Gestalt Therapy and Human Nature: Evolutionary Psychology Applied

Gestalt Therapy and Human Nature: Evolutionary Psychology Applied


No book about Gestalt therapy, or probably any kind of psychotherapy for that matter, has talked about anthropology, ethnology, and cross-species comparison (including vampire bats, ground squirrels, Florida scrub jays, and chimpanzees) as though they were relevant to the enterprise. And, there have been only a few books that have described how Evolutionary Psychology should begin to change the way we conceive of psychotherapy, mental health, and psychopathology. This book treads on relatively new ground for both psychotherapists and Darwinists. Therapists, especially so-called Humanistic therapists, which include Gestalt therapists, will find many of their standard assumptions, about human behavior and life in general, challenged. For example, the teleological view that life has purpose toward perfection cannot possibly be true. This does not mean that humans can’t strive for some kind of ideal. Indeed we should and we do. But evolution tells us why this is difficult and why our hopes cannot be pinned on assumptions of innate "goodness." We need to understand what humans are really up to in order to achieve a social order that is, well, "civilized." This fact is most clearly exemplified by male-female relationships, which have hardly yielded at all to efforts to eradicate rape and violence, the double standard, and egregious misreading – even through the centuries. This book dares to explore and seek that understanding.This book should make Gestalt therapy, and its training methods, attractive to students who are looking for something beyond their graduate school experience to prepare them for the psychotherapy profession in the 21st century. The author recounts some of his experiencein residential training and shows why that be preserved as a central feature in the development of Gestalt therapists.
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