Date of Award
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology
Carol Dell 'Oliver
The primary objective of this study was to assess the self-care practices of Gestalt therapists. The first part of this study included a review of the literature on therapist self-care practices. Next, a theoretical connection was developed between Gestalt therapy theory, including its theoretical foundations, and therapist self-care research. A review of the literature on Gestalt therapist self-care practices found it to be an area with limited anecdotal data and no formal research. Subsequently, methods were developed to assess the self-care practices of Gestalt therapists. In the process of developing such methods, the literature was reviewed for any quantitative measures of therapists self-care. None were found. Therefore, the researcher developed a measure for therapist self-care practices based upon both the therapist self-care research and Gestalt therapy theory. The internal consistency of the self-care practices measure was estimated based on data from a volunteer sample (!l = 34) of therapists from the Pacific Northwest (alpha= .81). In order to determine the validity of the therapist self-care practices measure, its results were correlated with the results of a brief rating scale, or peer rating form , a measure wherein a familiar colleague rated a therapist's self-care practices. After gathering the reliability and validity data on the self-care practices instrument, the researcher administered it to a volunteer international sample of Gestalt therapists at a conference (n. = 21 ). An open-ended questionnaire regarding Gestalt therapists' self-care practices was also given to the same sample of Gestalt therapists. Gestalt therapists reported engaging in a number of self-care activities, some as indicated by the therapist self-care practices instrument data, and additional activities listed on the open-ended questionnaire. Most Gestalt therapists ( 16/21) related their self-care practices either directly or indirectly to Gestalt therapy theory. These findings support the hypothesis that Gestalt therapy theory and Gestalt therapists have a unique contribution to make to the research literature on therapist self-care.
Brownell, Rebecca, "Self-Care of Gestalt Therapists" (2000). Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). 269.