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Theoretical ideas that animate our clinical work need to be reexamined and refreshed periodically lest they become taken for granted and thus applied without thoughtfulness in the therapeutic situation. In this presentation our aim is to reopen our thinking about the nature of the self and contact, two core concepts in Gestalt therapy.
We will present a perspective that treats both language and motion as action governed by form and meaning. These expressive and communicative actions take place in the situation of being with an inevitable other. Propelled by experience of wonder, such actions aim toward finding the unknown in the other and transforming the known in oneself. We call this “Moving I” and “Feeling Me.”
We will draw on and demonstrate each of our work illustrating how reflexivity is the act of both language and motion toward creating a sense of self–in particular the self in contact. And we also will show how the process of reflexivity as kinesthetic resonance clarifies our understanding of the process of making contact.
Ruella Frank, Ph.D., is founder and director of the Center for Somatic Studies, faculty at the New York Institute for Gestalt Therapy, faculty at Gestalt Associates for Psychotherapy, and also teaches throughout the United States, Mexico, Canada, Europe, and Eurasia. She is author of articles and chapters in various publications, as well as the book Body of Awareness: A Somatic and Developmental Approach to Psychotherapy, (2001, GestaltPress, available in five languages) and co-authored The First Year and the Rest of Your Life: Movement, Development and Psychotherapeutic Change (2010, Routledge Press, available in three languages). Her training video Introduction to Developmental Somatic Psychotherapy, is now subtitled in French and Russian.www.somaticstudies.com
Michael Vincent Miller, Ph.D., has practiced and taught Gestalt therapy for forty years, currently in New York City. His own training was chiefly with Fritz Perls, the Polsters, and for many years with Isadore From. After ten years of teaching at Stanford University and M.I.T., he co-founded the Boston Gestalt Institute, where he directed training. He has also trained psychotherapists in Gestalt therapy in a dozen countries. He was on the editorial board of the Gestalt Journal and was Consulting Editor to the International Gestalt Journal. Besides contributing numerous articles to many journals and magazines, he reviewed books on psychology and related areas for the New York Times Book Review from 1985 to 1994. He is the author of four books: Intimate Terrorism: The Crisis of love in an Age of Disillusion (Norton, 1996), which has been published in eight languages; La Poetique de la Gestalt-therapie (Exprimerie, 2002), which was published in France; Teaching a Paranoid to Flirt (Gestalt Journal Press, 2011), a collection of his writings over thirty years on Gestalt therapy; and A Gestalt Therapy Testament (Casaperlarte, Milan, 2014), published in English and Italian.