Theoretical Orientation

*Most people would name my psycho-theoretical orientation as Humanistic Gestalt. Philosophically, I am clearly an existentialist.

Below are two assumptions on my which psychotherapeutic theory is based. It does not matter to me if these assumptions are universal truths or merely two of my many illusions. They are premises for which I will bridge no argument. I insist on holding to them. If I discover they are false, I will continue on as if they are true, because otherwise I want out of the profession and off the planet. Here they are:

  • That although perceptions and thinking may be distorted, dysfunctional, or survival-oriented and therefore ill-suited for civilized living in community, the basic purpose of every part of a person’s personality and every action he takes, is for the perceived benefit of the organism and is therefore positive in intent.
  • That no matter what a human being is doing and no matter how irrational or dysfunctional he appears to the external observer, each person is moving toward the resolution of his developmental, existential, and traumatic psychological issues.

Below are some of my guesses. I behave as if these are beliefs, but really they are more like major suspicions.

  • That each part of an organism is like a hologram of the whole organism. That every behavior, large or small, is a metaphor for the world within.
  • That when any human is fully connected to himself-in-the-moment, acknowledging and allowing his organism’s natural flow, a window of opportunity is created through which, if he steps, he can re-own abandoned parts of himself, resolve unresolved traumas, complete unfinished gestalts on the human developmental continuum, or finish interrupted existential tasks.
  • That the concept of “resolution” is neither positive nor negative, forward nor backward.
  • That a psychotherapist needs no other intervention than to maintain unconditional positive regard for the client within a frame of unconditional respect for herself. That, given enough time, in such a container of safety and celebration, humans are naturally inclined to unfold and heal themselves psychologically.
  • That within the parameters of the psychotherapy, a person regresses to something akin to a open, child-like state, not only for the working through of the transference, but because that state is where learning occurs.
  • That the introjection of the illusion of absolute positive external regard is necessary to the development of any psyche moving toward being a fully functioning Self.
  • That although change is inevitable, people generally do not change willingly until they are too uncomfortable being the way they are. That (paraphrasing Jay Haley) the first moment a person perceives himself as okay just the way he is, is the first moment he can consider changing the way he is.
  • That the full celebration of Self is a lifepath, both a destination and totally attainable in this moment.
*Psychotherapy In Process, Supervision Issues ©1993, Carol L Hadlock
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