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The person being therapist suggested an experiment: for the rest of the duration of the experiment, I could only take a maximum of 3 seconds to think before responding.
They would hold the time boundary and demand I respond if it got to 3 seconds.
This was a very uncomfortable experiment for me, bringing me into contact with shame and anxiety. Most importantly, it was an effective learning experience because it generated emotionally charged insights.
This is gestalt at its most here and now, when the current moment is itself the power source driving the therapy session.
”, and most people, most of the time, would probably agree there is wisdom to that statement.
This kind of experimentation has its roots in behavioural therapy, and usually has the aim of increasing the versatility of a person’s behavioural range. Where a behavioural therapy would say, “you are unable to respond in less than 3 seconds, so here’s an exercise for getting better at that”, gestalt therapy says, “you are unable to respond in less than 3 seconds, isn’t that curious?
But even this isn’t the lesson for a gestalt therapist. Let’s experiment with that and see what’s going on”.
I gain response-ability, and even if I shrug and let that awareness slip away again, that’s a choice I have made. In their own words, the PCU aims to: I’m particularly pleased to see issues like diversity in the profession, and campaigning against “benefits therapy” included in the list.
Generally speaking, I find it to be good practice to spend some time contemplating what I to do with what comes into my awareness; some discoveries come before their time and need to be let go. This is an exciting development, emerging out of the pull many psychotherapists and counsellors feel towards some kind of activism.
This gives rise to the problem of thinking for too long, and never speaking as a result.