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  • Author: Gerhard Stemberger x
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About the Ability to Be in Two Places at Once
A Multiple-Field-Approach to the Understanding of Human Experience

Summary

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.

Open access
Manifest Dream/Association Comparison: A Criterion to Monitor the Psychotherapeutic Field

Summary

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.

Open access
Manifest Dream/Association Comparison: A Criterion to Monitor the Psychotherapeutic Field (2nd part) Field Transformations: A Clinical Case

Summary

The present work focuses on the transformations of the psychotherapeutic field through the relationship dynamics that 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 both psychoanalytic and gestaltic 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 that develop in the course of the subsequent associations.

This is demonstrated and further elaborated in the second part of this paper 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 “manifest dream/associations comparison 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.

Open access