When I say that I believe each person is the "expert" in his/her own life, that in Gestalt therapy I as the therapist provide the safe /supportive /challenging context for that "expert" to emerge with insights and realizations, I am pointing to the unblocking of creativity in both the client and the therapist. It is essential at the outset to understand that creative energy has not been dormant or somehow absent, but actively engaging in other processes: neurotic mechanisms, habituation, attitudes, assumptions, and belief structures. Hence, when I say that creative energy is released, I am implicating a vast potential reservoir of unreleased activity and creative processes.

In the discussion concerning contact, I do not differentiate "good" contact as more or less creative than "bad", healthy versus unhealthy, or positive versus negative. I am addressing the "creative formative power in every person" (Perls et al, p 288). The neurotic erects a system that is conceived because it helps him/her in feeling safe or in control. This does not negate that there might have once been reasons, or even currently are valid reasons, for constructing such a system. Nor does it negate the creative energies involved in perpetuating it, as there are definite results and conditions as a consequence. In the gestalt formation and completion cycle, the "A-ha" may be the momentary figure; however, it arises from a ground of constantly (re-)creative activity.

Since many such processes are unconscious (I include dreaming as an example) there is no reason to imply a necessity of the "will" or deliberate action. By limiting my view of what is "acceptably creative" to merely conscious and willful activities, I deny the areas of chance, growth, serendipity and surprise. What could be more creative than play? more stifling than self-consciousness? more stultifying than being "all-knowing"? or more controlling than learned-helplessness?

Gestalt therapy is not a forensic science. I do not present myself in a doctor-patient role, the powerful "curing" the powerless, or presuming that I know what these processes are. Much of typically Western culture is based upon achieving personal (creative) legitimacy via some higher power, an external authority figure, social ladder, commodity acquisition, or socially sanctioned skill set. Although these may be valid pursuits, they tend to disenfranchise the aliveness, spontaneity, curiosity and visceral creativity which is present moment-by-moment to every child.

From a holistic Gestalt perspective, creativity is not the province of "the Arts", artists, or any select stratum of society or discipline. Nor is it an achievement. It must ultimately be embraced as a birthright and an existential constant; whether we learn to use it consciously, responsibly, and proactively or not. The active word is awareness.

It is the intrinsic role of the Gestalt therapist to provide the appropriate environment which invites the client to become the "expert", the "author" of his or her own unique and individual legitimacy, a self-empowered co-creator of a work in process.


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