The theory that resonated with me the most was Gestalt. The theory presents several important concepts that enhance our understanding of learning. For instance, it argues that perception is possible not through a simple response to the stimulus but involves the analysis of the received data in order to reach a conclusion (e.g. recognize the shape). This is done through a series of approximations that match the newly received information to the already available templates. In some instances, the conclusion is reachable without the availability of a similar experience in the past, in which case pattern recognition is solely responsible for the result (Hoffmann, 2016).
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This concept can be considered a strength of the theory because it is more consistent with the behaviors exhibited by the learning individual and is thus more accurate than a behaviorist perspective. Second, and, perhaps, more importantly, Gestalt theory suggests that components of a phenomenon are not to be viewed in separation since their combination is more distinctive than a sum of their individual meanings. While this concept was initially intended to explain the perception mechanisms, it can be successfully applied to other disciplines, including therapy.
One example of gestalt being utilized for counseling the client is a problem of miscommunication with a co-worker or a boss. In this case, the so-called “empty chair technique” could be employed, where the patient would be seated opposite to a chair and would engage in a dialog with the imaginary manifestation of a person in question. In this way, the substitute of the environment, the physical positioning, and verbal as well as non-verbal aspects of communication are treated as necessary parts of the picture and collectively contribute to the resolution of the conflict.
Hoffmann, M. (2016). Cognitive, conative and behavioral neurology: An evolutionary perspective. Orlando, FL: Springer.