12A The Mall
London W5 2PJ
Solutions to the technique's recurring pitfalls - second of two one-day workshops
The history of the humanistic approaches includes a plethora of creative ways of working which are capable of expanding ‘talking therapy’ into experiential exploration. One of the most widely-used techniques is two-chair work which allows the client to psychodramatically enact, role-play and externalise particular relationship difficulties they feel caught in. There are many variations and approximations of this technique, not all of them necessarily leading to a full-blown two-chair interaction as made famous by Fritz Perls’ Gestalt demonstrations. Just imaginatively putting the boss or the partner or the parent onto a chair, giving them a place in the room, can be a sufficiently powerful intervention, without it evolving into swapping chairs and attempting an actual dialogue.
One of the advantages of the technique is that it can be applied fluidly to both external and internal relationships, often helping the client to not only see, but feel the parallels and connections between internal and external ways of relating which are at the root of what perpetuates unsatisfying, polarised or destructive relationships.
Whilst the technique has undoubtedly many therapeutic uses and benefits, when using it, therapists frequently report in supervision that it did not work, that it ‘went flat’, or that the client self-consciously refused to ‘perform’.
This workshop (two separate days, one in October, one in March 2014) is an opportunity to comprehensively enhance your confidence in using the technique, by understanding and familarising yourself with the inherent pitfalls and recurring stumbling blocks. Our starting point will be that the very moment you think of using the technique, the pitfalls are always already necessarily constellated. This helps us anticipate and deal creatively with those moments of impasse that are likely to arise. We will use therapeutic considerations from outside the Gestalt paradigm (which initially developed the technique), to complement and deepen our understanding of its pitfalls, i.e. considerations of the bodymind aspects and the transference implications.
As the use of any technique is very much about the detail of the actual delivery as well as the underlying principles, we will proceed sequentially during the course of the workshop, addressing the various stages of two-chair work: perceiving the polarities, setting up the dialogue, directing it and facilitating resolution, including the possibility of taking a third position.