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How does incompletion define trauma?
Consider how overwhelm can result in a figure of incompletion. This might stem from some reaction to a situation that interrupts one’s taking the needed action to arrive at a completion of a projected figure — a more positive outcome of some sort. The resultant figure is imbued with frustration as it begs for completion. We then carry this frustration through life in the face of certain challenges and our ability to more effectively deal with such situations becomes compromised. This, in essence, is the result of a gestalt we call “trauma,” a situation that is clearly not wanted, and yet, for whatever reasons, is unfortunately not prevented!
When this occurs, we are left with pieces of a puzzle that we can’t readily put together. As we take on the task of the situation at hand and attempt to move in a direction toward completion, we are somehow interrupted or frustrated. The result is an incomplete gestalt. We are left with feelings associated with something not accomplished. Until we can manage these leftovers and arrive at some sense of completion, we will experience a sense of being stuck with a feeling of “ill-resolve.” The result of this somewhat amorphous trap is generally some form of FRUSTRATION!
A properly designed experiment would be one that involves access to adequate resources to manage and hopefully alleviate such frustration. The focus of this presentation will be on realizing the nature of such resources and how they can be accessed and utilized to relieve the sense of overwhelm and frustration of trauma by supporting a figure that could have resulted in a different gestalt!
Frank Bosco, MA, BC-MT, LCAT, LMT, RPP, SEP, is a body-oriented music psychotherapist and a former president of NYIGT. He began working with Gestalt principles in music psychotherapy in the late 1970s in various hospital settings while studying at NYU. At the same time, he got a license in massage therapy and began exploring various approaches to body-oriented psychotherapy, such as the work of Wilhelm Reich and neo-Reichians like Alexander Lowen (Bioenergetics) and later Stanley Keleman. Throughout the 1980s, he worked in private practice, where he began incorporating and then later teaching East/West philosophies and practices along with Ericksonian hypnosis in an eclectic therapy approach called Polarity Therapy. In the mid-1990s, he began studying Peter Levine’s Somatic Experiencing approach to trauma in the first New York–based training and was impressed by how much this new approach employed theories and practices that were consistent with those of Gestalt therapy.
Frank has been teaching and leading music therapy groups at NYU since 1990 and elsewhere since 1981. He has had a mind/body and music therapy center (Sound Health Studio) in New York City since 1990. He has a handful of chapters related to pain, trauma, and Gestalt in music therapy, one of which has been republished in the book The New York Institute for Gestalt Therapy in the 21st Century.