Enchantment and Gestalt Therapy
Partners in Exploring Life
by Erving Polster
Enchantment and Gestalt Therapy is a personal exploration of Erving Polster’s remarkable career, the value of the Gestalt approach, and the power of enchantment in psychotherapy.
Polster points ahead to a vision of a psychotherapy that includes the population as a whole rather than focusing on individuals, highlights common aspects of living, and focuses on creating an ethos for a shared understanding. The book outlines the six Gestalt therapy concepts that have formed the basis of Polster’s work and describes Life Focus Groups, with an emphasis on the communal relationship between tellers and listeners. Polster also describes the phenomenon of enchantment in psychotherapy in detail, with reference to his own experiences.
This unique work is essential reading for Gestalt therapists, other professionals interested in Gestalt approaches, and readers looking for a deeper insight into community and connection.
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Foreword by Scott Churchill
1. My Beginnings: Stolen by Gypsies
2. Concentration: Fundamentals
3. Concentration: Enchantment
4. Figure/Ground: Basic Process
5. Figure/Ground: Here and Now/There and Then
6. Figure/Ground: Life Focus Groups
7. Figure/Ground: Belonging 8. Awareness: Fundamentals
9. Contact Boundary: Fundamentals
10. Contact Boundary: Morality
11. Polarities: Self-Formation
13. Public Trust.
Afterword by Margherita Spagnuolo Lobb
Erving Polster is a veteran teacher of Gestalt therapy and the author of several books. His major interests have long been the transformation of psychotherapy as a curative process into psychotherapy as a communal source of orientation and guidance.
“What a remarkable display of insightful revelation, historical narrative, personal evolution, and creative vision! With the beautiful language of a poet and the humility of an enlightened spirit guide, Erving Polster gives readers the gift of a wisdom nearly a century in the making. Reading, no savoring, this book provided an extraordinary opportunity to get to know the man and share his passion for catalyzing personal growth. Polster is one of this field’s greatest treasures, and when you read Enchantment and Gestalt Therapy you’ll know why.”
Michael D. Yapko, clinical psychologist, author of Trancework (5th ed.)
“From his earliest writings, Polster has argued that psychotherapy, more explicitly the Gestalt approach, is too important to be confined to ‘patients’ and the psychotherapist’s office. In this delightful, thought provoking, and wonderfully written book, he contends that it is the telling of ordinary stories in group settings that is essential to forming cohesive societies. Using Gestalt principles and drawing from the fields of religion, music, poetry and literature, Polster deconstructs and elucidates the mysterious process of generating communal intimacy. As with his other books, this one will enchant you.”
Joseph Melnick, Founding Editor, Gestalt Review
“Erving Polster re-conceives psychotherapy not just as a cure for symptoms or a return to normality, but as a path to a life of absorbing fascination and fulfillment. No one makes better use of Gestalt therapy’s teaching that a sharpened awareness of one’s present situation is the key to wellbeing. Polster thoroughly persuades us through a mix of theory, example, and memoir how such awareness, especially in relationships with others, can amplify even the most ordinary passing moment into ‘a stepping-stone to enchantment.’”
Michael Vincent Miller, author of Intimate Terrorism: The Crisis of Love in an Age of Disillusion and Teaching a Paranoid to Flirt: The Poetics of Gestalt Therapy.