Tracy had been married for 12 years, and had a child. She was not unhappy in her marriage. She got on very well with her partner. But they rarely had sex
At the start of their relationship, she had gone overseas for a year. During that time she had a very intense and very sexual affair. She ran away from it, came back home, and got married. But it took her a long time to get over the experience, and she had still not integrated it.
This is a classic example of both unfinished business, and polarities in Gestalt.While she was talking about the matter, I asked her, “what do you feel now?” This is a classic Gestalt question.
She had many complex feelings. We went into those somatically, taking time to work through the sadness, intensity, and ungrounded nature of the experience. It’s not necessary to go into ‘the past’, because the past is present, and everything that we need to deal with the unfinished nature of the past is available to us to work with now.
We also did some polarity work. Her wildly sexual self, and her happily-married self. Her stepping over boundaries, and her conservative non-risk taking self.
In this conversation, I got her to exchange places as she played out both sides of her personality..
I also checked for the feelings she had on each side. I invited each side to criticise the other: ‘you are too wild’, ‘you are too boring’.
After some conversation, the two sides came closer together, and agreed on some middle ground. This happens naturally, with the right kind of support, and leads to integration of our splits, as Fritz Perls called them.