Since the 1970s, new therapeutic practices, involving the interaction between humans and dolphins - Tursiops truncatus in particular, have developed. Such practices are known as dolphin-assisted therapies (DAT), a specific case of a more heterogeneous set of experiences with dolphins called dolphin-assisted activities (DAA): these include programmes of dolphin watching and swimming in high seas, as well as shows in dolphinariums and marine parks. DAT has grown rapidly as a highly attractive form of therapy, due to the well-liked animals used in an aquatic, and often exotic, environment. This kind of co-therapy seems to testify the enchantement that dolphins - in myths and chronicles often reported in rescue at sea, perceived as especially charismatic - exert on people; the human attempt of bonding with them, possibly in response to the need of building a human-animal bodily intersubjectivity.
The current theory of social policy is characterized by considerable inconsistencies and analytical gaps. Disciplinary one-sidedness goes together with nontransparent and partially incompatible epistemological considerations. In this paper, it is shown that the Gestalt theory can be a sound starting point for the theory of social policy. Gestalt theory provides a groundwork for the selection of behavioral assumptions, the understanding of self-organization processes and the formulation of basic normative questions.
The international research on teams, which is inspired by the input-process-output model, is mostly empirical. Researchers in this field look for causal explanations between independent (e.g., team size and team composition) and dependent (e.g., team performance) variables. Recently, some critics have pointed to the deficits in this model. Especially, the temporal, contextual, and dynamic aspects of teams need to be investigated further (multilevel approach). Emergent states, such as team cognitions, team emotions, and team hierarchies, comprise a promising field of study that leads to a more comprehensive and holistic understanding of teams. These emergent states offer an opportunity to reconcile former concepts (Lewin’s gestalt, Koestler’s holarchy, and Cattell’s syntality) with topical team research. Therefore, the future of research on teams may partly lie in its past.
The author exemplifies the congruency of essential foundations between the critical realism of the Berlin School of Gestalt Psychology (Gestalt theory) and Nicolai Hartmann`s Critical Ontology. For instance, this congruency manifests in the importance given to critical-realistic epistemology - purified from idealistic prejudices, not least prejudices such as production-theoretical ones - connected with an unconditional phenomenology. Altogether, it results in a shared critical distance from scholars of Brentano, such as Husserl and Meinong, as well as from Neo-Kantianism.
The Society for Gestalt Theory and its Applications (GTA) is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The task of this article was to give a selection of gestalt theoretical research, which was created within the framework of the GTA. After a brief introduction to the theory, recent developments that have emerged since the founding of the Society and have found expression in the journal Gestalt Theory, as well as in many other publications, have been discussed. A number of contributions to the fundamental area could be cited: consciousness research, multifield approach, synergetics, language, development, and so on. The transfer of basic knowledge to a number of application-oriented disciplines, namely, psychotherapy, education, arts, culture, nation and society, organizations, and so on, has been presented. The article has shown that Gestalt theory has great relevance in both basic and application-related areas and can cover a wide range of issues.
A Multiple-Field-Approach to the Understanding of Human Experience
In 1915 the Danish psychologist Edgar Rubin describes in his famous work on figure-ground perception, the phenomenon that when you look attentively at a picture, a second, virtual ego arises, breaking away from the viewer-ego to wander around in the picture along the contours of the depicted. In 1982, German Gestalt psychologist Edwin Rausch expanded this observation of the emergence of a second phenomenal ego to the conclusion that not only does a second phenomenal ego emerge, but with it a second phenomenal total field, ie a second phenomenal world with its own phenomenal ego and an own phenomenal environment of this ego.
Several years ago, I proposed a multi-field-approach in psychotherapy building on this research. This approach involves three levels:
First, the level of phenomenological observation and psychological analysis of the conditions that determine the formation of such a second total field (and even further total fields), regardless of whether this occurs spontaneously or intentionally or as a result of external influences.
Second, the level of explanation of various psychic processes, which in the field of psychotherapy have been explained so far mainly on the basis of depth psychology, and the conceptualization of the therapeutic situation and therapeutic processes from a Gestalt psychological perspective.
Third, finally, the level of practical application of such insights on the development of appropriate procedures and interventions that can promote or defer the emergence of such second or multiple fields in psychotherapy.
The present article introduces the multi-field approach, especially at the first level, and refers to research and discussion on mind wandering, imagining, daydreaming and dissociation.
Education for Tolerance and Co-Responsibility in Freedom in the Scriptures of Kurt Lewin and Wolfgang Metzger
In this article, classical writings of Kurt Lewin (1890-1947) and Wolfgang Metzger (1899-1979) concerning education for democracy and tolerance are presented. Starting with a definition of „group” and the discussion of the meaning of groups for the individual life, especially the experimental studies of Kurt Lewin, Ronald Lippitt and Raph K. White in 1937/38 on different group atmospheres under the influence of „democratic” vs. „autocratic” vs. „laissez faire” leading style are presented again, in order to give an example for the meaning of atmosphere influences on personal development, creativity and aggression – all topics concerning actual school situations and the daily experience of pupils and teachers. The collection of writings concerning education for democracy and tolerance include some of Lewin’s writings on minority problems and Metzger’s fundamental thougts on political education as a special application of productive thinking in Wertheimer’s sense. Some possibilities of how to change prejudices and to develop tolerance in Lewin’s and Metzger’s sense are presented. As a conclusion, some ideas for actual school life and possibilities to make pupils tolerant and able to participate actively in a democratic society are developed.