Therapy Tuesday: Gestalt Therapy – Part 4 – Continuity

Continuity is a concept of Gestalt Therapy that is so intuitive, so normal, it’s almost hard to put words to it.

When you listen to a song, you don’t listen to a single note. You may be able to separate the sounds of a particular instrument, but even then, you listen to the score played by that device. Instead of separating each note into a separate memory, our minds link the items into a sequence and we hear a song.

Other times continuity comes into play are when we watch a movie, read a book, cook a meal, drive to a new location, and so on. We can separate individual pieces, but our mind inherently wants us to see a singular event made up of those pieces.

Why is this piece important?

Imagine hearing a song, but you hear only two notes of it. You hear the same two notes over and over again. In a short time you might say “This song is boring,” or “I really don’t like that song.”

Yet, if you hear the entire composition, your opinion may change. At the least, it’s more informed.

The same is true of everyday life. If we only focus on a few notes to our day, we find ourselves having a limited perception of how things were. What if you showed up late to work, a thing that can throw most of us into a bit of a flustered state? The rest of the day went very well, but all you focus on is that you were late. The compliment from your boss, the sense of pride in completing a new or difficult task, all get washed away by that one point of focus.

How this applies in Gestalt Therapy will come later in the series, but I think now you can see why it’s an important concept.





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