Saturday, October 14, 2006

figure/ground


a concept! it was great to be given a concept, with worksheets then play around with the idea in the room. it was great

the figure is what is in front, what has caught attention and the ground is EVERYTHING behind, beneath, around the figure. how simple!

focus on your screen right now. that is your figure. the table, your hands and eyes, the people around you, the noises, it is all the ground.

now carry it further to the therapy room (from either end). the client brings in a fight theyve had with a spouse. the fight is the figure, and the clients own history is the ground from which they will experience the fight. did the clients parents fight alot? was there alot of violence? do she and the spouse have a history of arguements leading to seperation? etc. etc. etc. all of this will color how much the fight affects the client.

now go even further. the client begins to sob when she mentions that her parents fought alot when she was younger, and she would hide. suddenly the parents are the figure... then the clients anxiety goes up from talking about that, and the anxiety becomes the figure as that is explored, how it feels in the body, etc.

someone said that this definition of gestalt was inadequate, but i like it

"what is, is
and one thing follows the other" (or something like that)

Song of the day: buffalo soldier- bob marley

6 comments:

Pesha said...

I was surprised by your last sentence since I was thinking what a good way to describe figure/ground in a counseling situation. An inadequate description? Maybe,I'm not a Gestalt therapist (simply an existential humanist), I don't know for sure. But it certainly is an insightful one. Is it inadequate to transform theory into something that can be understood? I don't think so, but some people must complicate concepts in order to feel better about themselves.

molly said...

no, not my description, but the polster quote after my description, one of the facilitators said some people thought the polsters definition 'what is, is etc.' was inadequate

Anonymous said...

Seems like life is "What is, is" There's a certain amount of control and a lot we are not in control of. (Pesha - I like your hebrew name. I had an Uncle Pena and Aunt Pesa whom I have fond memories of them and every time I see your name I think of them.)

molly said...

exactly. "what is, is" is refering to the ground, what we come to the situation with, what is out of our control, and "one thing follows another" refers to the changing figure, or what is taking up energy in the mometn

Pesha said...

I'm glad that the name brings up good memories for you. I always liked the name myself.

molly said...

and i like it that you guys are having this distant connetion :)

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