Using Music, Dance, and Theater in Gestalt Therapy : a Practitioner's Report
St. Clair, Judy
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What is Gestalt therapy and how can it be combined with music, theater, and dance for personal growth? I will answer this question by describing selected exercises which combine these arts and Gestalt ideas, relating my experiences with them as leader or participant, and discussing their value to me and other people in terms of Gestalt therapy and individual personal growth. The exercises are arranged by principal art form: music, music and dance, dance, and theater. All of the exercises, .unless otherwise specified, were designed by members of the Pellin Institute community located in the south of Italy. The next section describes the basic ideas of Gestalt therapy which are relevant to this paper. Following that is a description of the Pellin Institute community at which these exercises were conducted. The remainder of the paper is devoted to describing and evaluating the exercises. Gestalt therapy and the arts can be combined for mutual enhancement. The arts bring life, immediacy, and a sense of play to what could be a relatively heavy and "disembodied" verbal therapy. Gestalt brings a special awareness to the arts which can be used to increase one's appreciation of the arts themselves and aid in the use of the arts as a therapeutic medium.