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Gestalt Therapy and Its Contribution to the Understanding of the Link Between Health and the Environment

Abstract : Resolutely inscribed into a sensitive and dynamic approach that emphasizes feelings and the perception of the body, Gestalt therapy focuses on the processes of contact between the organism and the environment, during which the forms (gestalten) are shaped and reshaped. This approach departs from the usual description of a subject in his/her environment to shed light the processes of interrelation between the subject and his/her environment. It abandons the classical and static pattern of separation between the inside and the outside, between the self and the other to focus on the modalities of contact, to its dysfunctions, to the mechanisms of regulation that arise, and to the permanent adjustment between one person and his/her environment. This premise that organism and environment are inseparable is innovative because it challenges the individualist and solipsistic view of the self. The Gestaltist innovation lies less in the libertarian minds of its founding fathers, who favored the expression of the body and of the emotions in normative societies than in its invitation to convert our usual way of thinking. The perspective of an “organism-environment” field invites us to escape from dualism by taking into account, in one situation, all the different elements that assemble to coexist, to leave the binary dynamic (“either you, or me”) to consider the dynamic of a co-construction (“and you, and me”). Therefore, this innovative paradigm has effects on the conception of health and/or care: health is an unstable equilibrium, and disease is not reduced to organic deterioration but defines a way of living, an integral part of the human existence.
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Perrine Michon. Gestalt Therapy and Its Contribution to the Understanding of the Link Between Health and the Environment. Bretelle-Establet F., Gaille M., Katouzian-Safadi M. (eds) Making Sense of Health, Disease, and the Environment in Cross-Cultural History: The Arabic-Islamic World, China, Europe, and North America. Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science, vol 333. Springer, Cham, pp.347-366, 2019, 978-3-030-19081-1. ⟨10.1007/978-3-030-19082-8_15⟩. ⟨hal-03310670⟩



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