In the initial interview with a patient the therapist may be trying to decide if the patient is saying "I cannot feel" or "I cannot think". If the client is saying they cannot feel the therapist may decide to employ gestalt therapy but if the client is saying they cannot think then the preferred method of treatment may be transactional analysis.

Gestalt Therapy

Gestalt therapy is a system of psychotherapy that enhances the patients self-awareness and their personal responsibility. In gestalt therapy the goal is to raise the awareness of the patient concerning how they function in their social environment. The focus of the therapy is on what is happening in the here and now rather than focusing on the past. During the therapy sessions the patients become more aware of what they're doing in the present and they learn how to change themselves, except themselves and value themselves.

When you arrive for a gestalt therapy session you will soon become aware of an extra empty chair in the room. This chair is used for what is called "empty chair technique". This was the favored technique developed by Fritz Pearls, the founder of the present day gestalt therapy. When a patient reveals a conflict with another person they are directed to imagine that person in the "empty chair" and to talk to that person. This technique will help the client understand their feelings more fully and work through their conflict with the other person more quickly.

Gestalt therapy has been used to treat a wide assortment of "psychosomatic disorders" including such things as ulcerative colitis, migraine headaches, and to back problems. Gestalt therapists have also been very successful in working with many intra-psychic conflicts such as coping with authority figures. There is an emphasis on personal responsibility and back and help the client re-own "alien" parts of themselves and can help them resolve the conflicts between different aspects of their personality.

Transactional Analysis

Transactional analysis is a very useful form of therapy in which the behavior of both other people and ourselves is defined in a fascinating framework. Transactional analysis or "TA" was developed by the psychiatrist Dr. Eric Berne. His thesis described what he called "ego states"which are easily recognized by what we say, our body language, gestures, mannerisms, and tone of voice.

Berne hypothesized the existence of three ego states that he called "child ego state-adult ego state-parent ego state". He believed that individuals would continually switch between these ego states, sometimes even within one sentence. Since each person was capable of vacillating between any of the three ego states, according to his theory, when two people are communicating it is as if there were six people. Some of the possibilities are one persons parent ego state talking to the other persons parent ego state, adult ego state, or child you state.

Complementary transactions happen when both people are talking to each other and communicating from the same ego state level such as (parent to parent, adult to adult, child to child). The problem is most frequently occur when there are "crossed transactions". In this case people are talking to each other when they are in different ego states (I. E. Parent to child). If one person is being controlling (acting from the parent ego state) and treating the other person as if they are a child that person may retort with a parent to child response which is a classic example of the crossed transaction.

Another key component in transactional analysis is the theory of games. These games, in transactional analysis, our thoughts of being more like a war game than a fun game. In TA theory if you wind up feeling bad you have either started a game or participated in a game.

By analyzing these transactions and games between individuals the therapist can assist the patient in understanding the conflicts that arise in their interactions with other people.

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