The proliferation of therapeutic groups, either self-help or professionally staffed, has dramatically expanded the applicability of psychotherapy. This development reflects society's increased willingness to deal communally with personal problems that were previously restricted to private psychotherapeutic sessions. Gestalt group therapy, with its original emphasis on the freshness and pungency of individual experience has also extended its perspective to group work. Dr. Miriam Polster describes how the gestalt approach enlivens group focus and interaction through its principles of awareness and experiment-and especially through its attention to the quality of the contact between group members.
The split in the modern personality is between the head and the body, between the rational mind and irrational gut feelings. It reflects the split in this culture between science and the natural forces in life and nature which science attempts to control. The modern individual lives largely in his head and is out of touch with his body because he had deadened it to suppress the fear, the pain and the despair which he experienced in childhood. He may complain of depression, a sense of inner emptiness and a loss of meaning. He has no joy, and life is a struggle for survival. Generally he does not realize this because his energies are devoted to "making it," to achieve success, power, money, fame, etc.
Panel 03 from the Evolution of Psychotherapy 1995 - Treatment of Depression and Anxiety
Featuring Alexander Lowen, M.D.; Judd Marmor, M.D.; Peggy Papp, A.C.S.W.; and Paul Watzlawick, Ph.D.
Moderated by Janette Edgette, PsyD.
Patients come to therapy because they have problems. These problems range from difficulties in working, in social and sexual relationships and in functioning. Symptoms may be depression, anxiety and fear, or a general sense that life has no meaning. In all cases it can be seen that the body is emotionally crippled by chronic muscular tensions which limit the person's energy and decreases his vitality. In this workshop Lowen explains how one recognizes these tensions and how they can be released.