thenotion of I-thou.I-ThouTherapistDialogueClientI-ItFigure 2. I-Thou as internal relations through dialogical existentialismThus, the conditions of inclusion, presence, confirmation, andsurrendering to the inter-subjective space are necessary but not sufficientto experience an I-thou moment. These same conditions are necessary for‘living through’ an experience with the client, which in itself is a necessaryand sufficient condition for experiencing an I-thou moment. As indicated in6

Extending Dialogical Existential Theory: ‘Living through’ as underlying I-ThouFigure 2, the idea of internal relations provides theoretical insight into howthe conditions underlying dialogical existentialism are necessary for ‘livingthrough’ an experience with the client; which in turn is a necessary andsufficient condition for experiencing an I-thou moment. As also illustratedin Figure 2, the therapist osculates between I-it and I-thou, as the former isthe foundation in which the latter can arise. I-it facilitates in establishing thecenter of gravity within oneself, as only through such can the conditions ofI-thou arise.Implications for change in PsychotherapyWithin the context of therapy, Mackewn (2013) indicates thatchange does not arise within either the client or therapist, but within theinter-subjective space between both individuals. As the inter-subjective spacechanges over time, those attending to the co-constructed space internalisethe change. In order for this change to be internalised by both the client andtherapist, both must ‘live through’ the change of the inter-subjective spacetogether.The idea of change as being a function of the inter-subjectivespace, which is then internalised by both client and therapist, indicates theimportance of the paradoxical theory of change (Beisser, 1970). The desireto move the client out of the phenomenological space at any given momentimplicitly assumes that change occurs within the client alone, and thereforeacts to reject the inter-subjective nature of contact. The object of therapy,then, is not to pursue change in the client, but rather to ‘live through’ anexperience together in the therapeutic situation. Change within both the clientand therapist is a secondary outcome of this experience of togetherness orrather relationality. Therapy then can be understood as a ‘living through’ ofthe relationship together.The Meaning of ‘Living Through’ an ExperienceRobert Grossmark has written a revolutionary book “TheUnobtrusive Relational Analyst” that reconceptualises and further developsideas enhancing Gestalt theory and practice, such as the notion of ‘beingwith’, the therapeutic space between, and relationality. Although written to anaudience of psychoanalytic psychotherapists in mind, the ideas postulated byGrossmark are just as relevant to Relational Gestalt therapists, as describedbelow.Grossmark (2018) indicates that therapeutic healing occurs by‘living through’ the client’s phenomenological experience. The ‘livingthrough’ is important as the more damaged self-stated of an individual cannot7

Gestalt Journal of Australia and New Zealand 2019, Vol 15 No 2 Pages 4-17. 2019 GANZ.be verbally expressed and therefore can only be experienced together ratherthan through dialogue. For this reason, he argues that the focus within thetherapeutic situation needs to move away from the content expressed by theclient. The focus, rather, needs to be on the

Gestalt therapy’s dialogical and phenomenological approach is identified as an ethical and political stance that may contribute to radical inclusion and social change via social activism. Public discussions during the recent National Reconciliation Week would seem to support much of his critical analysis.

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