It is often surprising how imperative issues such as support, are not addressed within therapy. This could well be one of the first considerations that a therapist would take when seeing a new client in the initial session. Does he/she feel supported in the therapy session? What aspects of support does this individual receive outside the session?
Support is everything that exists, that helps a person integrate experience and move toward change. Often individuals who come to therapy lack support for the everyday contact; contact that is both needed and desirable for the situation in which they find themselves. These are the conditions that favour certain processes of relating. Lack of this essential support is experienced as anxiety. It follows that it is not a question of what support is needed, but of what support is available.
Support available will be different for each individual. When sufficient support is present, the individual is in contact and can feel pain. When insufficient support is present, the subject can somehow be absent. Therefore, there will be a need to feel present in the body; follow the breath and feel connected. For others, it may be a need for a network of friendships, people to be with and with whom connections are made. For others, it could well be both and more. This may sound simple, but for some this support does not exist. Remember, support is everything that exists, that helps a person integrate experience and move toward change.
Gestalt therapists will cultivate the growth of support by the application of self to the situation and to the client. A large part of this, is the aspect of accepting the client at the place they are in, rather than to push in a direction that maybe deemed preferable. This includes blocks or avoidance that have previously been supportive.
When a client feels supported, maybe at first only in the session, then deeper work can commence. Other aspects of support can be introduced widening the field, integrating new awareness and changing patterns. All carried out with the realisation that it is essential that all support networks remain in place, those for the client as well as for the therapist.