About the Ability to Be in Two Places at Once

Gestalt Theory 40 (2):207-234 (2018)
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Summary In 1915 the Danish psychologist Edgar Rubin describes in his famous work on figure-ground perception, the phenomenon that when you look attentively at a picture, a second, virtual ego arises, breaking away from the viewer-ego to wander around in the picture along the contours of the depicted. In 1982, German Gestalt psychologist Edwin Rausch expanded this observation of the emergence of a second phenomenal ego to the conclusion that not only does a second phenomenal ego emerge, but with it a second phenomenal total field, ie a second phenomenal world with its own phenomenal ego and an own phenomenal environment of this ego. Several years ago, I proposed a multi-field-approach in psychotherapy building on this research. This approach involves three levels: First, the level of phenomenological observation and psychological analysis of the conditions that determine the formation of such a second total field (and even further total fields), regardless of whether this occurs spontaneously or intentionally or as a result of external influences. Second, the level of explanation of various psychic processes, which in the field of psychotherapy have been explained so far mainly on the basis of depth psychology, and the conceptualization of the therapeutic situation and therapeutic processes from a Gestalt psychological perspective. Third, finally, the level of practical application of such insights on the development of appropriate procedures and interventions that can promote or defer the emergence of such second or multiple fields in psychotherapy. The present article introduces the multi-field approach, especially at the first level, and refers to research and discussion on mind wandering, imagining, daydreaming and dissociation.

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