Gestalt therapy emphasizes the significance of restoring the wholeness of a person’s disembodied parts to create integration and balance. These “disembodied parts” are the source of a person’s difficulties in life, and bringing awareness to this imbalance supports change. Perls is quoted by Seligman (2010) describing the human organism, “We have not a liver or heart. We are liver and heart and brain yet, even this is wrong – we are not a summation of parts but a coordination of the whole. We do not have a body, we are a body, we are somebody.” In Gestalt theory and practice, the body is a huge predictor of what is happening in the here and now and how the experience in counseling may translate into their behaviors in their everyday lives. Gestalt techniques use observable behaviors in the here and now to bring awareness to the client of their emotions and thoughts so that they can reconnect with their body. Gestalt theorists believe that all the qualities that a client needs to be successful are within, but they sometimes may need help. Through awareness and reconnecting with oneself in the here and now growth can occur.
Adlerian therapy addresses mind, body and spirit by focusing on the client as a whole. One way an Adlerian therapist emphasizes this practice is by using the in-depth assessment process that focuses on understanding all aspects of the individual. This includes their family constellation, their earliest childhood memories, an initial interview, and a lifestyle interview is conducted that provides “detailed information about the client’s current level of functioning and background leading up to the current distress” (Seligman 2010.) In the beginning stage of treatment the clinician will also seek to understand a client’s priorities and ways of behaving, faulty assumptions, and self-destructive thoughts that interfere with their work to accomplish their goals. The process is focused on how the client and therapist can collaborate to establish new insight, modify their distorted thinking and prepare themselves to initiate new ways of behaving and thinking.
It is so easy to get in the car, go somewhere, and not remember how you got there. We have all done it, perhaps while eating or texting, thank God you arrived safely! This is a small example of how we get into trouble as humans. We walk around existing, but remaining disconnected. We fear relationships, risks, opportunities, new experiences, change, differences, perhaps they may be seen as intrusions into our lives; but one day we may wake up scared and alone and wonder where all the years went. For me, I lived my life knowing I wanted more, knowing I was capable of more, but I existed unaware of how to tap into the resources that would sometimes just flow out of me. Little by little, I have been able to clear away the haze of emotions, false beliefs and unproductive ways of behaving to become more present, to become more of who I have truly am. Finding the connection to your mind, body and spirit is a powerful thing; from experience, I can understand how and why these theorists weaved these aspects into their theories. When a person gets closer and closer to being fully integrated or whole, there is little they cannot accomplish.