Multidimensional aspects of the counseling process: Contributions to models of the counseling process from chaos theory, creativity, and Gestalt Therapy

Date of Completion

January 1997


Education, Guidance and Counseling|Psychology, Clinical




Viewing counseling from a dynamical perspective rather than a static one, this study is concerned with the actions of the counselor as a force acting on the client's psychosocial space. The researcher conducted elite interviews with three scholars in the core area of their expertise: Creativity, Chaos Theory, and Gestalt Therapy. The study focused on four major questions:^ What are the concepts from nonlinear dynamics that are to be included in a dynamic model of the counseling process? Summarily, the answers to this research question are: the concepts of a limit cycle attractor, bifurcations, strange attractor, phase space diagrams, the logistic equation, and sensitive dependence on initial conditions.^ How is the idea of chaos or disorder to be included in a model of the counseling process? The central principle here is the development of chaos as unpredictability and uncertainty, on the part of both the client and the counselor in their respective psychosocial fields, and the field of interaction between them, into a dynamic model of counseling. The implication of this unpredictability leads to the formation of a strange attractor, and then the restoration of the self-regulation of the client. The recent development of self-organization and its subsequent incorporation into Counseling Psychology are developed.^ What are the concepts from Creativity Theory that need to be included in a model of the counseling process? In a dynamic model of the counseling process the client is viewed as being in a position of polarization in a crisis situation which brings him or her into the counseling environment. These opposites are then diffused by the dynamical interaction with the counselor which bring him or her to a state of impasse, or implosion into a creative void, and subsequent explosions into a strange attractor state.^ What ideas from Gestalt Therapy contribute to a dynamic model of the counseling process? The Perls' model of change, creative indifference and differential thinking, the contact process, interruption to the contact process, the I-boundary, awareness, and the self as a process are among the concepts that arose from the interviews. ^