The present paper introduces the theoretical conceptualization of perceptual communication through expressive qualities. Initially, the difference with respect to the modality of perceptual communication mediated by signs is analyzed. Conversely, the theory of expressive qualities reflects the psychological conception of direct perception: any assumption of a cognitive stage of representation is excluded. Perceptual communication immediately expresses the specific character of the structural essence of the object. The structural essence is well studied by the perceptual paradigms of Experimental Phenomenology. Plurivocity, the case in which the same objects can share many expressive characters, is also considered.
Michael W. Stadler
The present article is a partly ontological, partly Gestalt-psychological discussion of the thinkability of structures in which parts and whole are interdependent (MI). In the first section, I show that in the framework of E. Husserl’s formal part–whole ontology, the conceptualization of such an interdependence leads to (mereo)logical problems. The second section turns to and affirms the experience of this interplay between parts and whole, exemplified with B. Pinna’s recent research on meaningful Gestalt perception. In the final section, I take the experienceability of MI as a justification to suggest a way of rethinking it. This entails an implementation of the process of foregrounding and backgrounding displayed by reversible figures and originally described by E. Rubin. This can avoid both an identity relation between parts and whole and their mutual exclusion as well as hierarchization due to their apparent differences. It would also guarantee the inherent dynamics of interdependence.
Nicolai Hartmanns Critical Ontology and the Critical Realism of the Berlin School of Gestalt Psychology
A Fictional Dialogue about an Unwritten Dissertation
Hans-Jürgen P. Walter
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.
Giancarlo Trombini, Anna Corazza and Gerhard Stemberger
The present work focuses on the transformations of the psychotherapeutic field through the relationship dynamics which occur within it.
The first part of this article starts with a brief outline of the Gestalt psychological understanding of the field concept, also in its application to the psychotherapeutic situation, followed by a brief review of the introduction of the field concept into the psychoanalytic theory formation.
After this, the first author first presents the theoretical concept underlying a new approach he has developed for observing the relationship dynamics in psychotherapy. Mirroring a formation of both psychoanalytic and Gestalt theory of the main author, this new approach is based on the combination of psychoanalytic and Gestalt psychological concepts. According to the clinical experience and insights of the author, the phenomenological and relational approach of Gestalt theory fits well with the psychoanalytic approach; on this basis, a criterion for recording the progress of therapy can be developed. This criterion is the phenomenology of the development of the qualities of the relationships of the client, as they become visible in his dream narrations and the subsequent associations in the analysis room and continue to develop during the session and the further course of therapy. The relationship dynamics in the dream narration is thus compared with those which develop in the course of the subsequent associations.
This is demonstrated and further elaborated in the second part of this article on the basis of a clinical case. The clinical example shows how the relationship dynamics develop in this sense in the individual therapy sessions and over a longer course of therapy. The associated transformations of the therapeutic field give a good indication of the progress of therapy.
The main author gained such insights into the transformations of the therapeutic field and the progression of therapy, which are visible in the course of therapy, from the careful application of the criterion “MDAC of relational dynamics”. In the specific case, there was also a high degree of correspondence between the results of the application of this phenomenological criterion and the empirical evidence of the symptom questionnaire, a self-report measure requested by the patient himself during the course of the therapy.
Silvia Bonacchi and Fiorenza Toccafondi
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.