Contact and Change

It is common knowledge in the field of psychology that pain or neurosis is imbedded in fear.  Most psychotherapies attempt to identify the source of fear in the hope that by understanding it intellectually, we overcome it and then are cured.  However, it is my experience that analysis and understanding alone do not necessarily evoke change because life is relationship.  Kristnamurti explains it this way: “Nothing exists in isolation, and as long as the mind is seeking isolation, there must be fear…as long as thought is judging the fact as a observer, there must be fear.”  He goes on to clarify that thinking creates fear through verbalizations, symbols, images, and previous knowledge projected on to the fact out of which fear then arises.

Gestalt Therapy attempts to bring the relationship by which we become fearful into focus; it takes a look at how we create our fear.  It begins with the premises that much of our suffering is created in our heads, in the way we view things.  However, rather than finish there, GT encourages embodiment.   It asks us to “lose your mind, come to your senses” and explore the relationship between the “me” and the “not me” or that what is familiar and therefore integrated and that what is unfamiliar and strange – a bind that cannot be overcome through mere verbal or intellectual explanation, but must be experienced.  As Kristnamurti says: “Now what are we afraid of?  Are we afraid of a fact, or of an idea about the fact?  Please see this point.  Are we afraid of the thing as it is, or are we afraid of what we think it is?”  Gestalt Therapy helps by encouraging us to get in direct relationship or complete communion with the fact:  what feelings, sensations, and assumptions do we make about the very thing that we are afraid of?  In other words, coming face to face with it allows no room for explanation.  The fact is there and we deal with it…just as it is, uninterrupted, and often quite creatively!  This is what it means “to be in good contact” and this the model of health in Gestalt Therapy.

Quotes from Kristnamurti’s On Love and Loneliness.  Please see full reference in the Resources section.

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