Case #176 - Acknowledging stopping, and meeting longing


Liila talked about a previous relationship she had 12 years ago.

But before she continued sharing, she turned to the group and asked people to not take any photos of her.

I commented that she was taking care of herself. I asked her what kind of care she might want from me in the process - this is bringing her directly into a relationship with me. I asked her feelings - they were in her chest. As she stayed with her feelings, Liila talked about two forces - which she demonstrated with her fists - attraction and stopping. The first were pushing into each other. I invited her as an experiment to have a conversation between the firsts. They continued to be locked - both in the conversation between them, and in her physically pushing them together.

This is what we refer to as the ‘impasse’ in Gestalt. So I asked her to intensify the pressure - push the fists harder into each other. In Gestalt we often exaggerate experiences, to highlight awareness. She became tired. Then the ‘stopping' arm just let go, and the ‘attraction’ arm moved up, open, in a reaching out position. The ‘stopping' fist said,“I am tired, I am just letting go now.” The other fist - now an open hand, remained open, and she held that position for some time.

I asked what happened with the stopping force - she said, "I have let go.” But I pointed out the stopping force also had something valid to say, and I asked her to give that a voice. I suggested that this stopping fist was a self protective force, stopping her from reaching out and getting hurt again, being too vulnerable. I pointed out that remaining - as she was doing - in an open/longing/reaching-out position too long would also tire out her arm.

So I reached my arm out, to hold that hand which was open. I said - "this is the connection you are reaching out for. If you don’t get met soon enough, your self protectiveness is useful. But if it stops you reaching out altogether, then you miss out on bringing your longing into relationship.” We stayed there for some time - a place of deep connection.

This brought her many awarenesses...

I brought myself into relationship with her at the point when she took a step into her vulnerability. Rather than just ‘facilitate’ her, I included myself, and closed the gap. This is an example of utilising the internal dynamics a personal have, for the purpose of bringing them more deeply into the experience of relationship.


Posted by Steve Vinay Gunther