Another Similarity Between Gestalt, Existential and Client Centered Therapy and Coaching



Gestalt, Existential and Client Centered approaches to coaching each offer a way of addressing obstacles to change and growth. The similarity across them is they each recognise that the client can change and grow when she truly understands her current state of being. The obstacles perceived are no longer there when this occurs.

The Gestalt approach is to use the filters of resistance and boundaries to point a spotlight on the clients current state of being. There is powerful use of the idea of resistance being something that takes place inside the individual rather than the perception that people have that other people resist them. The power of this approach is that if resistance is something that happens inside you then you have the power to control it and do something about it. Similarly boundaries are interesting as they are the limit to which a client will go and go no further. Understanding the boundaries that define us and those that constrain us gives powerful insight on an individuals state of being. The most powerful possibility for growth can come from challenging the boundaries that constrain us and finding safe ways of crossing them.

The Existential approach uses the filters of sedimentation's (stances a person takes to life) and dissociation's (things a person will not do). There is some level of mapping between sedimentation's and boundaries and between dissociation's and resistances. Helping the client to describe her sedimentation's and dissociation's can lead to her gaining a clearer understanding of her current state of being. There are deep sedimentation's and dissociation's that are very rigid and difficult to change. They have been established firmly within our being and become part of us. It will take a lot of work on the part of coach and client to understand these. However, once understanding is achieved there is immense possibility for the client to explore new ideas for change and personal growth.

The Client Centered approach focuses on the helping posture of the coach to deepen the understanding of the clients understanding of her current state of being. The technique is to reflect to the client what they are saying and to keep deepening their understanding. The client achieves deeper understanding from exploring what she is currently experiencing. It is through her words that she eventually gains insight in to her current state of being. The coach works hard at being a mirror and avoids applying filters to the clients experience. The obstacles remove themselves as the client becomes clearer about her current state of being.

These are further reflections on the work of Perls, Spinelli and Rogers. Three masters in their field but who also have many things in common in the way they carry out their work.

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