Gestalt theory of polarities


Hi, I’ve just finished my counselling course, apart from a few bits of written work to hand in, so I now have time to write on my blog again! It’s been a long time. I wanted to share something I read in one of my Gestalt counselling books – I love Gestalt as it fits in so well with what I do in yoga and meditation – it’s all about being aware in the moment of what we are doing – how we are breathing, speaking, moving, what images are in our head and where our energy is stuck. By looking at these we can learn to change our unhelpful patterns.

I’ve just finished a book by Joseph Zinker, written in 1978, about Gestalt. He has some interesting things to say about polarities. He says:

My theory of polarities dictates that if I do not allow myself to be unkind, I will never be genuinely kind. If I am in touch with my own unkindness and stretch that part of myself, when my kindness emerges it will be richer, fuller, more complete.

He also talks about it in the context of creating art: to stop putting pressure on yourself to make a perfect piece of art, give yourself permission to do the opposite and make something ugly, do it freely or do it badly. We all feel under too much pressure to say the perfect thing, be the perfect person, only create beautiful things. What a relief it would be to let ourselves do the opposite. And then out of that opposite you might create something beautiful.

Tulips in my garden - spring!

Tulips in my garden – spring!

Fritz Perls also talks about opposites in Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality – he suggests you turn all of your normal thinking on its head. If for example you always want people to like you, imagine wanting the opposite – how would that feel? Sometimes just challenging our usual thoughts allows us to totally change our perspective. It’s simple but so effective.

Aah – this is my new favourite yin yoga posture – so lovely. Try it with a brick under your shoulder blades.

Have a great week!