Christianity and Gestalt Therapy: The Presence of God in Human Relationships, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Christianity and Gestalt Therapy

The Presence of God in Human Relationships, 1st Edition

By Philip Brownell


228 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2020-07-14
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Christianity and Gestalt Therapy is a unique integration written for psychotherapists who want to better understand their Christian clients and Christians counselors who want a clinically sound approach that embraces Christian spirituality.

This book explores critical concepts in phenomenology and how they relate to both gestalt therapy and Christianity. Using mixed literary forms that include poetry and story, this book provides a window into gestalt therapy for Christian counselors interested in learning how the gestalt therapeutic model can be incorporated into their beliefs and practices. It explores the tension in psychology and psychotherapy between a rigid naturalism and an enchanted take on life.

A rich mix of theory, philosophy, theology and practice, Christianity and Gestalt Therapy is an important resource for therapists working with Christian patients.


"In this carefully argued book, Dr. Brownell interweaves Christianity, gestalt therapy, and a scholarly expertise that makes this book valuable for the reader regardless of the reader’s beliefs. This book might challenge gestalt therapists to seriously consider theology along with their other concepts and invite Christians to welcome gestalt therapy into their own ways of looking at their spiritual worlds."Dan Bloom, JD, past president, Association for the Advancement of Gestalt Therapy and New York Institute of Gestalt Therapy, USA

"We usually think of God as an entity inside or above us. Philip Brownell brings us to think of God as an experience at the ‘contact boundary,’ in the between. A deeply educated psychologist and gestalt therapist, Brownell offers the readers what we could call a ‘post-modern’ experience of God. He copes with the most complex issues of religion and anthropology with the simplicity and depth of a child who says ‘the emperor is naked.’Margherita Spagnuolo Lobb, Istituto di Gestalt HCC, Italy

Table of Contents

Part 1: Being Present 1. Existing and the Conditions of Contact 2. Being God 3. Being Present in Therapy 4. A Critical Realist Perspective on Presence 5. Non-Independence and Alterity–When People Meet People 6. Immanence and Transcendence–When God Meets People Story One: A Private Lake Part 2: The Pneumal Field in Gestalt Therapy 7. Basic Field Dynamics 8. Atmospheres, Life Worlds, and the Organism-Environment Field 9. Enchantment and the Pneumenal Story Two: A Change in Atmosphere Part 3: The Experience of Contact with God 10. A Basic Orientation to Phenomenology 11. A Phenomenology of Spiritual Life 12. Eavesdropping on Relationships with God Story Three: The Longed-For Peace Part 4: Risk and Trust 13. The Ineffable and the Enigmatic 14. Risk and Trust Story Four: Obviously Not Obvious Part 5: Change, Salvation, and Growth 15.. Change Is Constant 16. Grace, Regeneration, and Salvation 17. Rules, Introjects, and Matters of Conscience 18. Growth in Spiritual Sensitivity 19. Growth in Availability Story Five: Time for a Change Conclusion

About the Author

Philip Brownell, MDiv, PsyD, is a clinical psychologist licensed in Idaho. He is a trained gestalt therapist, ordained clergyman, independent scholar, researcher, and author with over fifty years’ experience.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Gestalt
RELIGION / Christianity / General