Case #14 - Sleep: holding on and letting go

Julee remarks that sitting in the group she felt very relaxed and sleepy Says she has had insomnia for 20 years. I asked what happened at that time, and she replies that she there were many things, she was very busy, and she didn't have much time for sleep. Rather than explore the context, I decided to focus on her immediate experience, and create a Gestalt experiment

I explained that sleep is about letting go, and that's what she has been able to do in the group, in order to become sleepy.

So if she can’t sleep as a regular difficulty, she is obviously very practised at holding on.

So I invited her to explore letting go and holding on with me, by grabbing a hold of my wrist. I then asked her to show me the kind of letting go she experienced in the class, and then the kind of holding on she usually did before she went to sleep.

I noticed that her holding on wasn't that strong - mainly just a little with the middle two fingers. So I drew her attention to that, and asked her to experiment with letting go. It wasn't hard for her.

This was a small experiment, but it gave her the direct experience of what she is doing, and a way to do something different. I suggested that when going to sleep she become aware of the ways she is holding on, and then remember how she let go of my wrist, and how she let go in the group.

The Gestalt experiment is about bringing issues into the present, and exploring them in an active, embodied, and creative way. Where possible, this is brought into the relationship between client and therapist. It also helps the therapist understand directly what is happening, rather that it just being described. The experiment provides a new experience and brings into awareness things that have been present, but not noticed, or the detail not seen. In Gestalt, we understand that when you bring things into full awareness, they no longer remain stuck, unfinished or split...integration happens naturally. This is a Taoist concept

Posted by Steve Vinay Gunther