The article presents an overview of the field theory and to a greater extent, the way it is linked to gestalt therapy .Firstly, it gives the meaning of field theory and how it provides a foundation for the gestalt therapy. It notes that field theory is not merely an abstraction, but forms a foundation of perception and understanding which can be understood (Malcolm, 1991).The fundamental features and the history of the field theory are dealt with in the article. Secondly, there is an in depth discussion of the five fundamental principles of the field theory. The article continues to link the emergence of the new knowledge in field of theory and its application to the modern areas of enquiry such as ecology and holistic medicine. In addition, the effects of the gestalt therapy on both the self and another of more than one is also explored with reference to the mode of approach of gestalt therapy.
Field theory is instrumental in gaining an insight about the contents of the gestalt theory. Assuming the theory when dealing with Gestalt therapy distorts the basic conceptual comprehension of the therapy (Yontef, 1981). The significance of the field theory is therefore limitless. Its application in the modernized technical application of ecology and medicine makes it surpass the knowledge instilled by the conventional science (Malcolm, 1991). The greatest significance of the theory is its emphasis on evaluation of an event or an occurrence beyond what might be conceived as the normal. It looks at events as a consequence of relationship of multiple interacting factors (Lewin, 1951). The interaction of the forces form a field, likened to that of magnetic and electric field, such that single sections or units affect the whole. The whole also affects the single units. Nothing happens in isolation. This is actually justified, since there must be forces that are responsible for the causality of certain events. Every event must have a cause to explain its existence. The principle of causality is also justified in the seven fundamental principles of knowledge (the axioms of knowledge). For instance, individual experiencing challenges might be helped from diverse perspectives basing on the context he/she is in.
There is the mention of the map and the atlas in the article. The map indicates that the individual problems can be handled from the point of approach of how they seem at the moment. The atlas, on the other hand, means that solution of the problem can be tackled basing on the happenings of the context or the environment in which the individual is. Gestalt therapy is likened to the atlas containing many maps (methods of approach in treatment of challenges) (Malcolm, 1991). It is very difficult to understand individual if other external factors, such as the environment is ignored. The welfare of the person is brought about by the product of the nature and the nurture factors. Meaning that in treating the challenges that the person faces, the interacting factors have to be considered.
Field theory provides a new insight that goes beyond what is considered as normal. This is in contradiction with the kind of knowledge held by the normal science (Malcolm, 1991). It therefore attempts to venture into new possibilities relative to those held by common science, thus providing new approaches that are in line with the dynamic environment.
The total situation refers to a case where the consideration of all the relevant factors is put in place when dealing with the complex human phenomena. From this perspective, no single unit can be considered in isolation. The organization of the interconnected components plays a critical part in understanding the respective characteristics of the individual entities and their reciprocal influences to each other. With reference also to the total situation, there are certain aspects of activities that may take place in specific times. For example, a woman who has had wrangles with her husband. She might decide to throw away the baby she has as a consequence. However, in looking at the condition, the total situation needs to be assessed in order to know the exact happenings around her experience. This is another significance of the field theory that holds that the assumption that all events are obvious is erased. The contention that field theory is better than systems theory when applied in Gestalt therapy is justified. This is because the latter is oversimplified and even misapplied (Malcolm, 1991).
When dealing with the problems affecting a person, you cannot be able to solve them if the environment or the general context that they are living in is not understood. The context where the individuals experience the problems must be known in order to help the therapist devise means and mechanisms of dealing with the problems faced by the clients.
Holism and total situation are very critical ideas that can be applied in organization especially by the managers who are in continuous contact with their employees. It is a very helpful perspective. For example, most of them depend of very shallow ways of dealing with problems affecting the organization or the employees specifically. They just want to work with quick fix solutions that do not actually last for a long period. They are interested in solving a section but not the whole problem. This results in more challenges in the organizations. Simple solutions that they are offered to solve complex problems do not apply at all. This makes them to fail in their roles. An outlook of the management of any organization that seeks to understand all situations in a holistic way can be the best tool to solve all the challenges facing the organization. The managers need to deal with the increasing complexities of tasks that characterize the ever changing environment.
