very well, and then doing what feels right. By not pushing for self-
change, Gestalt therapists help each client find his/her unique barriers
to self-improvement. Once the emotional barriers are known, the
problem resolves itself. (I believe they have a point, but we still need
methods for getting in touch with our conflicting parts and unfinished
To increase your awareness of three "worlds" where your
consciousness spends time: the outside world, the inner world
of feelings, and another inner world of plans, memories, and
To help you recognize the pockets of "unfinished business" in
your garbage bag, so you become more rational and effective.
To teach you some techniques for gaining greater awareness of
unconscious feelings and needs. Gestalt therapy is not
technique-oriented, it is process-oriented. But there are
techniques or "experiences" which aid the process of insight
STEP ONE: What is the focus of your awareness? Becoming more
aware of the full range of experiences possible in the here and now.
You realize, of course, that hundreds of things are available for
you to attend to at any moment: sensations from all your senses,
observing the environment or your actions or emotions, having
fantasies, memories, plans and many other thoughts. You notice very
little of all that is available. This selection process is instantaneous,
constant, and mostly unconscious. Let's see if we can clarify for you
what you tend to focus on...and what you exclude from awareness.
Begin by observing what you become aware of during two minutes
of "quiet time," i.e. no TV blaring, no loud music, no one nude walking
by, no pressing physical needs, no demands to decide what to eat for
supper, and so on. If you need a little structure, then say to yourself,
"At this moment, I'm aware of..." or "Here and now, I notice...."
Please, do this exercise (two minutes) before reading on.
Now, ask yourself: Which of the three possible worlds did I focus
on the most? (1) Cognitive world: inside your head--thoughts,
fantasies, problems, plans for future, remembering the past, etc. Did
you rehearse dealing with some situation? (2) Affective world: inside
your body--physical sensations, emotions, and feelings. Did you notice
your physiological responses, such as heart rate, nervousness, muscle
tension or twitches, tiredness, upset stomach, sweating, etc.? (3)
Outside world: the environment--sounds, sights, temperature,
observation of events or other people. Did you attend to distant
noises, to objects you had previously overlooked? Which world did you
focus on the least?