The Emergent Self: An Existential-Gestalt Approach

Author(s) : Peter Philippson

Part of The United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy series - more in this series

The Emergent Self: An Existential-Gestalt Approach

Book Details

  • Publisher : Routledge
  • Published : 2009
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 160
  • Category :
    Existential therapy
  • Category 2 :
    Gestalt Therapy
  • Catalogue No : 25525
  • ISBN 13 : 9781855755253
  • ISBN 10 : 1855755254

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This book tracks a particular understanding of self, philosophically, from research evidence and in its implications for psychotherapy. At each step, the author includes first the theory he is working from, then the clinical implications of the theory, followed by some links to the philosophical outlook inherent in the theory, and finally a more extended case example.

It takes the view that the continuing self is partly an illusion, partly a construct, and that we in fact have to work to stay the same in the face of all the different possibilities the world offers us. The author believes that we do this for two reasons. First of all, continuity allows deeper contact: friendships, loving relationships with partners and families. Secondly, and balancing this, the predictable is less anxiety-producing, and that we avoid this existential anxiety by acting in a stereotyped way and avoiding some of the depths of contact. He argues that this dual nature of continuing self, in one context deepening contact and in another context avoiding contact, has an important place in the understanding of psychotherapy.

Reviews and Endorsements

'As gestalt therapy enters the twenty-first century, it shows its continuing importance by the intelligent work of such people as Peter Philippson. In this book, he brings gestalt therapy face-to-face with contemporary understandings in related fields - such as physics and cognitive neuroscience. Most importantly, he offers a fresh, updated perspective on the metatheory of gestalt therapy. This book is worthy of serious consideration by practitioners and students, whatever their area of study or psychotherapeutic modality.'
- Dan Bloom, President, Association for the Advancement of Gestalt Therapy, Fellow and Past President of the New York Institute for Gestalt Therapy

'Peter Philippson draws on his extensive knowledge of chaos theory, quantum mechanics, mathematics, Zen Buddhism and Gestalt psychotherapy theory to expertly guide readers towards the notion of the Self as an Emergent Process. This is an exciting read and I found I needed to hold on tightly as Philippon whisked me through new and exotic ways of thinking; a visceral equivalent to riding pillion on a Harley Davidson and going slightly too fast round some of the bends. I recommend it highly: he shows why Gestalt theory has remained at the leading edge of developments in counselling and psychotherapy; possessing a relational, and emergent theory of self that is supported by the latest research in physical and neurosciences.'
- Sally Denham-Vaughan, AFBPsS, Chartered Clinical Psychologist, Gestalt Psychotherapist, Trainer and Supervisor

About the Author(s)

Peter Philippson is a Gestalt psychotherapist and trainer, Member of the Gestalt Psychotherapy and Training Institute UK, a founder member of Manchester Gestalt Centre, Full Member of the New York Institute for Gestalt Therapy, Senior Trainer for GITA (Slovenia) and trainer for training programmes internationally. He is Past President of the Association for the Advancement of Gestalt Therapy.

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