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Taking inspiration from how psychoanalysis was successfully applied to art and art theory, film, literature, literary studies, and cultural studies over the course of its history, in this presentation, I would like to explore how Gestalt therapy can be applied to works of art, including literature, music, film, drama, and cultural phenomena in general, be it in the experiencing and understanding of cultural phenomena like art or their creation. We will look at:
- How do we contact works of art?
- How do Gestalt therapy concepts like the cycle of contact, the different contact functions, awareness, field, etc., play out in our contacting art?
- Can we apply Gestalt concepts like figure and ground, polarities, and unfinished business to works of art and their form, content, and structure?
- What place might Gestalt experiments, dreamwork, and Gestalt “techniques” have in understanding art?
- How can the process of creating art and artistic creativity be understood from a Gestalt point of view?
- Can Gestalt therapy be applied to cultural (including social and political) phenomena in general, and how so?
Hilmar Schmiedl-Neuburg, PhD, is a philosopher and psychotherapist. He received his PhD in philosophy at the University of Kiel in Germany, and graduated as a Gestalt therapist from the four-year program of GSK Werkstatt Nord in Germany. He received additional training at other Gestalt institutes in Frankfurt and Cologne, and also trained in psychoanalysis. For over 10 years, he worked as a Gestalt therapist in part-time private practice and taught in the Philosophy Department of the University of Kiel. After his habilitation and visiting professorships in Hamburg, Prague, and Vienna, currently, he is a faculty member in the Philosophy Department at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Additionally, he serves as an Adjunct Lecturer for Humanistic and Existential Psychotherapy at the Medical School Hamburg. He is the director of the Institute for Philosophy, Psychoanalysis, and Cultural Studies in Berlin, and is on the faculty of the John-Rittmeister-Institute for Psychoanalysis in Kiel. His publications focus on continental philosophy as well as humanistic-existential and psychodynamic therapy.