The field theory also ascertains that the wellbeing of an individual is a complex phenomenon entailing the experiences that surround him/her. For example, a patient’s wellbeing is affected by the hospital environment, doctor’s attitude and other contextual happenings (Malcolm, 1991). This makes the theory acquire a modern approach in the field of psychotherapy and to fit successfully in the sphere of clinical psychology. The fact that the theory has been able to adjust to the changing paradigm means that it can well be integrated in the conventional psychology. For instance, the introduction of technology has brought about a lot of changes in the environment. If a certain employee decides to commit suicide at a specific point, then the analyses of the event should not be viewed at one angle only. If he is for instance married and has children, the analyses should be treated from all angles depending on the responsibilities he has been bestowed in the society.
Basing the argument on the principle of organization, nothing happens without a reason (Malcolm, 1991). Even the most considered as minor event has an important explanation to explicate its course. For instance an individual may at one time abuse another in the argument. The abuse can be put into the context of complex phenomena and then analyzed from that perspective. The individual is totally held responsible for the action. It might not be considered as a slip of the tongue. The issue is that there are other complex influences that come into play when the individual decides to utter the abuse.
Before the establishment of the field theory, the forms of knowledge that used to exist were aligned with the existing social and economic situations. However, field theory has revolutionized everything (Lewin, 1951). Furthermore, it can be argued out that field theory has brought about innovative capacity that has erased the concept of mechanical way of thinking, as applied in engineering. Field theory is a new holistic approach which believes in interdependence of entities in any given situation. The interaction of the entities is the one that ultimately brings about the complexity of issues. Thus in dealing with the prevailing issues, a holistic approach must be sought. For example, a husband who decides to divorce his wife can do so due to many reasons. Some of the possible causes can be unpaid debts, unresolved inner conflicts, disturbances from the children among others. A resolution might not be reached if the wife of this man decides to argue that the man divorces her because he has another wife. This might not really solve the problem. She should try to venture more and try to find the solution of the matter from a diversified perspective.
However, there are certain limitations that arise from the discussion. For instance, there is no clear discussion of specific general developmental characteristics established by the theory. This becomes difficult for the therapists to establish therapeutic approaches that they can use to handle developmental challenges of individuals. Knowledge of conditions necessary for healthy growth is vital to help the therapists account for how certain changes would cause challenges in human development (Greenberg & Rice, 1981). In addition, the theory may not competently deal with more serious psychological dysfunctions.
During the therapeutic process, therapists are the main mediums upon which the success of the process solely depends on. Due to the nature of some circumstances, the objectivity of the process can be compromised. For instance, the therapist might have some unresolved conflicts which he/she is struggling with (Greenberg & Rice, 1981). This impairs the process, since there might be lack of the strong personal commitment expected of such processes.
The ‘self’ as an idea has been used to specify the application of the field theory. The idea of the self from the article has been connected to the interaction of the client and the therapist. The self, for instance, can be taken to simply imply the way an individual holds reality, organize themselves or the way in which certain parts of their whole experience are held and the way others around are organized. This is the principal focus for finding the foundation upon which a successful relationship between the client and the therapist is established.
The ‘two persons’ or ‘two selves’ represent an improved structure of the self. This applies when two individuals are interacting with each other. Two interacting persons hold different views of reality. Their ‘maps’ are quite different. Together they form a small atlas. In the process of their interaction, they continue to form a neutral ground. What is referred to us a communicative home. Prior to this formation, the individuals may hold unwarranted stereotypes, assumptions or even guesses which are different. However, as they interact, they try to find a common interest (Malcolm, 1991). For example, two interacting artists, each having their own singing styles may interact. They share their creativities, and at the certain point, they come to a consensus on a common style which is not necessarily the product of the unit styles.