A young man came with issues about his girlfriend. He was keen on continuing the relationship, but she wanted distance, and though she said that she loved him, it seemed she was losing interest and wanted a less involved connection.
He felt frustrated and didn’t feel much power in the situation. It seemed like the ball was in her court, and apart from pressing his suit, he didn’t know what to do. She was indecisive, and not clear about just what she wanted.
So we explored who he was in that place. In Gestalt, we are less interested in finding solutions, and more focused on increasing awareness. So the question ‘who are you’ in a variety of circumstances is key.
So although it seemed he was in a position where he didn't have much choice, the first place to start was to find his own boundaries. The defining of self is assisted by defining boundaries.
So we explored questions such as -What is the minimum amount of contact that is enough for you? -How long are you willing to ‘wait’ for, before needing to move on? -What is your expectation of the level of personal interaction? -What do you want in the long term? -While in this separated period, what are the limits and rules that you apply to yourself, and ask her to apply to?
By identifying these limits he was able to see that he wasn't just in a ‘begging’ position, but able to find his own position in the relationship.
In Gestalt we see boundaries as being very important to promoting good, clear contact. There are ways in which we understand the distortion of boundaries, and identifying those way helps us to understand the ways a client is out of balance and can find themselves more fully, in relationship.