Abstract

The awareness continuum and the organism/environment field have been the unexamined foundations for Gestalt therapy's theory and practice since its beginning in 1951. This article questions their adequacy. It argues that “awareness” with its minimal treatment of consciousness is too broad a concept to describe the experience of being human and proposes the “awareness-consciousness continuum” and “environment-lifeworld.” Persons as animal organisms, as well as relational, thinking, and meaning-making beings, can then be fully understood with this extended language of our modality. The terms by which we consider our work express our attitude toward our clients and therefore influence the clinical consequences of our work.

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