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  • Rudy Bauer

Effects of Gestalt Awareness Training on Experiencing levels

The Effects of Gestalt Awareness Training on Experiencing Levels

STEPHEN P. BARRILLEAUX, PH.D., and RUDOLPH H. BAUER, PH.D.

MOST THEORIES OF THERAPY state that patients must come into contact with and make active use of their feelings for therapy to be successful. The intellectualizer and externalizer tend not to succeed in therapy (Gendlin et al., 1968, p. 217).

The degree to which an individual has access to feelings and can make use of these feelings in therapy is referred to as the level of experiencing (Gendlin, 1964). The process of experiencing (Exp) has been shown to be related to success in therapy. Patients successful in therapy have a higher level of experience initially than less successful patients (Gendlin et al., 1968; Kiesler, 1971; Rogers, 1967). Some studies show that the Exp level of successful clients increases over sessions in therapy (Kiesler et al., 1965), while other research indicates that initial Exp level is not as crucial as the general trend of the client's Exp level (Ryan, 1966). Although research findings do not agree as to when in therapy the higher levels of Exp should take place, there is agreement that for successful therapy to occur the individual must come into contact with his feelings.

Dr. Barrilleaux is a clinical psychologist at York County Counseling Services, Sanford, Maine.

Dr. Bauer is Assistant Professor of Psychology, Department of Pediatrics and Child Psychiatry, University of Maryland Medical School, Baltimore, Md.

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