The Empty Chair Technique.


Talk therapy is an important part of healing in numerous mental health practices. The “ Empty chair or the two chair technique” is you specific practice used as part of talk remedy.


Let us deal with this reading in an FAQ pattern.

Beginning with,

1. What it looks like.

First popularised by Fritz Perls, one of the authors of gestalt therapy, the two chair method faced the clients. The client imagined someone (or herself, himself, or integrals of him or herself) in it, and conducted a dialogue with the" empty seat ,". The client then shifted sat in that chair, continuing the dialogue, this time reversing places and roles.

Variations of the" empty chair " developed over the decades to fit the clinical requirements of the situation- and as gestalt therapy evolved.

2. Some basic steps that may form the basis of most empty chair sessions are:

Step 1 Object Identification

Through a discussion with the therapist, you might identify what or whom you’d like to speak with in an empty chair dialogue.You sit facing an empty chair. In the chair, picture a person that you'd like to resolve a confict with, or, you may picture a part of yourself.

Step 2: The dialogue

With the therapist’s help, you can talk about the aspect of yourselves or the person you imagine being in the empty chair, speak to the empty chair, explain your passions, worries, studies, and insecurities and understanding of the situation.

Step 3 Switching places

After you’ve shared your side of things, you move to the other chair. Then, respond to what you said, from that person’s perspective, taking on your part. You might move back and forth between the chairs several times to continue the dialogue.

Meanwhile, the therapist explores this discussion with questions and gets insights and studies perceptivity as the therapy process unfolds. Consequently, you’ll switch places and play the part with the person or aspect we’re talking to.

Step 4: Assessment and interpretation

A gestalt therapist is trained to understand feelings, verbal, gestures and station cues and to be sensitive and innocent. After an empty chair session, your therapist might want to inquirre you. you'll be encouraged to reflect on the dialogue and how you felt.



The ideal of Empty Chair technique: This simple approach allows clients to work through their interpersonal or internal conflict. It helps people view the state from different perspectives and gain insight into your thought, conflicts and behaviours. It allows the therapist to probe into the particular roots of emotional distress( that's let out or is indicated) that might have been formed in the past.

The Gestalt therapist notices our body language to interpret your passions, intentions and feelings. Body language not only gestures and postures but eye movements, frequency of blinking, dilation, sweating, tapping of the feet, and rise and fall of the voice etc, are noticed

The empty chair technique involves you to play multiple roles in different places - resolve aspects of yourself or a person you'd like to resolve a communication with this gives the sensation of being in their shoes,their circumstances and intentions, which might have made them say the words, and they did etc (It can be your co-worker or father or schoolteacher), perhaps giving better strategies of defence.

When would a therapist use the empty chair approach? It is often effective at facilitating clients integration of "disowned parts" of your personality to further the understanding. The fewer people are "in touch," or" verbalising," the more likely therapists are to use this as emphatic method. As you put into words what’s going on, the imaginary and whirled up ideas become more concrete and clear. This fashion frequently brings clients into their present( now) or immediate experience( s). It isn't used for people whose emotionality is formerly relatively dramatic and those who may be formerly subject to “emotional flooding ”.

Who's the empty chair technique best for? Two experts on the empty chair technique, Scott Kellogg and Amanda Torres, wrote in a 2021 publication that this approach might be most helpful for people with

  • Depression and self-doubt

  • interpersonal and intrapersonal mistreatment

  • Personality diseases

  • family socially induced trauma

  • Anxiety

  • self- conflict

  • self-hatred


Uses Of The Empty chair technique.

1. Gestalt for Truth Telling.

The Two chair is embedded in speaking the verity. Gestalt psychotherapy practices are naturally erected on truth-telling or, verity- admitting, to oneself and others. The Empty chair allows clients to bring their reality to the surface and bring out behaviours they may not be able to see in the forefront due to their conscious mind.

2. Individual Comforting for couples.

Clients might be having issues in their relationship, while each of them might consider seeking out councelling services, each of them may have separate counsellors who help them with their issues and give them support. The empty chair then can help them imagine the person, especially the one’s whom they can’t talk about( for different reasons) in their presence of their partners who are directly or laterally a reason for the conflict they have been facing. It helps in finding where exactly things are going wrong and solving the issues.

