The Gestalt Counseling and Training Institute of Ann Arbor

Holistic Therapy for Mind, Body and Soul

Resistances as Creative Adjustment

In Gestalt therapy every symptom or defense is viewed as an attempt to solve a problem through creative adjustment. However, when these adjustments, originally spontaneous, fitting, and developmentally correct, become acontextual and chronic, the figure/ground process becomes distorted. These response patterns (known as resistances) include projection, retroflection, introjection, confluence, and egotism. Unlike some other approaches, Gestalt therapy does not seek to remove or interpret them but instead seeks to bring them into awareness, with the goal of supporting new organization and self-regulation by the individual. More recently, some Gestalt therapists have preferred to use the phrase "contact styles," which subsumes the old label of resistance and stresses instead the individual's patterns of contacting the self, the other, or the environment (Wheeler, 1991).