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born 1959, for over 20 years I have been a mediator and coach for people in difficult professional as well as personal situations; Mental Health Practitioner; education in Provocative Therapy and Gestalt Therapy (current)
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According to some Gestalt therapists, the so-called “New Phenomenology,” created by the German philosophy professor Hermann Schmitz, should change essential components of Gestalt therapy. At first glance, Schmitz’s terms, such as “felt-body” [Leib] and “atmospheres” seem to be compatible with Gestalt phenomenology. Alas, his understanding of those key terms is not compatible. He distinctly separates the phenomenological felt-body from the physical body, tearing apart the field. Atmospheres, he claims, can grip a person, making the individual into a passive factor in the field. The term “contact” is to be replaced by a rather metaphysically defined feltbody resonance or “Einleibung” [incorporation], as “New Phenomenological” Gestalt therapists propose. By analyzing Schmitz’s publication about Hitler (1999), including his blatant lack of historic methodology and his penchant for quoting Nazi sources, this article concludes that Schmitz trivializes both Nazi ideology and the Holocaust. His anti-existential approach is quite indigestible for existentially-based Gestalt therapy.Read More
Does the so-called „New Phenomenology“ of Hermann Schmitz provide an improved basis for theory and practice of Gestalt Therapy? Starting from this key question, I pose a number of additional queries about specific ideas of the „New Phenomenology“ and its benefits: Does Hermann Schmitz’s particular understanding of ‘felt-body (‚Leib‘) improve Gestalt Therapy? Do we really need to replace or revise essential terminology such as contact? Is Schmitz‘s definition of ‚atmospheres‘ enriching? Which consequences do we need to draw for the practice of therapy? With a final view at his book about Hitler I describe the fundamental incompatibility of the „New Phenomenology“ and both theory anad practice of Gestalt Therapy.Read More