3. Grief Counselling.

Grief comforting can help clients work through the grief of death of a loved one. Since they're no longer around, the empty chair fashion can help them have an open discussion with them to let them speak/ express their inner discourses and thoughts as much as possible is its core charge. This can help them process the agony and express feelings to your loved ones. Some also need the support of mental health services after a breakup. Occasionally, they might feel the anger and torment that needs to be expressed, and it’s important to release these feelings during the grief process. The two chair process serves it all.

4. Dealing with Past Trauma.

Trauma experienced in the past can cause emotional baggage and distort our present. The shadows follow and fears still keep you alert and bring back Deja Vu even when grown old enough. With the empty chair technique, a person can safely express one's remotions. A gestalt therapist is trained to be non-judgmental, patient and uninterrupted hence you can openly talk without filters about the parent who abused you, the criminal who attacked, or the bully who threatened you. You can finally release out what you wanted to say at the time, but were overwhelmed/afraid to express. You can feel relieved and able to release the burden in your mind and perform normally.

5. Planning Future Encounters.

At times we might have a conflict with someone, and we know we’re going to talk to them soon. Having a dialogue suddenly may seem overwhelming. We might feel anxious about it, might also worry that we won’t say what we need to say even when we have the chance. Having the empty chair conversation will likely help you feel more relaxed and in control and be more composed and prepared for gaps and possible moves from the other person. It brings in what's important and interpret clearly

6. Helping You Gain Insight Into Your Relationships.

While in a relationship, one might find it hard to see the relationship objectively. Sometimes, they’re afraid to be honest in their relationships, and that can be confusing Expressing yourselves in this free and open way might reveal paths that you need to get addressed before a therapist and realise things about your relationship from a third (knowledgeable and uncritical) person that you couldn’t see before. You might come to an understanding that you’re relatively happy in the relationship, but you want to make some changes to meet the needs. Or you might see for the first time that it’s time to leave the relationship because it's toxic.

7.Learn Better Communication Skills.

Sometimes as your emotions and thoughts begin to flow through your words and gestures, you might get so tied up in the experience that we seem to lose track of what we’re thinking and what you wanted to convey. The empty chair technique can help you with the way you communicate. For instance, while you’re practising postures, gestures and words, a a gestalt therapist practises questions to help you verbalise/convey your issues clearly, so that your partner can understand us better. They may also help you in coordinating your facial expressions with emotions.


REFERENCES:

  1. Gestalt Therapy: Why & How ‘Empty Chair Technique’ Is Used?Published on August 21, 2020, Written By Akanksha Soni link:https://www.calmsage.com/gestalt-therapy-why-how-empty-chair-technique-is-used/

  2. Cool Intervention #9: The Empty Chair, Ryan Howes PhD, ABPP. Link:https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-therapy/201001/cool-intervention-9-the-empty-chair-1

  3. Introduce The Empty Chair Technique Into Your Coaching Practice, by Lisa bradburn, .link:https://medium.com/beingwell/introduce-the-empty-chair-technique-into-your-coaching-practice-f394b3ce2d05

  4. Empty Chair Technique: What It Is and How It Helps,Medically reviewed by Karin Gepp, PsyD — Written by Cathy Lovering on October 14, 2021, Link: https://psychcentral.com/health/empty-chair-technique

  5. Critical Incidents in the Empty Chair, by Fagan, J., Lauver, D., Smith, S., Deloach, S., Katz, M., Wood, E. December, 1974/ Volume 4; Issue 4, link:https://booksc.xyz/book/42761803/c10264

  6. What Is The Empty Chair Technique And Why Do Therapists Use It? By William Drake|Updated August 12, 2022, Medically Reviewed By Aaron Dutil , LMHC, LPC, link:https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/therapy/what-is-the-empty-chair-technique-and-why-do-therapists-use-it/

  7. .Gestalt Therapy: The Empty Chair Technique, by blog authors(mentalhealth.net), link: https://www.mentalhelp.net/blogs/gestalt-therapy-the-empty-chair-technique/#:~:text=In%20the%20chair%2C%20you%20picture,and%20understanding%20of%20the%20situation

  8. Writer, anonymous. Link: https://wps.ablongman.com/wps/media/objects/4915/5033223/item_13_10.pdf

 

This Blog on Psychology: The Empty Chair Technique, has been contributed by Namratha Guna Kaleru. Namratha Guna Kaleru is BA student major subjects being psychology, literature and political science. Her major interest is Psychology hence does some research work on interesting topics and creates content online.


She is part of the Global Internship Research Program (GIRP). GIRP is an IJNGP initiative to encourage young adults across our globe to showcase their research skills in psychology and to present it in creative content expression.